CD Iskander (CD 1266383),
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  • 1. Introduction
    2. Dareios the Emperor
    3. Alexander
    4. Confrontation of the Armies
    5. Battle, The
    6. Bagaos
    7. Roxane
    8. Babylon
    9. Looking Back
    10. Wow [Single Version]
    11. Drs. D
    12. Memories Are New [1973 Single Version]
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): ECLEC 2058

  • Credits

    Unlike their compatriots Focus, whose albums went considerably downhill after Hamburger Concerto, Supersister never released a bad record. That being said, their last two (if one counts Robert Jan Stips' solo project Spiral Staircase as a group effort) are generally considered less interesting, mostly because they don't feature the classic quartet lineup and they signal a significant change in direction. But there are reasons one might disagree with this view. Yes, Iskander is indeed different and must be accepted as such, but Stips succeeds in steering the group into a new direction. His writing is strong and his mark still obvious. First of all, only Stips and bassist Ron VanEck remain of the original lineup. Sacha VanGeest and his gracious flute have been replaced by ex-Embryo Charlie Mariano on sax and flute. Herman VanBoeyen sits behind the drums. More important than the changes in personnel is the change in style. Iskander, a loose concept album about Alexander the Great (Iskander is his Turkish name), is often described as being more in the jazz-rock vein, but listening to Stips' choice of keyboard sounds and multi-tracked arrangements, one thinks of Triumvirat's Spartacus (which it actually predates). The keyboardist is going for a more virtuosic prog rock sound, while Mariano's sax introduces jazzier elements that are occasionally subverted into David Jackson-esque licks (as in "Babylon"). The feel of the music is definitely not in the same vein as "Judy Goes on Holiday" or "A Girl Named You," and there may be a touch of misplaced pompousness in the conceptual aspect of the album, but it features some very good progressive rock with hints of mid-period Soft Machine (Mariano's soprano sax can't help but evoke Elton Dean). In fact, people usually annoyed by the band's sense of humor will most likely prefer this album, as it is uncharacteristically "serious." It has been reissued on CD as a two-fer together with Spiral Staircase. ~ Franois Couture

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