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King Crimson - Islands CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 1691 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars King Crimson. What an inventive and influent band! A chamaleon that has always something new to offer, always dressed in a different suite.

So does Island with its experimental-avantguardist feel, so much different from their usual outputs. Very suggestive, strange, "schizoid" if you want with string bass in evidence, sparse sax and repetitive guitar's patterns. The opener "Formentera Lady" is strangely calm. It seems it's going to explode at each second but the sad vocalises alternating with sax go on and on for over 10 minutes. Excellent the contrast between the anguishing music and the mellow sung parts.

"Sailor's Tale" (7,29 mns) is structured in a more traditional Crimso' mood with catchy fast drumming introduction, eletcric guitar and sax. Then some distorted sax and evocative jazzy-avantguard sounds and guitar's noises until a general slowdown thought to give the opportunity to mr. Fripp to play a noisy electric guitar solo. Them finally, some powerful mellotron's eruption come with all its dramatic and gloomy atmosphere.

"The Letters" (4,29 mns) opens with sad sung part. Boz vocals sound good to me. Suddenly, the slow rythm passes on and strong sax sound blended with electric guitar enter the scenes. Then, as suddenly as it came it fades away. A gentle sax solo by Mel Collins becomes schizofrenic again until it stops giving the possibily to Boz' vocals to softly fade out.

"Ladies of the Road" (5,34 mns) is another curious track blending the typical Crimson's sound with a bluesy pattern. It reminds me of Beatles' "Come Together".

"Prelude: Song of the Gulls" (4,14 mns) starts off in a more classical suite: string, oboe and flute. A more reassuring music with more than a baroque touch. Well, an excellent break.

With "Islands" (11,51 mns) the album continue the formula of the previous track with only a a touch of sadness more. It's gently introduced by warm vocals and piano part. Then strings again and also cornet, the surprise. Not bad at all. Thanks also to mellotron.

This is one of the most difficult album by mr. Fripp. Generally it's hard to digest for the lack of those typical "exciting interludes". Notwithstanding it stands as one of the most progressive work of the period. Really King Crimson were free to experiment and to put in music their own and most deep ideas. I wonder if it could be possible today.

3,5: different (and difficult to get into) but very good!

Andrea Cortese | 3/5 |


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