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Colin Bass

Crossover Prog

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Colin Bass An Outcast of the Islands album cover
3.87 | 73 ratings | 14 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Macassar (6:16)
2. As Far as I Can See (6:17)
3. First Quartet (1:44)
4. Goodbye to Albion (7:11)
5. The Straits of Malacca (4:41)
6. Aissa (2:43)
7. Denpasar Moon (4:20)
8. Second Quartet (0:31)
9. No Way Back (6:16)
10. Holding Out My Hand (6:22)
11. The Outcast (3:27)
12. Burning Bridges (4:52)
13. Reap What You See (6:19)
14. Trying to Get You (2:12)

Total Time 63:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Colin Bass / vocals, bass, fretless bass (6), keyboards (1,5,6,10,13), acoustic guitar (14), producer

- Andy Latimer / lead & acoustic guitars, EBow (1,6), mandolin (4), 12-string guitar (5)
- Maciek Meller / guitars (1,2,5,9,10,12), backing vocals (4)
- Szymon Brzezinski / lead guitar (9,12)
- Wojciech Karolak / Hammond (1,7)
- Zbyszek Florek / keyboards & piano (1,4,5,9,10,12,13), Hammond (4,9,10)
- Marcin Błaszczyk / keyboards (1,5,9,10,12)
- Jacek Piskorz / keyboards & piano (2), organ (13)
- Jacek Zasada / flute & whistle (4)
- Dave Stewart / drums, cymbal (6)
- Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra / string quartet (3,8,11)
- Kim Burton / string arranger (3,8,11)
- Tatiana Kauczor / vocals (2)
- Emila Derkowska / backing vocals (4)
- Piotr Mańkowski / backing vocals (4)
- The Poznan Gospel Quintet / chorus vocals (13)

Releases information

Artwork: Colin Bass (photo)

CD Oskar ‎- OSKAR 1001 CD (1998, Poland)
CD Kartini ‎- KART 2 (1999, Germany)
CD Wild End Records ‎- WEP01 (2013, UK) Remastered by Ben Turner

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy COLIN BASS An Outcast of the Islands Music

COLIN BASS An Outcast of the Islands ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

COLIN BASS An Outcast of the Islands reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars My first encounter with Colin BASS was on the recent few CAMEL albums in which he simply blew me away and I really found his symphonic influences mixed perfect with Latimer's guitar and song writing. "An Outcast Of The Islands" is bass's first solo album and what an album it is! Without a question this album I would put on the same level as the recent CAMEL albums with clean swooping symphonic atmospheres, breathtaking instrumentation and great song writing. BASS plays all basses adds keyboards and vocals and is joined by CAMEL's Andy Latimer (guitar) and Polish Prog QUIDAM's Zbyszek Florek (keyboards), Szymon Brzezinski (guitars), Marcin Btaszczyk (keyboards) and Dave Stewart on drums.

This is a very complete album with even 2 orchestral instrumental pieces he performed with the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. Overall an exception album full of great songs and amazing instrumentation. highly recommended!

Review by hdfisch
3 stars This solo output by Colin Bass who has been playing as well together with CAMEL is a very very mellow album maybe slightly to be compared with their later records. Nice to listen, but as well not very much exciting for fellows who are more into prog with higher proportion of rock rock like me. Nevertheless I'm still rating it with 3 stars, because it's not a bad one and it's probably just a matter of taste!

(Edited 10/7/2005)

Review by The Prognaut
5 stars Right before discovering this fantastic album, the nearest approach my ears had to some of Colin's personal musical projects was listening to a couple, then the complete set; of songs he recorded during the "Colin Bass solo in Poland tour, April 2004" which I found over his website. By having listened to those live recordings, no matter how great I thought they sounded on a first impression; I pretty much decided not to catalogue his entire solo work out of just one perception. That one and only encounter with Colin's music so far, pretty much obviated my senses to look for and upper level of recognition, meaning that far beyond getting astonished irremediably, I wanted to know what else was there for me to lend ears to regarding the solo career productions by former CAMEL bassist. And how predisposed I was, finding out that my mind limitations got overwritten by this outstanding, well composed and performed, music.

Notoriously, from the beginning, you'll find out this album is divided by two intromissions. "First Quartet" and "Second Quartet". Both, elegantly and beautifully performed by members of the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kim BURTON. The connotation provided by the word "divided" here, doesn't stand for "separation" or "breaking points" in the continuity of the album, it only spots out the righteous order the episodes have to follow up here, sequentially, one after the other.

When moving on to the musical composition described in the album, that doesn't necessarily imply chamber instruments entirely, you'll find yourself listening to the top song on the track listing, "Macassar". More than being unique in its argumentation and progressiveness, this instrumental piece appears so restless and uneasy, like if it was exploring itself over and over again until the running time has to come to an end. The opening track relates a fantastic world of meticulous descriptions, contemplating as narrators the peaceful Hammond organ of Wojtek KAROLAK, the enticing keyboards and piano of Zbyszek FLOREK, the current anchorman of Polish neo prog band QUIDAM; the impressive drums of Dave STEWART and if it weren't just enough, the massive display of power of Andy LATIMER on his hypnotic lead guitar along Maciek MELLER and Colin BASS on his inseparable bass guitar. When composing and arranging an instrumental piece, there's gotta be an explanation that lacks of words in the process of doing so, and this piece certainly manages the essential significances to give the listener a closer approach to the deep and real meaning of such unspoken dialogue. The constant intromissions by Zbyszek FLOREK and his keys, the recurrent variants of Andy LATIMER replying to that piano and that drumbeat, simply amazing.

To avoid misleading this review from the parameters of wonderful and impressive, I'd like to deviate your attention to the next song in descendent order. "As Far As I Can See" isn't precisely the typical love song, the one that lingers under the appreciation of a heartbreaking or the pointless romancing; this beautiful suite to me, is represented on an excerpt from a dialogue, from a paragraph on some love story. The kind of story that never ends and that carries on even after having read it, over and over again. All of this, taking place among the sounds of a melodic guitar, an upbeat drum, an almost silent piano and obviously, Colin BASS on vocals. The lyric to this song is marvelously executed, not overwritten at all and very realistic. The next song in order of appearance, "Goodbye to Albion", mostly walks in the same footsteps taken by its antecessor, but surprisingly, the impromptu comes along with the sweet sound of a flute, softly executed and taken away so precisely that minimizes the song to a personal, evoking level. Slightly and almost imperceptible, you can notice as well the traditional taste impregnated by QUIDAM inside your mind and ears once you are familiar with the distinctive sound of the Polish band and its gifted musicians. And speaking of which, and despite her early departure from the neo prog band to take on her personal affairs; at that time Emila DERKOWSKA was a part of the dream, a demonstrated what she was capable of, and the fact of lending her angelical voice to the vocals choruses in here, spoke for itself entirely.

"The Straits of Malacca" is a very fresh, adventurous song. You can perceive the sound of Andy's guitar so random and crunchy, it would make you think we aren't talking about the same legendary guitarist. But somehow, you might as well feel how the sound of that aimless guitar, turns into the center of the little universe condensed in that song. With a sudden unexpected closure, this is indeed another fantastic instrumental performed in here. On the other hand, "Aïssa" strangely appears in the shape of sorrow and darkness. It certainly implies a certain touch of the late CAMEL productions, but very enjoyable instrumental piece as well though. Now, while taking on to the next level, "Denpasar Moon" would stand in your way and could make you embrace it right away. A nicely arranged, very rhythmic ballad. I quite enjoyed the songwriting by Colin in here, which is very tuned up to the romance and a sense of detachment from it all. Great stuff.

"No Way Back" displays and represents that ambience contained and breathed throughout the whole album. It is very calm yet violent at some momentary spaces, but in between the narrative it suggests, you will always find Andy LATIMER talking to the wind those spaces left behind, turning the sensation of listening into a very pleasantry experience. At his turn, Colin BASS takes on that bass guitar he's been playing and educating ever since the year of 1968 beheld his life and certainly proves once again, what he's really made of. One more time, the final encore is in charge of Zbyszek FLOREK, giving the piece a complete momentum and the suitable ending. By walking down the same stream, you'll find yourself listening to one of the most revealing songs written for this album, "Holding Out my Hand". The splendid music, the individuality of the instruments made a whole, the passion and the intrigue are some of the determinant factors to keep up the thematic proposed in here. It is not a ballad. Yet it isn't as romantic as it could get. It's a hard to explain composition, but the landscaping proposed by the contagious sounds makes it all easy to understand and to be explained. Once again, cannot avoid listening attentively to the mirage pictured by LATIMER's enchanting guitar. The solo he dared to display in between this cathartic song, is simply impossible to compare to anything he's done before. Just sit back and enjoy.

After the soulful interlude of chords performed on "Outcast", the most impeccable and devouring song out of the entire production to me, makes its triumphal entrance throughout the waves in the air and straight to my mind. "Burning Bridges". I really cannot think of the precise words to detail what I've listened to for almost five minutes of mystery, skin crawling and mysticism. I cannot even think of something more transitional and direct than this song. Obviously, I got dazzled and shocked the first time. Then the second and the third. Then the next time to those, then another. Fantastic is less to say. It combines the purity and the sensitivity so perfectly, it turns into a sea of confusion and unawareness. And of course, still cannot believe how a song with all its instrumentation and songwriting, can evoke such feeling upon oneself. At this point, the remaining couple of songs may appear meaningless to you now, but trust me, they've got a scent of their own. You'll get to listen to some more compassed and melodic chamber instruments, a peaceful drum striking and that piano that's been all the way along this 1999 album. So please, I'm begging you not to miss out this once in a lifetime opportunity. Getting this album is mandatory for any progger or non-progger. Five starts are the less I can humbly do for this masterpiece, but certainly deserves the tops, all in all.

Review by Heptade
3 stars Basically this could be considered the lost Camel album. Bass tells the tale from Conrad's book through a series of Celtic-tinged soft-rock songs, interspersed with some instrumentals and a couple of slight string pieces. The sounds are identical to what we find on late-period Camel albums, a mixture of lush keyboards and Andy Latimer's widely featured lead guitar, and and Bass's own vocals are eerily close to Latimer's, so much so that if you played this for any casual Camel fan, they'd probably declare flat out that it is Andy singing. If anything, Bass's voice is a little more expressive than Latimer's. Also like Camel, the album tells an inspirational tale, which is very close to 1981's Nude album about a castaway. All in all, if you are a big fan of Dust and Dreams, Rajaz and A Nod and a Wink, then you need to have this fine, mature rock album.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is very relaxing and it resembles the music of Camel as well as Pink Floyd in a happier mood, I guess. Colin Bass seems so familiar with my country which comprises many islands (thousands!) and it is shown with its opening track "Macassar" which is actually the name of our cities in Sulawesi. The opening part resembles the combination of gamelan sounds using keyboard and excellent guitar work by his colleague at Camel: Andrew Latimer. The music is quite stable as it contains little tempo or style changes. If you are a Camel fan, you would definitely like this opening track. The second track "As Far As I Can See" is less upbeat than the opening track and vocal (by Colin Bass) is added with this track. It's a relaxing music with good acoustic guitar rhythm. "First Quartet" is Colin Bass' exploration of string quartet music played by Members of the Poznah Philharmonic Orchestra, arranged by Kim Burton. It's a nice classical music outfit.

"Goodbye To Albion" bring Latimer backs on track with his a bit Floydian guitar style, performed in relatively upbeat tempo with Colin Bass vocal. Oh by the way, vocal quality wise, his voice resembles Camel's vocal or in a way, sometimes, similar to Steve Hackett's voice. It's not that excellent but it's not bad. The voice seems too flat for my taste. "Stratis of Malacca" has special meaning for me - not the song - as it was the place where I started my career as Off-shore Hook-Up Engineer installing two platforms of the oil companies. Unfortunately at the time I was not aware of this track. This track has aggressive guitar work by Latimer and it's heavier than previous tracks. "Aissa" is to me like a jazz improvisation outfit with good bass lines.

"Denpasar Moon"! Oh who the hell in my country has never heard this song? It was very popular in the seventies as it was sung by an artist (singer) Maribeth and became radio hits everywhere in the country. There is not much different with the Maribeth version except that this one is less energetic. It's probably the limit of Colin Bass high register notes. "The Second Quartet" continues the string work. "No Way Back" is a straight rocker with good guitar work. This time Szymon Brezzizki plays the lead guitar. "Holding Out My Hand" brings back Camel sound with the appearance of Andrew Latimer on lead guitar. "Outcast" is another string quartet outfit.

Overall, the music is a blend of pop with Camel-like composition. This album would favor those who like Camel music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars My first reaction to this album was, "Colin Bass has chosen to use Andy Latimer on guitars, that's fine, but why use him on vocals as well?" It turns out that Colin himself is doing the singing, and he happens to sound alot like Mr Latimer. And, as with Camel, the voice suits the music. Even if his is not the most technically blessed, Mr Bass makes up for it with emotion. As well as being very Camelish, albeit mellow even by those standards, "Outcast of the Islands" does sound more like a group effort than a solo album. Bass doesn't grandstand too much although his stellar bass work does come to the fore on occasion, such as on "No Way Back", but there is so much more here to enjoy.

The first half of this work is especially bright, and then it seems to falter in the latter stages like so many overly long CDs of this era. But before then we have such beautiful vocal and instrumental melodies as found in "Macassar", "As Far as I can See", "First Quartet", "Goodbye to Albion" and "Denpassar Moon".

While "this Colin Bass album is easily good enough to warrant 4 stars on a traditional length recording, I must unfortunately dock a star due to the lower quality of the last few songs, which are still not bad but feel like outcasts in the wake of what came before.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of those "outcast" albums, flying below the radar for no apparent reason, a true gem of cascading delight , surely as good if not better than most Camel recordings (for those of you who do not know, Colin Bass played eminently for Steve Hillage before joining Camel back in the 70s). With Polish friends/musicians from Quidam and Abraxas, as well as the magnificent Andy Latimer on guitar and the equally adept Dave Stewart on drums, this is a rousingly positive effort replete with wonder melodies, inspired soloing and marvelous ensemble playing. The opening instrumental "Macassar" is a stunning intro, full of emotion and harmony, with the axe taking a few soaring journeys. One of the finer mood pieces "sans" vocal you will ever hear. "As Far as I Can See" shows Colin's sweet voice (many actually think that its way better than Andy's wispy delivery) in a simple surrounding, very breezy and English, cherried by a couple of bluesy guitar solos from chef Latimer, pointing proudly towards the horizon. Things are kept interesting with a brief string quartet interlude played by members of the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra, of which there will be another snippet later on.. "Goodbye to Albion" would perhaps fit well into the Camel repertoire, a very English disposition with whimsical singing, especially the wide chorus while Quidam's Jacek Zasada plays his flute and penny whistle with amusing élan. The treat here is Latimer's mandolin playing in the back ground and Bass's spirited farewell to friends in the mother country! (He spends a lot of time in Indonesia) "And I'll say goodbye to Albion, the green hills in the rain and I'll raise my glass to everyone I'll never see again". Nice. "Straights of Malacca" is another shimmering instrumental extravaganza, with Latimer raging with brash abandon, torturing his wobbly strings with composed tenacity. The guitar effects are spellbinding, heaving and howling like a banshee. Ever had doubts about his prowess, well here it is. On "Aissa" Bass showcases his tremendous fretless abilities, while e-bow guitar colorations add even more depth to the platform. "Denpasar Moon" is perhaps the highlight track here, a romping promenade with jangling rhythms undertone, a sensational vocal wrapped around an unpretentious melody front and center, Latimer displaying his amazing restraint in holding back the explosion that will inevitably never arrive, go figure, you cheeky fellow! "No Way Back" has Abraxas' Szymon Brzezinski taking over from the Camel front man on lead guitar and he acquits himself eloquently within a melancholic 6 minute arrangement that has all the ingredients for maximum enjoyment. Probably the most progressive track here, complete with another ravenous bass solo from Colin, perhaps the most underrated 4 stringer in prog and closing it out with some masterful symphonics. "Holding Out my Hand" leaves little respite, another victorious melody within a tight blues based envelope, a podium for a shimmering vocal très Pink Floyd and a chorus to expire for! Inspired ensemble playing as Meller, Florek and Blaszczyk supply massive doses of shine, a cool Hammond organ and synth blitz paired with an ultimate guitar burst from Mr. Latimer, all fervor and ardor in his own inimitable style . Stellar stuff! "Outcast" is another outright classically played orchestral piece from the PPO, where violins, violas and cellos find themselves bathing in luxuriant magnificence. The highly linear "Burning Bridges" starts of somewhat exuberantly but plods along much to my surprise, unable to ignite the flame. While a decent piece (great drumming), it has no bearing on the previous genius material, so I skip. "Reap What You Sow" is a colossal piece that has so many stellar moments: the low spark Traffic-like piano, the uncanny Bryan Ferry-like vocal lilt, the massed all-Polish female choir and Latimer's country/blues picking. The gentle acoustic finale "Trying to Get to You" puts this hour long joyride to rest. I can easily imagine myself listening to this on some tropical paradise island, the palms swaying to the pleasure sounds and instead of calypso/reggae, I would revel as an outcast of the islands. 4.5 Sandy sandals.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Mr. Bass doesn't just play the bass

This solo album by Colin Bass represents the lighter side of Camel and strongly reminds of Camel's late 70's/early 80's Pop phase with albums like I Can See Your House From Here (the first Camel album after Colin Bass joined the band), Nude and The Single Factor, much more so than more recent (and much better) Camel albums like Dust And Dreams, Harbour Of Tears and Rajaz.

Colin Bass has been an important part of Camel since he joined in the late 70's and the mutual influence between him and the band can be clearly discernible on An Outcast Of The Islands. Those who know Camel's 90's live repertoire (see, for example, the fantastic live DVD Coming Of Age) know that Bass sang lead vocals on some songs and those songs give you a good idea of what you find on An Outcast Of The Islands. It is clear that Bass' favourite aspects of Camel's music - and music in general, I suppose - lie in the ballads and softer pieces. This is a rather laid back and soft album. Bass' vocals are similar to those of Andy Latimer, but less distinctive and more anonymous. Latimer plays some guitars here and he is amazing as always with his distinctive guitar sound.

An Outcast Of The Islands is not a typical bass players album, strongly based on songs rather than instrumental workouts. This can both good and bad, I suppose, but mainly good. The songs are mainly well written and this is by no means a bad album. But to say that it is 'the lost Camel album' or that it is up to par with albums like Dust And Dreams, Harbour Of Tears and Rajaz is strongly deceiving. To my ears this is in a different league altogether. As I said at the outset, I think that An Outcast Of The Islands is comparable both in style and quality to those late 70's/early 80's albums like I Can See Your House From Here, Nude and The Single Factor and these are among the least good Camel albums in my opinion.

One thing that I do not like about this album is the orchestral interludes. These are not bad, but they feel completely out of place on this album. It sounds as if you accidentally pushed the shuffle button with a play list of two very different albums, one orchestral album and one Pop/Rock album. Bass seems to be unable to integrate the different influences on his music. This is not a particularly progressive album at all.

As most of the songs are in a similar mood and tempo it is a relief to hear Burning Bridges towards the end of the album that rocks a bit harder compared to the rest of the album. But it is too late to save this album from being rather average. Still, this is a competent album that deserves three stars; a good album but not more than that. I can recommend it only to Camel fans who want to go beyond the Camel discography or for people who like the softer, poppier side of Camel.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Years ago I have rated this album without writing a review, as I was thinking, reading the other's comments, that everything was already said about it. This morning I have found myself listening to it for the fifth time this week (It's Friday) while going to work so I have decided to write my own one.

First of all this is the album closest to Camel, in a good sense, that I've ever heard, not only because Colin played in the band since the 80s. There is plenty of good music in this album: the "Camelistic" songs like "As Far As I Can See" or "Holding Up My Hand", the various string quartets and songs like "Denpasar Moon" and "Goodbye To Albion" that give me something more. Regarding those two songs I think is the fact to have been in Denpasar and having lived for a period in "Albion" so they touch me in a particular way.

Technically speaking it's all well played and Colin's voice sounds incredibly good. It features Andy Latimer and Dave Stewart (not the Eurythmics one) and it should be enough to make this album appealing for proggers, but also the polish rest of the lineup deserves to be mentioned.

There's no need to go track by track with this review. This is an excellent album that together with Colin's live with Joszef Skrkzek I strongly suggest to all the fans of Camel.

Latest members reviews

3 stars More pleasant than expected, but hardly sensational. My introduction to Colin Bass was via that disastrous CAMEL release "I Can See Your House From Here". Ditto for Kit Watkins of HAPPY THE MAN fame. Both contributors were filed away as of little - if any - interest in the future. Later, ... (read more)

Report this review (#939016) | Posted by BORA | Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For over ten years I got this CD, I was recommended to be a inexhaustible follower of Camel. It is an exquisite music, at least for my taste in music. Some will find it mellow, but also has powerful parts. Colin is fabulously supported by colleagues from Camel, Quidam and Abraxas. All musician ... (read more)

Report this review (#938164) | Posted by sinslice | Monday, April 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don't know other Bass, works with Camel or with 3Mustaphas3, so I don't have any comparison. I wish I had, I'd like to know if he always writes so beautiful songs. The songs are of great variety, some contain Irish folk elements, some have gospel climate, and my favourite Denpassar Moon coul ... (read more)

Report this review (#30230) | Posted by | Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What made me interested in this album was the sounds like "gamelan" (the Indonesian traditional Instrument), when the first time I listened to the intro of track number 1 from this album i.e. Macassar from the local radio station . At that time I didn't even know, who was the musician/the band ... (read more)

Report this review (#30229) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Colin Bass (one time bass player with Camel " I Can see your house from here"/"Nude") Has been puttin out several (6) great albums over the years...and this" An Outcast..." is the second (1999) is a stunner!! Colin´s voice carries the resemblance to that of former Camel mate Andy Latimer...though ... (read more)

Report this review (#30226) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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