Saturday, October 3, 2015

Supersister - 1971 - To the Highest Bidder

To the Highest Bidder


01. A Girl Named You (10:08)
02. No Tree Will Grow (On Too High a Mountain) (7:40)
03. Energy (Out of Future) (14:55)
04. Higher (2:56)

Total Time: 35:39

bonus tracks on remastered reissue
05. A Girl Named You (Single Version) (3:17)
06. Missing Link (B-side) (2:58)
07. No Tree Will Grow (Single Edit) (4:27)
08. The Groupies of the Band (B-side) (4:32)

- Robert Jan Stips / keyboards, lead vocals, vibes
- Ron van Eck / (bass) guitar, fuzzbass
- Sacha van Geest / flutes, vocals
- Marco Vrolijk / drums, percussion, vocals

Following in the same path as their debut album, Supersister achieved their definite masterpiece in the shape of 'To the Highe$t Bidder': in fact, Supersister proves to be one of the most prominent Dutch prog acts of the 70s, equalling to Focus and Finch in prowess, fire and excellence. In many ways, Supersister incarnates the Netherlands' response to Soft Machine, since their music is overtly inspired by Canterbury's jazziest self; they also have clear hints to Zappa's sophisticated absurdity and the distinctive dynamics of avant-garde free jazz (track 3 being the best example). Supersister's approach to humour in the context of jazz-oriented prog is a crucial component of their music, since it allows all four musicians to keep a light-hearted feel in their performancers, while exhibiting their own individual skills and challenging interplay. The flautist's role is certainly special, since van Geest's style has a remarkable tendecy towards the pastoral, yet in a strange way, it works effectively in the middle of the combined jazzy leaning of his other partners. The fact that two tracks are 10+ minute long allows the foursome to explore into their musical ideas and explore its potential variations: 'A Girl Named you' (a Supersister classic) is full of Latin-jazz colours, while 'Energy (Out of Future)' adds some exotic African-like beatings in the middle of the band's exhaustive musical and rhythmic travels. Both tracks portray obvious bombastic aspirations, but at the end of the day, the band manages not to take this impetus too far by keeping a sense of fun. As a result, there is a constant, unhidden touch of fun and freshness displaying all through these pieces; in thsi way, the friendly listener can rest assured that his senses won't get fed up at any point, since the pleasant flavour stays unpolluted. The remaining tracks are apparently more serene, but not less funny: 'No Tree Will Grow (On Too High a Mountain)' ends its reflective portrait with the sound of a crowd cynically laughing, while 'Higher', in contrast to the previous track's tour-de-force, is a bossanova theme, serving basically as a sweet frivolous closure. Together with Focus and Finch, Supersister is part of the Netherlands' Prog Holy Trinity, and they surely deserve to be as acknowledged as the others... at least.

1 comment: