Supercity
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Supercity

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"Supercity blaast zwoele woestijnwind door Frascati"

"Een broeierig allegaartje van stijlen dat zich beweegt tussen blues, mariachi en americana", zo wordt de band Supercity aangekondigd in het programma van het theater Frascati. Zo'n beschrijving associeer je niet snel met Nederlandse muzikanten. Het optreden van de band rond zanger Yvo Spey en gitarist Vicente Pino laat echter zien dat muziek grensoverschrijdend is. Live bijgestaan door trompettist Milan Mes (Project Wildeman) weten zes muzikanten het publiek anderhalf uur te maken met een broeierig optreden waar soms zelf een vleugje Balkan en Malische jazz te herkennen valt. De nummers van de debuutcd Atico worden in Frascati getransformeerd tot onstuimige improvisaties, waar de muzikale duels tussen Pinto en Mes op de ritmes van percussionist Maarten Vinkenoog (Project Wildeman) en drummer Marshall Curtley de muziek naar een uitbunding climax weten te brengen. Een aangename verrassing voor de bezoekers, die al na het derde nummer de zitplaatsen hebben verruild voor de dansvloer.

Een band om in de gaten te houden.

Frascati, Amsterdam 27 maart 2009 - Tirza de Fockert, 3voor12 -VPRO


"Supercity -Atico"

A couple of weeks ago, I launched a plea for new music to review through a Spanish tourism Facebook page that I host. I got some really great tracks deposited in my e-mail almost right away, from people in Catalonia and elsewhere who wanted to share their sound. Probably my favorite, and definitely the most mysterious, was an unnamed album by a group I’d never heard of called SuperCity. The whole album came without a preface or album art, and I was unable to contact the guy who sent it to me, or anyone in the group despite the existence of a facebook, myspace and website dedicated to the group. In fact, there didn’t seem to be much concrete info about the group apart from a few videos of them playing live gigs.

It took me a while to piece together what I’m taking to be the facts. SuperCity is a guitar and vocals based group that is at times a duet, at others a gang of five guys hailing from Mexico, Venezuela and Holland. They’re based primarily in Amsterdam and perform a host of live gigs around the city, which is what they’ve become known for. Their music is, at least according to them, a mix of “Sudaca jazz, blues-rock, Malian jazz, desert-blues, gypsy-swing, Balkan twangs and dub beats” that “is skillfully concocted from the melting pots of an up-rooted world.” Though I wouldn’t have gone quite that far, their album is by far the most interesting one I’ve received this year. It’s a mix of 20’s jazz and contemporary Spanish guitar complimented with fluent Spanish and English lyrics, the final product being a slick, and entirely original compilation of slow flowing, smoky style.

The album starts with “Shake It,” a slow and melodious foray into English that showcases the bands sharp lyrics, supple vocals, and fluent guitar. Hot on it’s heels is the “Spanish Quizas,” heavily Latin and powerfully droll, combining perfectly placed lyrics and a strongly vintage guitar backing that contrast sharply with both the preceding and following track. The latter, “Marries Wedding,” is an amalgamation of both slow Spanish and quick, sassy English lyrics that utilizes a fierce, Mexican mariachi-style guitar to great effect. It’s one of the faster songs in the album and shows the range of artists well.

The following “La Muerta” (“The Dead” in English) is another slow, jilting ode with the same great guitar that I’ve come to expect from SuperCity, and really gorgeously sung, very powerful lyrics. The next few tracks, “Isidoro” (Spanish guitar, ballad-like lyrics), and “El-Ray" (almost painfully, Prozac slow and quite glum), and “El Narco” (powerful instrumental track, nice bass guitar) are more of the same. Following them however, is “El Cuervo,” a Spanish language song with a unique, chilled out tune that’s best described as Sublime-like and that’s out of character to the rest of the album. The heavy, blues-fuelled, lilting “Damn Dog” comes next with a blend of great bass guitar and the customary smoky lyrics, trailed by the stylishly 20’s guitar strumming jazz number “Cyanide Jazz.” The album ends slows to an amazing end with the methodically classy "Chemicals" and the slow, wintery sadness of “Blue Andaluz.”

In all, the album is a tour de force, with huge amount of style and flair contained in every one of the bilingual twelve tracks of the CD (which amazingly is free to download off the band’s website) and makes it, for me, one of the hottest picks this year. I am waiting patiently for the bands second CD, due out sometime soon.
Picture - Tom Remp, Student at Large Web Magazine


Discography

1st Album: Atico (2009)

La Resonance (2010, Type Radio: vinyl 45""")

2nd album: Souvenir (2011)

Photos

Bio

# Featured in ABC's hitseries 'Brothers and Sisters' -episode 506 (2010)

# Featured in Nadine Kuipers documentary 'Ex-Mother' (2010)

# Featured in Ester Gould's documentary 'SHOUT!' (2010)

# Featured in Nadine Kuipers film 'De man die alles kan' (Human, kids and docs, 2011).

On stage Supercity opens a Pandora's jack-in-the-box of musical tickle and trickery. Flowing seamlessly between genres, these noble savages channel everything from son, surf, mariachi, blues, afro-funk to gypsy-swing. Every gig will explore different musical flavours of the globe, and pull the audience into a dancing frenzy. Underneath it all resounds Yvo Sprey's sub-tonal, mesmerizing voice - broaching barrels of gravel-throated chutzpah and multilingual conjuration. Supercity's metropolistas make world freakin' music, with a rock 'n roll sound.

On a fated night in 2008, at the small but legendary Winston Club in Amsterdam, two people experienced an instant musical click. Building on this chemistry, Yvo and Vincente started to play together on long nights of guitar-induced trance in a rackety Amsterdam attic in de Pijp quarter. They got busy re-arranging Yvo's older pieces and writing a set of simple but heartfelt songs that would marry the howling blue-note to the upbeat Mariachi rumba. Adding a dash of poetry and a sprinkling of duende to their concoction, they knew they were onto something special and tasty.

Things took a decisive turn when two new cats appeared on the scene: organ and Wurli player Mickey Smid and master percussionist Maarten Vinkenoog. The first brought in the blessings and teachings of the great songwriters, whereas the latter added the deep rythmical mystique he learned during his travels through West-Africa and Brazil.

The result of this intimate musical friendship and fever is Supercity's first album, Atico, recorded in only two days with the smallest budget imaginable in Mickey's basement. It's a pretty straightforward album with a dark vibe on the one hand and a lighter South American and reggae feel on the other.

A few of the songs have already been used for radio and TV projects, such as the song “El Analuz”, which features in Nadine Kuipers? documentary "Ex-mother".

After recording Atico the magic continues as the band starts to play gigs in The Netherlands and Belgium: on house boats, the smallest café in Amsterdam, garages, basements and even, why not, ping pong tournaments! During the following two years they run into trumpet player Milan Mes,, another percussionist Fabio (Italy), bass player Diego (Colombia) and drummer Joost, who also has his own band, the Souldiers.

With the lineup expanding and this new setup bringing a new depth to their sound Supercity starts to attract a passionate group of fans who accompanies the group everywhere they play knowing they will be guaranteed a vibrant, helluva night but soon realising that no two concerts are ever the same.. The band starts jamming out the songs of Atico, but changing rhythms on the spot, adding breaks and improvising lyrics and harmonies time and again.

The 2nd album: Souvenir (2011)
Souvenir features some explicit political moments, especially the Spanish songs Presidente and 6/8 which are clearly anti-dictator songs. They are not pointing at anyone in particular but you might visualize, if you must, the president of a one-party dictatorship with a wooden leg and no teeth standing in a TV studio telling lies. Yet, for all their poignancy in today?s political climate, these songs remain upbeat and capable somehow of raising us to our feet at the same time as they remind us what we?re standing for.

The second album was recorded over a period of a year, and, like the first album, was produced in the Smusic studio in Amsterdam by Mickey Smid. Half the songs (like Mikisecondi and Presidente) are largely acoustic, and have a close, intimate feel. Others feature a bit more production, like Mickey?s newly treasured Hammond m3 organ which he used to lay a sonorous blanket over some of the songs.

La Resonance is a song about the Swiss font designer Adrian Frutiger. Frutiger designed fonts we avenir and univers. The song has an African feel, with Pino's lead guitar chiming halfway through into an ode to Ali Farka Touré, one of his heroes. The band made it for a project for Type Radio, who degined a cover and brought the song out on a vinyl 45??, 350 copies only!

The laidback track Mikisecondi came from a statue to the African voodoo God which Yvo stumbled on in New York last summer. The statue has a hole in it?s belly, and therefore „he?s always hungry?.

Souvenir was mastered by Bob Ohlsson (who used to work for Motown records in the 60ies). The good man has a great quote on his website:

The care that the Dead organization [The Grateful Dead] takes with their fans should be a template for every aspiring performer. The whole thing grew out of house parties. In fact the whole San Francisco rock scene gre