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ISLAND

Eclectic Prog • Switzerland


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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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JAY FERGUSON ( SPIRIT ) THUNDER ISLAND 1977 LP EXC COND US $14.93 Buy It Now 37m 38s
THE PAUPERS - ELLIS ISLAND - PSYCH ROCK LP - Verve Forecast Records US $1.99 [1 bids]
40m 42s
EUROGLIDERS THIS ISLAND LP 714 US $8.99 Buy It Now 40m 58s
U2 - The Unforgettable Fire - (90231 1) Island - MINT US $25.00 Buy It Now 46m 50s
No Need to Argue by The Cranberries (CD, Oct-1994, Island (Label)) US $1.99 [0 bids]
49m 24s
HAYNES ROY - THE ISLAND - EXP0023 US $10.35 Buy It Now 51m 46s
Rossy - Island Of Ghosts (1998) - Used - Compact Disc US $1.37 Buy It Now 52m 50s
The Joshua Tree by U2 (CD, Mar-1987, Island (Label)) US $1.99 [0 bids]
US $5.00 Buy It Now
55m 47s
Chronicles by Steve Winwood (CD, Nov-1987, Island (Label)) US $1.99 [0 bids]
US $5.00 Buy It Now
55m 48s
Free - All Right Now - Island - IEP6 (3 Track 7") US $1.64 Buy It Now 55m 57s
Roy & Paulette ?- Have You Seen My Baby / Since You're Gone ISLAND 1963 SKA EX US $24.91 Buy It Now 58m 5s
Lonely Island - Incredibad (Clean) (2009) - Used - Compact Disc US $3.19 Buy It Now 58m 32s
ISLAND EDDY - ISLAND EDDY - CICD170 US $21.47 Buy It Now 58m 41s
Christmas Island by Jimmy Buffett (CD, Oct-1996, Universal Special Products) US $1.99 Buy It Now 1h 2m
Chronicles by Steve Winwood (CD, Nov-1987, Island (Label)) US $1.99 Buy It Now 1h 2m
Teatro by Willie Nelson (CD, Sep-1998, Island (Label)) US $3.99 Buy It Now 1h 9m
PULP - Help The Aged - Original 1997 deleted UK Island Records 3-track CD single US $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 11m
PULP - Lip Gloss - Original 1993 UK Island Records 3-track CD single US $13.27 Buy It Now 1h 15m
TYRONE & THE CLOUDS Steelband Island Calypso LP RARE US $14.00 Buy It Now 1h 15m
Jim Capaldi(7" Vinyl)Love Hurts-Island-WIP 6246-UK-G/VG US $4.97 Buy It Now 1h 17m
Inspiral Carpets, Island Head(7" Vinyl)Biggest Mountain-Mute-DUNG 11-UK-NM/NM US $9.95 Buy It Now 1h 17m
Elton John(7" Vinyl)Island Girl -DJM-DS 10910-UK-VG+/NM US $9.95 Buy It Now 1h 17m
Animal Nightlife(7" Vinyl)Preacher Preacher -Island-IS 245-Ex/VG US $9.95 Buy It Now 1h 18m
Robert Palmer(7" Vinyl)Some Guys Have All The Luck-Island-WIP 6754-Ex/VG US $4.97 Buy It Now 1h 18m
MARRS PUMP UP THE VOLUME 12" 1987 ISLAND RECORDS US $9.99 [0 bids]
1h 18m
THE B-52's - BEST OF - Dance This Mess Around - Island Records 1990 - EX/EX US $12.46 Buy It Now 1h 19m
Orinoko(12"Vinyl)Island-Postiva/Hope-12TIVDJD165-UK-VG/NM US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Various(Vinyl LP)Soul Of Jamaica-UK-HELP 15-Island-VG/G US $87.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Steve Winwood(Vinyl LP)Back In The High Life-ILPS 9844-Island-E US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Aswad(12"Vinyl)Chasing For The Breeze-Island-12 ISX 160-UK-VG/Ex US $16.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Phil Fearon & Galaxy(12"Vinyl)What Do I Do?-Island-12ENY 510-UK-VG+/VG US $11.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Black Radical MK II(12" Vinyl Promo Ltd Ed)Sign Of The Beast-Island-12MNGDJ 782- US $30.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Bryan Ferry(Vinyl LP)These Foolish Things-Island-ILPS 9249-UK-Ex/Ex US $12.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Orinoko(12"Vinyl X 2)Island-EU-12TIV 165-Positivia-VG/Ex US $15.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Robert Palmer(Vinyl LP)Pride-Island-ILPS 9720-Ex/VG US $21.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Bryan Ferry(Vinyl LP)These Foolish Things-UK-ILPS 9249-Island Re US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Robert Palmer(Vinyl LP)Riptide-Island-ILPS 9801-NM/NM US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Will Downing(Vinyl LP)Come Together as One-Island Records-BRLP 538-Ex/NM US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
Robert Palmer(Vinyl LP)Riptide-UK-ILPS 9801-Island Records-NM/Ex US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
(Vinyl LP)They Call It An Accident-Island-ILPS 9757-US-Ex/NM US $48.99 Buy It Now 1h 20m
ROBERT PALMER Addictions Volume 1 LP Power Station Vinegar Joe / Island '89 US $8.30 Buy It Now 1h 21m
Daniel Bedingfield Gotta Get Thru This (CD, Aug-2002, Island (Label)) US $10.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Gibson Brothers(12" Vinyl)Latin America-Island-12WIP 6659-UK-VG+/VG+ US $16.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Mary J. Blige(12" Vinyl)Love@1st Sight-Universal Island Records-MCST 40338-VG/VG US $12.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
LL Cool J(12"Vinyl)Paradise-UK-PARADISEDJ1-Island Def Jam Music US $15.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Black Uhuru(12"Vinyl)Party Next Door-12IS 133-Island Records-Ne US $17.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Black Buddafly(12" Vinyl)Rock-A-Bye-Russell Simmons Music Group, Island Def Jam US $12.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Vic Reeves(12"Vinyl)Born Free-Island-SIGH 12 10-Ex/Ex US $12.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Toots Hibbert(12"Vinyl)Spiritual Healing-Island-12 IS 129-Ex/VG US $16.99 Buy It Now 1h 22m
Peshay(12"Vinyl)Truly-Blue (Island)-12PFA4-VG/EX US $11.99 Buy It Now 1h 23m
The Christians (12"Vinyl)Whats In A Word-UK-PY122-Island- US $21.99 Buy It Now 1h 23m
David Gilmour- On An Island - 3556952 US $16.84 Buy It Now 1h 24m
BLONDIE 'ISLAND OF LOST SOULS' UK 7" SINGLE US $3.30 Buy It Now 1h 24m
BOWS 'BLUSH (ELLIS ISLAND SOUND MIX)' UK PICTURE SLEEVE 7" SINGLE US $6.63 Buy It Now 1h 25m
Wout Steenhuis(Vinyl LP)Paradise Island-Columbia-TWO 116-UK-Ex/Ex US $16.99 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Steve Winwood(Vinyl LP)Steve Winwood-Island Records-ILPS 9494-UK-Ex/Ex US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Steve Winwood(Vinyl LP)Arc Of A Diver-Island Records-ILPS 9576-Ex/Ex US $13.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
The Springfields(Vinyl LP)Island Of Dreams-Contour-6870-530-UK-Ex+/VG+ US $13.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Steve Winward(Vinyl LP)-Island-ILPS 9494-Ex/Ex US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Steve Winwood(Vinyl LP)Talking Back To The Night-Island Records-ILPS 9777-UK-Ex/ US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Willie Nelson(Vinyl LP)Island In The Sea-CBS-451040-UK-Ex/Ex US $16.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Michael Nesmith(Vinyl LP)From A Radio Engine To The Photon Wing-Island-ILPS 9486 US $16.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Steve Winwood(Vinyl LP)Arc Of A Diver-Island-203 207-Holland-Ex/VG US $13.99 Buy It Now 1h 28m
CLAUDE THORNHILL At Glen Island Casino 1941-MONMOUTH EVERGREEN 7024-LP from '70s US $12.94 Buy It Now 1h 28m
Buckwheat Zydeco - Taking It home - LP Cajun Country Island USA 88 EXC S/Wrapped US $8.30 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Book And Record: Treasure Island US $2.97 Buy It Now 1h 32m
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS-BABYLON BY BUS 1978 ISLAND REC. 2 LP'S 90029-1 NM / EX US $20.00 [0 bids]
US $30.00 Buy It Now
1h 32m
Kid Creole & The Coconuts(Vinyl LP)The Best Of-Island-IMA 13-UK-VG+/VG US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 32m
The Epworth Choir(Vinyl LP)No Man Is An Island-Response-RES 201-UK-VG+/NM US $27.99 Buy It Now 1h 33m
The Kilima Hawaiians(Vinyl LP)Rhythm Of The Island-CBS-63463-UK-VG/NM US $21.99 Buy It Now 1h 33m
DEMIS ROUSSOS 'HAPPY TO BE ON AN ISLAND IN THE SUN' UK 7" SINGLE US $1.64 Buy It Now 1h 37m
Anthrax(Vinyl LP)Spreading The Disease-Island-212 042-Germany-VG+/VG US $30.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Various(Vinyl LP )Put It On-Island-ILP 978-UK-Ex/Ex++ US $129.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Cat Stevens(Vinyl LP Gatefold)Buddha & The Chocolate Box-Island-ILPS9274-UK-VG/E US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Down Here by Tracy Bonham (CD, Mar-2003, Island (Label)) US $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Cat Stevens(Vinyl LP/Pink Rim)Mona Bone Jakon-Island-ILPS 9118-UK-Ex/Ex US $48.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
The Christians(Vinyl LP Gatefold)The Christians-Island-ILPS 9876-UK-Ex/NM US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
U2(Vinyl LP Rare)War-Island-ILPS 9733-Philippines-Ex/Ex US $102.99 Buy It Now 1h 40m
ELTON JOHN 'ISLAND GIRL' US IMPORT 7" SINGLE US $3.30 Buy It Now 1h 41m
Various Artists - Island Presents: Dub NEW CD US $8.39 Buy It Now 1h 46m
Bob Marley Natty Dread Island ILPS-9281 ARCHIVE MASTER Ultrasonic Clean US $44.00 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Turtle Island String Quartet Windham Audiophile ARCHIVE MASTER Ultrasonic Cln US $36.00 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Cat Stevens Mona Bone Jakon 1970 UK Island A+ ARCHIVE MASTER Ultrasonic Clean US $76.00 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Clyde McPhatter(7" Vinyl 1st Issue)Lovey Dovey / My Island Of Dreams-Ex/VG US $21.99 Buy It Now 1h 48m
Various Artists - Island Presents: Lovers Rock NEW CD US $8.39 Buy It Now 1h 48m
INSPIRAL CARPETS 'ISLAND HEAD EP' UK PICTURE SLEEVE 7" EP US $3.30 Buy It Now 1h 50m
UKULELE winter island JAPAN CD DANIEL HO IAN DELL JAMES HILL TAZ VEGAS HAWAII US $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 51m
CD: Cane Sugar - Honey Island Swamp Band - 30/07/13 - Sealed US $18.32 Buy It Now 1h 52m
The Christians(Vinyl LP Gatefold)The Christians-Island-ILPS 9876-UK-Ex/NM US $14.93 Buy It Now 1h 52m
The Sun Is Often Out by Longpigs (CD, Jun-1996, Island (Label)) New, Free Ship US $9.99 Buy It Now 1h 54m
Erroll Garner 7" 45 Record Mood Island /For Once In My US $3.75 Buy It Now 1h 56m
LIAM NEESON 'CONEY ISLAND' UK 7" SINGLE US $16.59 Buy It Now 1h 58m
Survival of the Sickest [PA] by Saliva (CD, Aug-2004, Island (Label)) US $5.99 Buy It Now 1h 58m
ROBERT PALMER - Discipline Of Love - Ex Con 7" Single Island ISG 242 *GATEFOLD* US $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 58m
ROBERT PALMER - Riptide - Excellent Con 7" Single Island ISD 256 *DOUBLE PACK* US $8.29 Buy It Now 1h 58m
ROBERT PALMER - Some Guys Have All The Luck - Ex Con 7" Single Island WIP 6754 US $6.59 Buy It Now 1h 58m
Ta Nisiotika Ton Kontinopouleon (3CD) Greek Traditional Island songs US $29.90 Buy It Now 1h 59m
QUINTESSENCE In Blissful Company UK 1st press pink Island LP in gatefold sleeve US $116.24 Buy It Now 2h
THE FOUR LADS ENCHANTED ISLAND / GUESS WHAT THE NEIGHBOR'S WILL SAY 45 COLUMBIA US $4.00 Buy It Now 2h
Ronnie Lane And Slim Chance - Ooh La La: An Island Harvest NEW CD US $19.25 Buy It Now 2h 3m

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ISLAND shows & tickets


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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 | 101 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 | 6 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 | 101 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

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

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 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

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 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.

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 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!

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 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.

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 Pyrrho by ISLAND album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.08 | 6 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.

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 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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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by ShW1

4 stars No doubt that this album is a serious candidate to the "most complex prog-rock album ever" competition, and could successfully deal with any other complex album of the genre. I don't intend to say that I've heard every highly complex prog album; however this is my personal impression. Actually I struggle with this album for quite a long time, and things are still vague for me. You may relate to this review as an intermediate document, that won't be complete in the foreseen future.

In my opinion, there is couple of reasons for this "vagueness". Some of these may be: Free, unclear structures, a vague tonality, and sometimes a few real dissonant, atonal melodies. From a classical point of view it reminds me the end of the 19 century era, when music where very unclear, before Schoenberg came in and fixed things up with his atonal methods. By the way, according to this, I would classify this album in the RIO/Avant section, rather than any other sub genre.

Add to this, the quite low and whispery vocals from vocalist Benjamin Jäger, and uncompressed vocals in the mix, and you get something not easy to follow.

That isn't to say that the music is bad or unsatisfied. On the contrary, the music is emotional, atmospheric and haunting. This is not the 'complexity for its own sake' case, or 'too technical, unemotional music'. The opposite may be true.

The musicianship is very high: excellent drumming, Jazzy and punchy, from Güge Jürg Meier, soft, airy Saxes and woodwinds from René Fisch, and simultaneously exquisite and dramatic vocals from Benjamin Jäger. And above all is Peter Scherer, the main composer, keyboardist, and also responsible for the bass lines which provide by pedal-bass and maybe some other equipments, and done in a very peculiar, 'keyboardist' way. (Think of the Doors bass lines, but much more elaborate). As noted in other reviews, no guitars and bass here, which just add originality to this album, and characterize a unique, airy sound.

I'll try to do a brief pass on the album tracks, in order to clear things up (at least, for me):

1 - 'Introduction': an intro which presents unique sounds and vocals, in claustrophobic atmosphere, which soon comes to...

2 - An upbeat motif that opens 'Zero', an instrumental, jazzy track. The light motif soon converts with darker, long, very complex, and beautiful motif. It's hard to classify this section, maybe it relate to free jazz, but I'm far from being a jazz expert, so its just an assumption. Anyway, do not expect ordinary jazz here. After this section, the track goes back to a lighter mood, which ends with reprise to the first theme.

3 - 'Pictures', which contain the most songy, beautiful melody. It sounds medieval - renaissance, accompanied by harpsichord - like sounds, that emphasize the medieval atmosphere. But the 'comfortable' song structure is not remaining for too long: Soon this evolves into the first very vague environment in this album. As in the previous track, this is not exactly jazz improvisation on an attend theme. In fact, there is a relation to a theme, but it takes numerous listens to get it. After this section, come a sung part and a reprise to the first song.

This is probably the end of side one of the vinyl version, (I got the CD addition, not the original vinyl), so better take a break or a deep breath towards the next track.

4 - 'Herold and King (Dloreh)' is a highly complex track, featuring vocals that comes and goes, some atonal melodies, vague structure, and long and complicate passages. If you give up on catch some melodies and try to concentrate in the atmosphere - well there is a lot. Wonderful moods between quite and agitated, in overall darkness. The climax IMO is the place where the vocalists sing or yell dramatically, in reversed English (Which comes along with the 'real' English sentences). This is very unique.

5 - And then comes the last track - 'Here and now'. I must confess: after dealing with 'Dloreh' that comes after not-so-easy tracks I have not enough patience to deal with this one. I've tried to listen to it separately, but it didn't work much better for me. As in the previous tracks, this track features complicate jazzy elements, difficult melodies, and free and vague structures. The atmosphere is a little bit more light and optimistic than before.

In all, this album is recommended for those who are willing to check their own boundaries, in terms of complexity and elaboration. Again, the complexity does not come before the music, which is kept beautiful and emotional. A special record that will require your full attention.

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 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.12 | 101 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Hailing from Switzerland, Island a band that brought out an important effort to the prog genre from the obscurity that typically signals "cult bands" or "collector's item" bands. Island is one of the most lauded Swiss bands in prog circles, and quite rightly so - their "Pictures" album is a beautiful example of how well can complexity, density and extravagant humor be combined when a genuine musical intelligence is in command. The chaotic solemnity of the intro piece, precisely entitled 'Introduction', states an exercise on Dadaistic dementia abruptly giving way to 'Zero', the instrumental that properly opens up the album's overall mood. This piece is highly dynamic, with Scherer's keyboards and Meier's drums stating a peculiar combination of Wigwam and "Volume 2"-era Soft Machine, while Fisch's playful sax lines sound like something out of a Hatfield album. When the transition to a slower, denser interlude occurs, the band delivers a sort of closeness to VdGG and "Lizard"-era King Crimson. Such a pity that this interlude is so short, but of course, the return of the initial motif has to be welcomed, too. At this point, even when lead singer Benjamin Jäger hasn't gotten the chance to go beyond additional percussion duties, the receptive listener can only but feel captivated by the way in which the band creates real rocking energy through the intricate explorations comprised in their compositions. The title track, which lasts almost 17 minutes, is the first sung number in the album. The track's ambiences and melodic grooves easily bring to mind references to VdGG, Matching Mole and Wigwam. There are moments that might as well remind us of the Canterbury-friendly seminal age of Henry Cow as well as Zappa, with a weirdness that is quite effective in both appeal and mystery. The long instrumental interlude delivers a very rich set of melodic developments and textures that bring Magma, Hatfield and Gentle Giant to mind: the instrumentalists clearly have a deep knowledge of the genre's most defying purveyors, as well as the sort of sound that their ambitious projections aim at. The last section starts with a fusion-related mellow passage that ultimately leads to a reprise of the opening section's main body: the final motif is quite catchy, bearing a cleverly constrained (albeit obvious) energy. This band's compositional approach is really uncompromising. The album's second half begins with 'Herold and King / Dloreh'. The opening section is a soft, dissonantly driven piano solo. Once it is over, a psychedelic crescendo builds a set of spacey moods that serve as a bridge to the extravagant main body. Variations go on and on, including bizarre vocalizations that mix the jazz-meets-Baroque syncopations of GG and the humoresque vibe of Zappa. The most recognizable instrumental intersections recurrently bear the influences from VdGG, Hatfield and Wigwam (by now, the usual suspects), only Island provides the whole sonic framework a Gothic tonality that enhances the sinister potentiality already present in the compositional structure. 'Here and Now', as well as the preceding track, lasts 12+ minutes. Its overall mood is more extroverted in comparison, yet the dark vibe and extravagant attitude remain solid and unchanging. Some organ layers sound creepy, almost like those on the 'Carnival of Souls' movie. There is also a lyrical passage that evidently reveals a clear melodic structure, but the general arrangement of it is gloomy enough as to make sense within the song's general development: this is something that Fripp had learn to perfect in that KC underrated masterpiece called "Lizard". Island's approach, in comparison, has a rougher edge and lesser leanings to orchestral schemes. Near the end, things spice up quite nicely in a Canterbury sort of way: the climax proves effective, stating a more extroverted approach than the one that closured the title track. The CD edition includes a bonus track that dates back from an earlier time. 'Empty Bottles' lasts 23 ½ minutes and it is, indeed, the most jazz-driven piece in this item. Its structure is heavily based on the way that the ongoing jamming emerges from the interactions among the musicians. Being less aggressive than any of the tracks in the official album, it sounds less like Wigwam or VdGG and more like classic Supersister. The layout of various motifs in a fluid sequence receives a large amount of strength from the presence of a real bass guitar player at this point of Island's history. Of course, the listener who has been very impressed, while capable of appreciating the good musicianship displayed in 'Empty Bottles', will miss the special intricacy that Island managed to recreate from an original treatment of varied influences. All in all, "Pictures" is an absolute gem of the prog genre and a must for all collectors who love their prog very enriched with psychedelic grooves, jazzy cadences and an unabashed gusto for complexity. Island has

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