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ISLAND

Eclectic Prog • Switzerland


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Island biography
Good band which sounds pretty much canterbury like. The band format includes keys, sax, drums and vocals. The biggest influence for ISLAND definitely seems to be VdGG, and the band certainly approaches progressive rock from the darker end of the spectrum. Sometimes the influence of GENTLE GIANT gets very clear in their music. Recommended!

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Discipline by Janet Jackson (CD, Feb-2008, Island Label 22 Songs NEW USD $9.29 Buy It Now
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ROBERT PALMER - I Didn't Mean To Turn You On - Ex Con 7" Single Island IS 283 USD $3.89 Buy It Now
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FRANK SINATRA This is the Night Hush A-Bye Island Columbia 37193 78 Record Album USD $4.50 Buy It Now
THE JAGS - BACK OF MY HAND / DOUBLE VISION. (UK, 1979, ISLAND, WIP 6501) USD $3.88 Buy It Now
Ne-Yo: Rhapsody Originals [Live] ~ Excellent DVD (2007, Island/Def Jam (USA)) USD $3.57 Buy It Now
IKE AND TINA TURNER "DULCE PELIROJA DE RHODE ISLAND" 1975 8119 12" LP ARGENTINA USD $22.97 Buy It Now
Island in the Sun: 20 Golden Songs Audio CD USD $17.82 Buy It Now
schönsten Länder der Welt - Island [DVD] USD $11.54 Buy It Now
Conscious by Broods (CD, Jun-2016, Island (Label)) USD $10.25 Buy It Now
THE ART OF NOISE who's afraid of ZTTIQ2 uk ztt/island 1984 LP PS VG/EX USD $11.67 Buy It Now
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LP U2 The Unforgettable Fire LP ARGENTINA 1985 Island TLP60137 Tittle in Spanish USD $37.99 Buy It Now
Mr. Happy Go Lucky by John Mellencamp (CD, Oct-1996, Island/Mercury), box 5 USD $8.99 Buy It Now
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War All the Time by Thursday (CD, Sep-2003, Island (Label) USD $4.29 Buy It Now
Amazing Blondel - Blondel - Rock/Classical/Prog/Folk 1973 NM- Island Rare OOP USD $9.00 Buy It Now
The Best of 1980-1990 by U2 (CD, Nov-1998, Island (Label)) USD $6.00 [0 bids]
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ROBERT PALMER Double Fun LP Viny VG++ Cover VG++ 1978 Island USD $3.97 Buy It Now
U2 THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE LP VINYL RECORD ALBUM ISL-1011 1984 VG ISLAND CANADA USD $3.81 Buy It Now
STEVE WINWOOD, ARC OF A DIVER LP VINYL RECORD ALBUM XILP9576 1980 ISLAND LYRICS USD $3.81 Buy It Now
This Is Reggae Music vinyl LP 1974 Island Records EX [Jimmy Cliff Heptones] USD $10.00 Buy It Now
NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL On Avery Island (LP, Fire Records) 2010 USD $19.95 Buy It Now
Troy Shondell, 45 rpm, Tears of an Angel / Island in the Sky USD $7.00 [0 bids]
TRAFFIC 'Traffic' Island Gatefold Pink Label Stereo LP / Booklet USD $25.95 [1 bids]
NIGHT WORKS Urban Heat Island 2012 UK 11-trk promo test CD Metronomy USD $5.18 Buy It Now

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ISLAND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ISLAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 119 ratings
Pictures
1977

ISLAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ISLAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ISLAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.08 | 7 ratings
Pyrrho
2005

ISLAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ISLAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars A very dark, obscure journey into the deepest vestiges of prog's reaches.

Dug up from the absolute bowels of music, the sole studio offering from an obscure Swiss band, "Pictures" is a bit of an oddball release. Like its chilling album artwork, the album is bleak and cold, but quite intricate. The music is keyboard-heavy and structurally consists of mainly long, open-ended - but not spacey - solos with some woodwind and vocal (sung in English) accompaniment. Many reviewers are quick to note heavy influences from other eclectic and jazz artists but the atmosphere of this album is really like nothing else out there. The first time you listen to this album it's generally hard to take in more than the first 10 minutes or so, but with each listen you slowly begin to appreciate it more and more. Having said that, this is certainly an album that you put on for the experience, not necessarily for the music.

While there are truly riveting moments on the album, and the atmosphere is extraordinarily eerie, I would not recommend this to just anyone. This is certainly not an album for newcomers to prog but more something for the listener who's heard anything and everything and is craving for more.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by tmay102436

5 stars How in the world can an avid lover / fanatic / caused a divorce (many years ago - happily married now) / devotee of progressive rock have missed this fabulous album!? But, I did. I just got this through Synphonic Music, and what a surprise.

Very complex, and yes, as others have mentioned there's Van der Graaf, Gentle Giant, ELP, avant prog, RIO, etc...influences. But also, a similarity to USA's, Fireballet, actually both fabulous albums from them. Of course another point of reference might be their fellow Swiss, Flame Dream.

Still, this is so very unusual, personal, yet extremely professional and well recorded and remastered. And that combination is what makes it 5 stars for me.

I just love the addition of woodwinds, and the sax here on Island's "Pictures" is what takes them to another level. The keyboards (oh my gosh, on this third listening I just noticed that there's no guitar - not even missed) are the predominate, with the bass pedals sounding like there supposed to, just in the right spot. Very cool through a surround decoder, with the subwoofer slightly pinning the whole tapestry down. I usually don't like the "extra track(s), but this one is quite good, although maybe not necessary. Still, nice to hear sometimes.

OK, I'm gushing now, but again, what a pleasant surprise. May there always be these nuggets of pure inspiration and performance to be found. And as always, thanks to this wonderful site, Progarchives.com for being able to share our love of this musical miracle, Progressive Rock.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Living up to their name, it really seems like this band was stranded on an island somewhere far away for a really long time and had nothing better to do except create this otherworldly music. This sole release is probably the strangest prog i've ever heard. Yes, the influences of Van der Graaf, Gentle Giant, ELP, avant prog, RIO and the rest are here, but this music really doesn't sound like anything else. It is eerie, spooky, complex, powerful and bizarre! The decision to leave out the guitar and add lots of percussion, crotales, saxes, flute and clarinet really add to its uniqueness

Warning! This eclectic stew takes a few listens to grow on you. I have grown to love this! I heard this several times on YouTube before I tracked down a copy and after several listens I only like this more each time. The production isn't as bad as i've read and I think it actually adds to the strangeness of it all. The bonus track on the CD is no throwaway. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the album and clocking in at over 23 minutes adds a huge chunk of time. So what are you waiting for? Go out and find this! It's the perfect soundtrack for cuddling up to H.R. Giger's Necronomicon

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Not much is known about this legendary Swiss Prog band, but it seems certain that Island evolved from the disbanded Deaf, as the very early mid-70's five-piece line-up included drummer Güge Jürg Meier and guitarist/singer Dany Ruehle (also a member of The Shiver).However their sole album ''Pictures'' would only see the light in 1977 on the unkown Round Records (propably Island's members had some involvement with the label), featuring from the original line-up ex-Toad Benjamin Jäger on vocals and percussion, Güge Jürg Meier on drums, Peter Scherer on keyboards and bass pedals along with the newest addition of wind-instrumentalist René Fisch.

The album is a British-influenced experience of dense and complex Progressive Rock along the lines of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, GENTLE GIANT and GNIDROLOG, very unpopular for the time of its release but definitely well-executed and offering plenty of interesting material already from the opening minutes and the superb instrumental ''Zero'', a milestone of rich and frenetic Progressive Rock with fantastic interplays between piano, organ, saxes and clarinets as well as some excellent drumming.What follows is a dark, haunting and complicated trilogy of three long epics, clocking between 12 and 17 minutes, where Island's sound reaches the top of its complexity but also where the VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR is trully apparent.What really shines in these compositions is the perfectly balanced sound of the band between the instrumental madness and the intense lyrical parts as well as the dreamy, almost fairytale atmospheres and obscure, dark soundscapes.The instrumentation seems also greatly measures.Lots of sax and clarinet interventions next to some lighter flute parts but also plenty of keyboard attacks, including Avant Garde-like piano textures and tons of organ orgasms.Pretty tight stuff and what makes ''Pictures'' even more charming is the absence of guitars and the use of bass pedals instead of a bass.Count in the numerous wordless chants and you get ''Pictures'' abnormal and schizophenic atmosphere.

The Laser's Edge CD reissue contains also a rare 23-min. jamming of the band, which is also attractive and very solid.A must have for all fans of complex and dark music of the VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR school of Prog and warmly recommended for all the rest...3.5 stars.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A very, very, very strange slice of avant-garde-cum-canterbury-style progressive rock from the rather obscure Swiss four-piece Island, this 1977 release, right down to the techno-biological artwork of renowned Swiss artist H. R. Giger(him of 'Alien' fame) really is an 'acquired' taste. Practically impossible to get hold of(certainly at the time of writing) this is one of those exceptionally singular albums that both confounds and delights in equal measure, though after initial listens one does wish that the group had simply focused more on developing the album's various quirky melodies instead of just being deliberately weird. Featuring five tracks - the final three of which each break the ten-minute mark - 'Pictures' kicks off with strange moanings, hushed whispers and crashing gongs on the aptly-titled mini-prologue 'Introduction' before a cacophony of sonic squalls lead into the impressively jazz-flecked follow-up 'Zero'. It's on 'Zero' that the group's canny ear for delightfully intricate melodies really shines through, as brisk keyboard patterns and skittering drums dance an oddly-timed avant-jazz jig that brings to mind the more complex meanderings of both National Health and Hatfield & The North. However, 'Pictures' really starts to amp up the weirdness factor on the three epic closing compositions, each of which drags the listener bemused and kicking into the Swiss group's wholly eclectic musical world. Mainly instrumental - bar from some genuinely creepy vocals courtesy of percussionist and ex-Toad member Benjamin Jager - the title- track, 'Herold & King' and 'Here & Now' really need to be heard to truly be (dis)believed. At times, a slight medieval feel permeates the dizzy madness, and whilst frequent needless wanders into overly dissonant territory prove frustrating, it's almost worth the effort when Island do manage to concentrate on the actual music. If you can take over forty-minutes of whacked-out prog(sample chorus line: "Gastric Juices! Gastric Juices!") 'Pictures', an album almost perfectly summed up by its freakish cover art, may actually be worth exploring. However, you have been warned... STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by Bj-1
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Dark, sinister and closer to avantgarde progressive rock than any other variation of the genre, I've been aware of this gem for quite some time now but haven't got a chance to listen to the whole album until recently. This is an unique, complex and very adventurous album and while the music is constantly interesting (at least for a weirdo like myself) the best thing about it is the absolutely eerie, almost chilling atmosphere that just get tenser as the album progresses. The music is strangely melodic and elegant but simultaneously uneasy that usually relief itself into some really deranged or spooky sections. The best thing is that it's all very effective, at least if you can appreciate this kind of dark music cause it is not easy listening. Musicianship is absolutely stunning and right on time even in the most bizarre and demanding sections, these guys really know how to play and peform and I was mindblown by their unique approach to their instruments. As you probably figured out the songs are dangerously complex so it requires a good ear and slight insanity from the listener to fully grab it all. The lyrics are odd and the vocalist might be an acquired taste for some but the rest is brilliant all the way. I'll leave it to the excellent cover art explaining the rest for you..

If you like Gnidrolog, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and have a taste for zeuhl and avantprog then check it out, but be open minded. You either get it or get run over by it, so take your time.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Island's "Pictures" is a vicious jazz attack and quite unsettling at times but never less than creative. The band are an inventive jazz RIO and may be described as Gentle Giant meets Van der Graaf Generator. It is strange and compelling and slightly sinister. The instrumental 'Zero' is one of the most virtuoso in terms of musicianship and experimentation. Scherer is a wizard on keyboards and the drumming of Meier is phenomental competing with one another yet oddly amalgamating together. The time sig changes are wondrous, really making the music more dynamic than it already is. It is bold and daring and challenging.

Fisch is an incredible sax player and shines on the lengthy 'Pictures' with Jager's vocals and massive dollops of avant jazz hyper strangeness. It is almost Zappa meets Hatfield and the North, a weird combination of psychotic jazz and Canterbury. The sigs are all over the place and chaos reigns supreme. 'Herold And King' is a disturbing track with drones and jolts of sax and silence, and it does sound as though the musicians are just tuning up but they are actually playing dissonant jazz. The piano on this is spine tingling and really is not one I would play at night.

'Here and Now' is a dark piece with VDGG sax squeals and Tull like flute. It is rather scary but the vocals are warm and inviting. The music is incredible and off the scale as far as time sigs, the meter changes and the percussion is always maintaining an odd pattern. It ends the album on a highlight. But there is a bonus on the Cd and it is a huge jam session called 'Empty Bottles'. It is really a manic jazz feast, with dissonant sax, drums and other instruments basting up a storm.

A word about the cover. It is an HR Giger artwork 2 years before he became famous for "Alien" and yet it looks very much like the Alien in Ridley Scott's classic. It certainly drew me to the album. Giger of course provided the artwork for many albums such as ELP's "BSS" and Debbie Harry's solo album "Koo Koo", even being involved with the clip to her 'Backfired' and appearing in 'Now I Know You Know'.

Overall Islands' "Pictures" is a bold inventive album that is really going to challenge listeners and for those of us who want to hear odd time meters, jazz weirdness and Canterbury all in one package, look no further!

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Few bands deserve the "eclectic" descriptor more than Island. Pictures presents extended compositions that are generally based on symphonic conventions, but include heavy doses of fusion (often of a Canterbury nature), theatrical lyrics influenced by Peter Gabriel and Peter Hammill in equal portions, avant-garde Gentle Giant-like moments, and the occasional hypnotic rhythm reminiscent of Zeuhl. The highly complex and technical material is let a little by the fuzzy sound quality (at least on my copy), and whilst the band undeniably possess fearsome chops, the album does rather meander, with the epics dragging out some musical ideas well past the point where they stop being interesting. A good album, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it essential by any stretch of the imagination.
 Pyrrho by ISLAND album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.08 | 7 ratings

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Pyrrho
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Much to the pleasure of the fans of Island's sole studio album, they get to see an "official" release of the live material that had circulated as some form of boot or another for the last decades or so. This rather dark and sober green artwork (again HR Giger) fits the general tone of the group's soundscape. Both live recordings date from 76, well before the album's actual sessions (summer 77) and therefore don't expect unheard material. What is relatively interesting is to follow the progression of the group, both in its personnel and in its musical direction, compared to the finished product. It seems obvious that the contents of the first disc is more ancient than the stuff of the second one, but both are subdivided in a flurry of track sub-division, which may seem and be a little arbitrary.

The first disc is announced as home recording, so you're warned, but like the bonus track on the CD reissue of Pictures, it's actually quite acceptable, and if every home recording was of that quality, there wouldn't have been many studios left in the late 70's. The group was then a quintet, based on the "basic trio foundation" drummer Scherer, keyboardist Meier and singer Jager, but included a guitarist and a bassist. Musically the group didn't have that Zeuhl dimension it would have in Pictures, being much more Emersonian- symphonic in style, but still jazz-rock tinged. Interestingly enough, this "home session" last some 40 minutes, enough material for an album.

The second disc is unsurprisingly not quite as good in terms of sound quality, being a live concert recording, with not all the parameters fully under control. Unlike the first disc, this could be a bootleg origin, but it's nothing scandalous either. Line-up wise, the guitarist is nw gone, replaced with saxman René Fisch, while the bassist has changed. While it may appear trivial or anecdotic, this change might be one of the key to the group's relative change of musical scope, as this recording does see the appearance of Zeuhl influences, absent in the first disc, but not nearly as dominant as it would be in their Pictures album. There are hints of VdGG influences appearing now, but I didn't detect any GG yet. So if you're looking for some more Pictures, this second disc would be up your alley, despite seeing your enthusiasm slightly tempered about the sound quality.

I certainly wouldn't call this double-disc affair essential to any proghead (given that the sound quality is not exactly up-to-par), unless you're an absolute fan of Pictures and really want to deepen your knowledge of the second-best Swiss band ever, after Circus. Interesting enough to listen to it a few times, but I'm not sure that you'll get a good mileage of this double-shot.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 119 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The only studio album of obscure Swiss prog band is very competent and complex work for your head.CD version contains of 6 compositions, four of them are longer than 12 minutes.

Musically band plays complex symphonic/contemporary classical music influenced prog with some symphonic fusion elements and dark, almost zeuhlish atmosphere. Compositions all are of complex structure, with rhythm breaks, some avant elements and really requires repeated listening. In moments similar to some Van Der Graaf Generator of Gentle Giant works, this album is great release in its quality, but has same result on me - this is music for head but hardly for the heart.

Fans of complex and technical symphonic prog should really enjoy this release. For others it could be interesting, but not too enjoyable one.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4.

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