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Island - Pictures CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 156 ratings

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4 stars For Prog Explorer Only! --- What is your intention in listening to prog music ? To find something different than music norms but still maintaining great melody and structure? If that is the case, forget about this CD and do not read this review - it's a waste of time!! But, if your intention is to explore wide variety of styles offered by prog music regardless any boundary of existing well defined genre / sub-genre (art rock, neo prog, folk prog rock, symphonic prog rock, canterbury, etc. etc.) - what is offered by this album is probably for you. But, wait a second, you must agree with one condition that I must offer you upfront: forget about any boundary of music - sit down and relax, enjoy whatever "sound" (not even music, mate!) produced by these guys and try to associate them with your own feeling. If you are not comfortable with the CD at first spin, don't worry you have another time to listen it again. This applied to me the first time I spin the CD, I could not bear it actually. I put aside the CD and later on - couple weeks later - I spin again and made myself prepared for the worst, prepared for being "tortured" by many anomalies and "weird" sounds the CD would produce. Uhm . finally I could accept the sounds of this album after 3 spins - what a lucky guy I am - typical music buffs would give up at first spin, I think!

So why? Is it the music that bad? Nope! Not at all . it's just strange and very uncommon to our normal listening pleasure, I would think. It's very unpredictable - a lot of surprises, unstructured melody (it looks like at first spin), frequent tempo changes, intensely complex (at least for my ears). Well, for those of you who love neo progressive style, you would not enjoy this CD, for sure.

Does it mean that the band is immune from any influence? Not really. I have observed some influences of predecessors: King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, ELP, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, England, Hatfield and the North, Return to Forever, Devil Doll and avant-garde music. So, it's not original - it's derivative but the band has taken into a direction that creates a unique music that you can hardly identify the main influence of previous band(s).

On Composition

It's a complex music (especially for me) and very dark, composed in a meticulous detail by the band. At first glance, there are a lot of passages that have no connection whatsoever with preceding and/or succeeding passages. The band has crafted their music on the basis of segment by segment writings and tie them together into one chapter to form a complete song. This is a valid approach as in life (reality) we have found many non connected items that when we construct into one whole may (or may not) form a meaningful philosophy (lessons of life), I would say. With all of these caveats, what we - as listener - can enjoy this kind of music at its best? Well, there is no one single answer on this. It depends on individual preferences and musical backgrounds. As for me personally, to enjoy this music I just enjoy sound by sound produced by the album regardless the structure. Structure? It's a hard to define here as you can hardly find where is the head" or "tail" of each song. Just enjoy the sound each second during the time passage of CD spin. And .. let your mind decide - is there any enjoyment with this music? Can I understand it? Can I comprehend it? Should I proceed listening to this unstructured composition? [I had positive responses on all of these questions; so I enjoy it as far as the condition of listening is fulfilled: alone and in the middle of the night, play it loud!].

On Musicianship and Performance

Well, it's pretty easy to judge musicianship for a complex music like this, isn't it? Either it's a top notch or the guys do not know how to play their instruments, right? A good measure is to ask the band to do a gig for us. If the can play exactly like the studio version, yeah .. you got it right . they are impeccable musicians! But, I have another measure on this. The way observe is to find the most complex segment and try to analyze the complexity of chords they play especially in harmonizing with other instruments. For this, the guys have passed the test! I even admire their musicianship!

I would not go into track by track review. Overall, having listened to this album more than 6 times in its entirety, I would dare to give a rating of "an excellent addition to any prog collection" (four stars rating) based on the above descriptions. This rating applies to any of you who wants to dive into the ocean of prog music and explore a multitude of styles and sub genres offered by the musicians / composers. But for overall music prog music buffs, I would tend to give two ratings. Prog music is very personal, so I leave it up to you to rate and I don't want to give any recommendation to you whether or not to purchase this album by Laser's Edge. Be your own judge! And .. Keep on progging!

Progressively Yours, GW - Indonesia

Gatot | 4/5 |


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