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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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STARCLUB, HARD TO GET / ONLY WOMAN. ORIGINAL 1992 ISLAND SINGLE USD $1.55 [0 bids]
1h 29m
THE CHRISTIANS, HARVEST FOR THE WORLD / SMALL AXE. ORIGINAL 1988 ISLAND SINGLE USD $1.55 [0 bids]
1h 29m
CAT STEVENS "Catch Bull At Four" Island 86372 Excellent Vinyl LP Rock Gatefold USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1h 29m
E=MC² by Mariah Carey (CD, Apr-2008, Island) USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Uriah Heep Demons and Wizards Pink Rim Island Pressing LP Record USD $59.95 Buy It Now 1h 31m
DEEP NY HOUSE 12" Vil-N-X-give ya luv show ya luv ISLAND NOYZE;RARE;MINT;LISTEN! USD $16.61 [3 bids]
1h 33m
BRYAN FERRY. " EXTENDED PLAY " ISLAND UK 1976 7" E.P. P/S . USD $7.81 Buy It Now 1h 36m
Bon Jovi - This Left Feels Right (CD, Nov-2003, Island (Label) USD $5.79 Buy It Now 1h 37m
JULIAN COPE Charlotte Anne 12" pic disc Island 1988 vgc USD $2.80 [0 bids]
1h 37m
The B-52's Wig 12" Island 1988 3trs exc RARE USD $2.64 [0 bids]
1h 38m
EDDIE QUANSAH "Che Che Kule" UK 1977 Island USD $6.24 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Sounds from Rikers Island: Elmo Hope Ensemble Vinyl LP Record.Ronald Boykins, Fr USD $99.00 Buy It Now 1h 41m
Depeche Mode-A Question Of Lust/Christmas Island / People- 6 Trk cd w. Rmxs-Rare USD $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 41m
I Am an Elastic Firecracker by Tripping Daisy (CD, 1995, Island) BRAND NEW! USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1h 43m
No Need to Argue by The Cranberries (CD, Oct-1994, Island (Label)) USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1h 46m
Robert Palmer "Maybe It's Live" Island Records ILPS 9665 Vinyl LP - VG+ USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1h 48m
ISLAND PARTY CD CALYPSO REGGAE STEEL DRUMS SOCA + Jimmy Buffett Beach Boys tunes USD $13.97 Buy It Now 1h 48m
Alexei RYBNIKOV "Treasure Island" Russian OST 1971 EP Melodiya RIGA ???????? USD $22.90 Buy It Now 1h 49m
Your Little Secret by Melissa Etheridge (CD, Nov-1995, Island (Label)) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
USD $1.99 Buy It Now
1h 52m
Burn It Black [PA] [Digipak] [Limited] by Injected (CD, Feb-2002, Island... USD $0.99 [0 bids]
USD $1.99 Buy It Now
1h 52m
THE WATERBOYS This Is The Sea +inner sleeve ISLAND 1985 FREE UK POST USD $18.15 Buy It Now 1h 53m
Hawaiian Island Music SEAN NA'AUAO Neutralize It CD vgc USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 53m
JAY FERGUSON THUNDER ISLAND TEST PRESSING LP USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1h 56m
THE CRANBERRIES Dreams cassingle Island 1992 exc USD $3.13 Buy It Now 1h 57m
CD Pound 'Same Old Life' 1990s rock on Island 1999 SEALED USD $0.01 [0 bids]
1h 58m
PETE WINGFIELD Eighteen With a Bullet/Shadow Of a Doubt 45 RPM 7" Island 1975 USD $6.50 Buy It Now 2h
U2 Rattle & Hum cassette Island 1988 exc USD $4.69 Buy It Now 2h
U2 Achtung Baby cassette Island 1991 exc USD $4.69 Buy It Now 2h
ISLAND REGGAE ANTHOLOGY: WAR INNA BABYLON / VAR NEW CD USD $40.28 Buy It Now 2h
You Are Everything by Dru Hill (CD Single, Jun-1999, Island (Label)) USD $9.99 [0 bids]
2h
Completely Free Free UK vinyl LP album record ILPS9719 ISLAND 1982 USD $1.55 [0 bids]
2h 4m
TRAFFIC BEST OF TRAFFIC (PINK LABEL) LP ON PINK ISLAND LABEL (RECORD IS VG) UK USD $50.06 Buy It Now 2h 6m
Robert Palmer Addictions Volume 1 Island Label New CD USD $3.00 [0 bids]
USD $5.50 Buy It Now
2h 6m
The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game Grace Jones Island IS 49531 USD $2.97 [0 bids]
USD $3.87 Buy It Now
2h 7m
VINEGAR JOE 1972 UK ISLAND 1st PRESS USD $165.00 Buy It Now 2h 9m
KING CRIMSON CAT FOOD / GROON 1970 PINK ISLAND UK PIC SLEEVE 45 UNPLAYED MINT USD $150.00 Buy It Now 2h 9m
Drew's Famous HOT SUMMER FUN PARTY MUSIC: ISLAND BEACH BBQ & POOL PARTY SONGS CD USD $7.95 Buy It Now 2h 9m
Spreading the Disease by Anthrax (CD, Island (Label)) USD $0.99 [1 bids]
2h 10m
FREE 2for1 OFFER-Emerson, Lake & Palmer-Tarkus-Island Records-Cotilli SD9040 /LP USD $19.98 Buy It Now 2h 10m
Elements - Island Anthology, Jade Warrior, Good Import USD $29.46 Buy It Now 2h 10m
Mr. Happy Go Lucky by John Mellencamp (CD, Sep-1996, Island/Mercury) USD $3.75 Buy It Now 2h 11m
TRAFFIC WHEN THE EAGLE FLIES 1974 NEW ZEALAND PINK RIM ISLAND L35307 CUST INNER USD $39.10 Buy It Now 2h 12m
A City by the Light Divided by Thursday (CD, May-2006, Island (Label)) Very Good USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 13m
folk record THE CHIEFTAINS 5 island 9334 dublin GPO postman JOHN MONTAGUE music USD $12.12 [0 bids]
USD $16.16 Buy It Now
2h 15m
CD FUNKY CHOAD FEAT NICK SKITZ THE ULTIMATE Fire Island Records 1998 3 TRACKS MR USD $6.21 Buy It Now 2h 16m
MOTT THE HOOPLE LP UK ORIG BRAIN CAPERS FEATURING THE KIDS INNER PINK RIM ISLAND USD $7.81 [1 bids]
2h 18m
Achtung Baby by U2 (CD, Oct-1991, Island) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
USD $1.99 Buy It Now
2h 20m
Y KANT TORI READ "COOL ON YOUR ISLAND / SAME" 45w/PS PROMO MINT TORI AMOS USD $27.50 Buy It Now 2h 22m
The Unforgettable Fire by U2 (CD, 1984, Island (Label)) USD $0.01 [0 bids]
2h 22m
ROXY MUSIC STRANDED LP 1973 1ST UK EX/N MINT A1/B1 ISLAND PINK RIM BRYAN FERRY USD $13.30 [0 bids]
2h 23m
FREE - ALL RIGHT NOW - 7" VINYL 1970 ISLAND PINK LABEL USD $5.30 Buy It Now 2h 23m
FREE - ALL RIGHT NOW - 7" VINYL 1970 ISLAND USD $5.15 Buy It Now 2h 23m
ASWAD - DON'T TURN AROUND - 7" VINYL 1988 ISLAND USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2h 23m
American Hi-Fi [PA] by American Hi-Fi (CD, Feb-2001, Island (Label)) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
USD $3.50 Buy It Now
2h 23m
ASWAD - DON'T TURN AROUND - 7" VINYL 1988 ISLAND USD $4.83 Buy It Now 2h 23m
ASWAD - THREE BABYLON - 7" VINYL 1976 ISLAND RARE USD $26.58 Buy It Now 2h 23m
THE CRAMPS fiends of dope island RED VINYL LP psychobilly punk rock USD $65.00 Buy It Now 2h 23m
BITS & PIECES - DON'T STOP THE MUSIC - 7" VINYL 1981 ISLAND USD $10.47 Buy It Now 2h 23m
CAT STEVENS - THE HURT - 7" VINYL 1973 ISLAND USD $7.34 Buy It Now 2h 23m
GIBSON BROTHERS - CUBA - 7" VINYL 1978 ISLAND USD $4.83 Buy It Now 2h 23m
GIBSON BROTHERS - QUE SERA MI VIDA (IF YOU SHOULD GO) - 7" VINYL 1979 ISLAND USD $4.68 Buy It Now 2h 23m
BOBBY BLOOM - ISLAND - SAME - 1973 WLP - NORTHERN SOULN - EX VINYL USD $9.99 [0 bids]
2h 23m
BLONDIE - Island of lost souls -1982 UK 7" USD $5.48 Buy It Now 2h 25m
Love Songs by Elton John (CD, 1996, Island/Mercury) Mint + Fast Free Shipping! USD $4.99 [0 bids]
USD $6.99 Buy It Now
2h 27m
Island CD lot - Herb Ohta Calypsoul70 Roots Stems Branches Tell USD $9.99 [0 bids]
USD $14.99 Buy It Now
2h 27m
Kid Creole And The Coconuts ?- Stool Pigeon (Special Ze/Island Remix)_Bargain USD $1.56 [0 bids]
2h 28m
ROXY MUSIC SIREN LP ISLAND ISSUE WITH PICTURE LABELS UK USD $21.90 Buy It Now 2h 29m
U2 LIVE Under A Blood Red Sky 1983 ISLAND CLASSIC ROCK MINI LP USD $14.00 Buy It Now 2h 29m
'69 ISLAND NORTHERN SOUL LP JACKIE EDWARDS PUT YOUR TEARS AWAY ? USD $70.00 Buy It Now 2h 29m
Best of Brook Benton [Mercury] by Brook Benton (CD, Jul-1987, Island/Mercury) USD $2.99 [0 bids]
2h 33m
RIVERBOAT RAMBLERS Wolverine Blues / Coney Island Washboard 45 CUCA USD $12.00 Buy It Now 2h 34m
WYNDER K. FROG Out Of The Frying Pan UK Pink Island MOD Organ LP Psych Prog Soul USD $101.69 [0 bids]
USD $143.93 Buy It Now
2h 36m
Don't ask my neighbours/Jam down rocker 45 by Sheila Hylton UK Island USD $4.68 [0 bids]
2h 36m
DEEP NY HOUSE 12" Vil-N-X w/ Jacqui Gray-de jah voo ISLAND NOYZE;RARE;MINT;HEAR! USD $31.00 [3 bids]
2h 37m
TONY ALESS Long Island Suite J J Johnson Kai Winding Nick Travis Roost LP USD $44.97 Buy It Now 2h 38m
J GEILS BAND VINYL monkey island Record PROMO LP ships us free VG surrender I DO USD $18.00 Buy It Now 2h 39m
To the Faithful Departed by The Cranberries (CD, Apr-1996, Island (Label)) USD $1.99 [0 bids]
2h 39m
VARIOUS ROCK YOU CAN ALL JOIN IN LP CLASSIC PINK ISLAND LABEL SAMPLER (HAS SOME USD $18.77 Buy It Now 2h 40m
Traffic-Island LP-Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory-Nice Disc USD $7.95 Buy It Now 2h 40m
Leo Addeo RCA Calypso Island record Calypsoes Trinidad Tobago trinibago LP USD $24.95 Buy It Now 2h 43m
U2 UK double 7" 45 UNFORGETTABLE FIRE w/gatefold sleeve, 5 songs on Island, '85 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2h 43m
Last Party by Various Artists (CD, Apr-1997, Island (Label)) USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2h 44m
VARIOUS ISLAND RECORDS ISLAND STORY LP DOUBLE ALBUM IN G/FOLD COVER WITH SOME OF USD $18.77 Buy It Now 2h 45m
JIMMY CLIFF WILD WORLD/BE AWARE DUTCH PICTURE ISLAND PINK 6014 024 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2h 47m
The Very Best of Desert Island Discs BBC 3 CD Set Classical USD $3.11 [0 bids]
2h 47m
LP LAWRENCE WELK SONGS OF THE ISLAND DOT DLP 3251 VG++ USD $3.99 [0 bids]
2h 48m
Calvary Chapel Merritt Island - Christmas Collection, Vol. 1 CD 1997 Footstep USD $0.99 [0 bids]
2h 50m
Jimmy Buffett - Christmas Island CD 1996 MCA * MINT * USD $0.99 [1 bids]
2h 50m
Yes I Am by Melissa Etheridge (CD, 1993, Island Label) FREE SHIPPING - GIFT IDEA USD $4.97 Buy It Now 2h 51m
Tony Beanett Because Of You - In The Middle of an Island From Rags To Riches USD $2.97 [0 bids]
USD $3.87 Buy It Now
2h 52m
Deodato Love Island Warner Bros BSK 3132 USD $2.97 [0 bids]
USD $3.87 Buy It Now
2h 53m
Skiffle 45 - Lonnie Donegan - Rock Island Line / John Henry - 1956 USD $1.99 [0 bids]
2h 54m
SPRINGFIELDS ISLAND OF DREAMS LP EARLY 1970'S ISSUE OF TRACKS FROM 1962-1963 UK USD $15.65 Buy It Now 2h 55m
Junie Morrison SEALED LP Evacuate Your Seats Island 901911 Funkadelic P Funk USD $17.95 [0 bids]
2h 56m
Flying Island Original SEALED LP 1975 Vanguard VSD 79359 US Press Prog Psych USD $14.95 [0 bids]
2h 56m
Achtung Baby by U2 (CD, Oct-1991, Island) USD $3.95 [0 bids]
2h 56m
From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy (CD, May-2005, Island (Label)) USD $4.00 Buy It Now 2h 57m
Even Better Than the Real Thing [Maxi Single] by U2 (CD, Jul-1992, Island (La... USD $3.95 [0 bids]
2h 57m
October by U2 (CD, Jun-1990, Island (Label)) USD $3.95 [0 bids]
2h 57m
Pop by U2 (CD, Mar-1997, Island (Label)) USD $3.95 [0 bids]
2h 58m


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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)

4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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
4.15 | 96 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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