The title translates to “It Takes The Brightness Of The Sun,” and this is one outfit which sheds enough solar power to oblige. Supernova were an instrumental trio of keyboards, bass and drums & percussion on their 1998 debut, Un Punto Infinito (An Infinite Point). Perhaps inspired by their fellow Argentinians in the great symphonic group, Nexus, keyboardist-flautist Alejandro Kordón, bassist Mariano Sanchez, and drummer Norberto Barcala set out to find a capable female vocalist—they did, in Maria Macaya. And off into the studio they went.
Like Japan, I’m beginning to wonder what’s in the water supply in Argentina; as pastiche as this CD might sound to finicky listeners, the music is so energetic that the question of originality might be tossed out altogether when you hear this band play. No ifs ands or buts, Supernova blatantly telegraph their influences, but what comes down into the mixing desk is unique enough to appreciate their intentions. “El Hipernauta” is eight minutes of emotional, vigorous progressive rock which pulls no punches. Kordón’s blistering leads are all over the place; Sanchez’s five-string bass-blitz wholly compensates for the absence of a lead guitarist as he thumbs, picks, plucks and slaps his way across your speakers. Barcala plays an electronic kit, just like Glass Hammer’s Fred Schendel does—that group is a good P.o.R., along with Nexus—but despair not, the drum samples are good, if canned. A guest guitarist appears on “Apocalipsis II,” adding another dosage of electricity to the already-hot current. There’s a little too much reverb on Maria’s voice; perhaps they’re going for that ‘angelic vocal’ effect, but pipes like hers require no masking. Kordón adds some great Tull-flavored flute prior to taking some liberally long synth and [emulated] organ solos on “Después De Todo” (After All). Energy, energy, energy. This is dense stuff!
The big epic on LeBdS is “Isis,” thirty-four minutes in length, subdivided into four tracks with vocals, and four concise, interstitial instrumentals. The letups are brief: power up the Bombast Gauge—we need to take a reading! Stravinsky and Wagner may wake from their terminal sleep. Sanchez flaunts his skill in the middle of “Divinización,” practically outshining Kordón’s flute part. The superb intro of “Inmensidal Total” sounds like what ELP (with Powell, that is) could have done, had they made it any farther than one album; synthbrass even gives way to a harpsichord sound! Scratch that last thought—with bands like Supernova, Arsnova, Gerard and Glass Hammer, do we really need ELP nowadays? The younger bands have chops and vigor to spare, and not at the expense of writing, either. Supernova have meticulously crafted a powerful work.
Don the headphones for this album, too, for cool stereo panning with drums and the left-to-right-to-center shift for the beginning of “Secretos Divinos.” As you may have gathered, the vocals and lyrics are entirely in Spanish, which is deemed one of the world's romantic languages (and rightfully so). Maria’s sensuous voice works its magic, telling the tale of forbidden knowledge and clandestine acts. A long instrumental break between verses showcases more of Kordón’s ambidexterity; he plays digital ‘boards, and while many of his program choices are lively enough, nothing can replace true analog power. Like Toshio Egawa of Gerard, his synths of choice are probably Korgs; get this man a Minimoog! Maybe next time. His hands deserve some classic ‘boards to work out on. Those Bachian leads will sound even better.