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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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Buy ISLAND Music

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Treasure Island Junior Classics USD $6.95 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist Turtle Island CD USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Diwan by Rachid Taha (CD, Jun-1998, Island (Label)) USD $4.48 Buy It Now
Homegrown Band Island Style CD USD $3.95 Buy It Now
Montell Jordan This Is How We Do It (Todd Terry Remixes) 12" Island 199512DEF 7 USD $13.82 Buy It Now
Roxy Music vinyl LP album record Siren - EX UK ILPS9344 ISLAND 1975 USD $23.82 Buy It Now
Various Artists Island Christmas CD USD $5.35 Buy It Now
Yerba Buena : Island Life [Us Import] CD (2005) USD $4.98 Buy It Now
Florence + The Machine Lungs UK 2 CD album (Double CD) 2709089 ISLAND Sealed USD $40.84 Buy It Now
P.J. Harvey CD album (CDLP) A Woman A Man Walked By UK 1796236 ISLAND Sealed USD $28.27 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist Gtar Island CD USD $3.83 Buy It Now
Jay Sean - Neon (CD, 2013, Island) Music Album USD $6.05 Buy It Now
BRIAN ENO Before and After Science ISLAND LP Island ILPS-9478 EX/NM roxy music ! USD $69.00 Buy It Now
Various Artists Classic Island Christmas CD USD $4.10 Buy It Now
Elephant Island Audio CD USD $23.13 Buy It Now
Stereo MC's Creation CD single (CD5 / 5") UK BRCD276 ISLAND 1992 USD $13.82 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist Island Of The Sun CD USD $3.95 Buy It Now
The Plantz: Mannequins, Obscure 1980 Long Island New Wave on Black Key Recs. USD $13.20 Buy It Now
Orb Toxygene - Part 1 - Box CD single (CD5 / 5") UK CID652 ISLAND 1997 USD $12.56 Buy It Now
Trick Of The Light Triffids (80s) 3" CD single (CD3) UK CIDX350 ISLAND 1988 USD $28.27 Buy It Now
U2 Achtung Baby Japanese CD album (CDLP) PSCD-1170 ISLAND 1991 USD $47.13 Buy It Now
Morcheeba The Music That We Hear (Moog Island) CD USD $4.98 Buy It Now
Bob Marley and the Wailers Cassette Tape 1984 Island The Best of Tuff Gong USD $2.79 Buy It Now
Julian Cope 7" vinyl single record Charlotte Anne UK IS380 ISLAND 1988 USD $13.77 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist Island Days CD USD $3.83 Buy It Now
Doug Mcmaster & Sandy - Island Of Peace [CD New] USD $13.99 Buy It Now
Pulp Help The Aged CD single (CD5 / 5") UK CIDT679 ISLAND 1997 USD $11.93 Buy It Now
Bob Marley & The Wailers - "Live!" 2015 Release Island Records New Sealed LP USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Christmas Island - Jimmy Buffett Compact Disc USD $9.43 Buy It Now
Manu Dibango/Afrovision/Promo/Island-ILPS 9526-1976-78/33 1/3 LP/FUNK USD $16.99 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist Island of Love CD USD $3.83 Buy It Now
Various Artists : Agia Napa - Fantasy Island (2CDs) (2001) USD $5.49 Buy It Now
U2 - The Unforgettable Fire LP VG+ 90231-1 Stereo Island 1984 Vinyl Record USD $18.75 Buy It Now
Ellis Island Sound : Ellis Island Sound CD (2002) USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Black Island (instrumental) Cuba UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) TAD9003 4AD USD $16.27 Buy It Now
Yours Truly by Ariana Grande (CD, Sep-2013, Island (Label)) USD $13.23 Buy It Now
1 cent CD Ceremonials by Florence + the Machine (CD, Nov-2011, Island (Label)) USD $0.01 [1 bids]
U2 War ORIG 12" 33RPM LP New Wave Rock NM! Island USD $7.50 [3 bids]
U2 October French vinyl LP album record 6313247 ISLAND 1981 USD $48.96 Buy It Now
Kevin McDermott Healing At The Harbour UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CID437 ISLAND USD $11.93 Buy It Now
Trouble Funk Trouble UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) 12BRW74 ISLAND 1987 USD $16.90 Buy It Now
Christians CD single (CD5 / 5") What's In A Word UK CID536 ISLAND 1992 USD $12.18 Buy It Now
Kevin McDermott Wheels Of Wonder CD single (CD5 / 5") UK CID456 ISLAND 1990 USD $11.93 Buy It Now
49ers Don't You Love Me UK 7" vinyl single record BRW167 ISLAND 1990 USD $12.50 Buy It Now
Anthrax 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) Anti-Social UK 12IS409 ISLAND 1989 USD $15.01 Buy It Now
Persistence of Time by Anthrax (CD, Mar-1994, Island (Label)) USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Judy Mowatt vinyl LP album record Black Woman UK ILPS9649 ISLAND 1980 USD $23.82 Buy It Now
Chikinki Ether Radio - Red Vinyl UK 7" vinyl single record IS860 ISLAND 2004 USD $12.50 Buy It Now
Stereo MC's 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) Ground Level UK 12BRW268 ISLAND USD $13.75 Buy It Now
Puressence All I Want CD single (CD5 / 5") UK CID722 ISLAND 1998 USD $11.93 Buy It Now
Puressence This Feeling UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CIDX688/572 ISLAND 1998 USD $11.93 Buy It Now
Pulp 2-CD single (Double CD single) A Little Soul UK CID/X708 ISLAND 1998 USD $22.18 Buy It Now
Lodger 2-CD single (Double CD single) Always Round Here UK CID/X704572 ISLAND USD $12.12 Buy It Now
Make Me Laugh Anthrax UK 12" vinyl picture disc record 12ISP379 ISLAND 1988 USD $15.97 Buy It Now
Tracy Bonham Sharks Can't Sleep UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CID651/854836-2 ISLAND USD $11.93 Buy It Now
Robert Palmer You Can Have It 7" vinyl picture disc single UK ISP121 ISLAND USD $13.75 Buy It Now
Bob Marley 7" vinyl single record Waiting In Vain UK IS180 ISLAND 1984 USD $16.27 Buy It Now
U2 Under A Blood Red Sky - 1st Portugese vinyl LP album record IMA3P ISLAND USD $42.68 Buy It Now
U2 Under A Blood Red Sky vinyl LP album record Brazilian 604.7149 ISLAND 1985 USD $36.39 Buy It Now
Anthrax Bring The Noise 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) UK 12IS490 ISLAND 1991 USD $20.05 Buy It Now
U2 7" vinyl single record A Celebration - P/S UK WIP6770 ISLAND 1982 USD $47.71 Buy It Now
Anthrax Live: The Island Years by Anthrax (CD, Jun-1994, Island Records) USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Robert Palmer Discipline Of Love 7" vinyl single record UK IS242 ISLAND 1983 USD $12.50 Buy It Now
Easter Island Kris Kristofferson USA vinyl LP album record 35310 MONUMENT 1978 USD $17.54 Buy It Now
Bryan Ferry vinyl LP album record These Foolish Things UK ILPS9249 ISLAND 1973 USD $15.02 Buy It Now
Island Jazz Quintet Who Knows CD USD $3.71 Buy It Now
Keep It Together David Grant UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) 12BRX169 ISLAND USD $9.98 Buy It Now
Melissa Etheridge The Angels CD single (CD5 / 5") USA 99138-2 ISL USD $23.24 Buy It Now
Christians CD album (CDLP) The Christians UK CID9876 ISLAND 1987 USD $30.80 Buy It Now
Renaissance vinyl LP album record Renaissance - 1st - EX UK ILPS9114 ISLAND USD $61.54 Buy It Now
Will Downing In My Dreams UK 7" vinyl single record BRW-104 ISLAND 1988 USD $11.87 Buy It Now
Melissa Etheridge The Angels UK 7" vinyl single record IS440 ISLAND 1989 USD $13.75 Buy It Now
Tom Reynolds Island Memories CD USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Island Of Peace - Doug & Sandy Mcmaster (2003, CD New) USD $18.08 Buy It Now
Giuseppe Del Vento - Musica Romantica LP Riccardo's Long Island Autographed USD $14.29 Buy It Now
Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits (CD, 1989 Island Records) Trombones USD $4.38 Buy It Now
"White Lilies ISland" Natalie Imbruglia; 2001 CD USD $4.53 Buy It Now
U2-New Year's Day-4 Track Euro Austria CD Single-Blue Island Logo-Slim Line Case USD $18.98 Buy It Now
B-52s Future Generation 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) UK 12IS107 ISLAND 1983 USD $17.54 Buy It Now
With Or Without You U2 UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CID319 ISLAND 1987 USD $15.70 Buy It Now
Unkle Eye For An Eye UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CID826/980849-7 ISLAND RECORDS USD $17.91 Buy It Now
Bob Marley Stand Up Jamrock UK CD single (CD5 / 5") TGXCD17 ISLAND 2005 USD $9.42 Buy It Now
Robert Palmer Clues vinyl LP album record UK ILPS9595 ISLAND 1980 USD $20.05 Buy It Now
Easy - Part One Sugababes CD single (CD5 / 5") UK 1712313 ISLAND 2006 USD $11.93 Buy It Now
Bob Marley CD single (CD5 / 5") Sun Is Shining UK TGXCD15 ISLAND 2005 USD $9.42 Buy It Now
Aswad Next To You UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CIDM753 ISLAND 1990 USD $14.70 Buy It Now
Live! + Poster Bob Marley UK vinyl LP album record ILPS9376 ISLAND 1975 USD $48.96 Buy It Now
XX Teens : Welcome to Goon Island CD (2008) USD $4.86 Buy It Now
Traffic When The Eagle Flies vinyl LP album record UK ILPS9273 ISLAND 1974 USD $48.96 Buy It Now
Morris On Morris On - Blue Label vinyl LP album record UK IRSP6 ISLAND USD $18.79 Buy It Now
Shriekback Get Down Tonight UK 7" vinyl single record IS343 ISLAND 1988 USD $12.50 Buy It Now
Nine Black Alps Burn Faster UK 7" vinyl single record 1741648 ISLAND 2007 USD $9.98 Buy It Now
Herb Alpert Coney Island vinyl LP album record USA SP-4521 A&M 1975 USD $17.54 Buy It Now
Candles Alex Reece CD single (CD5 / 5") UK BRCD333/854675-2 ISLAND 1996 USD $12.56 Buy It Now
I Don't Mind At All Bourgeois Tagg UK CD single (CD5 / 5") CID353 ISLAND 1987 USD $12.56 Buy It Now

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ISLAND discography

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

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

4.13 | 127 ratings

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)

3.07 | 8 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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, and inhumanly intricate. The music is keyboard-heavy with saxophone touches, a la Van der Graaf, and is primarily instrumental. There are some English vocals, but they're unconventional to say the least. As in, singing backwards, and waxing poetic about gastric juices. Many reviewers are quick to note heavy influences from other eclectic and jazz-based prog 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, as the music is often very dense and technical, but with each listen you slowly begin to appreciate it more and more. Having said that, this seems to be an album that you put on for the experience, not necessarily for the music.

While there are truly riveting, and frankly haunting, 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 something a little (read: a lot) different. While I would normally assign a high rating to music as interesting and original as this, I feel that 3 stars does "Pictures" justice not only because I find (even after repeated listens) that many of the instrumental passages overstay their welcome, but also due to the incredibly niche appeal of the album. So if you like your prog headspinningly kinky (Mmmm - gastric juices, anyone?), then this should be right up your alley.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 127 ratings

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, for being able to share our love of this musical miracle, Progressive Rock.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 127 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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
3.07 | 8 ratings

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
4.13 | 127 ratings

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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