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Colin Masson - Isle Of Eight CD (album) cover

ISLE OF EIGHT

Colin Masson

 

Crossover Prog

3.59 | 32 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I finally hunted down this intriguing and elusive release from The Morrigan's lead guitarist , perplexed by the positive comments from my fellow reviewers Erik and Paco that had annointed this work with some hefty praise. Something in my prog gut told me to follow my detective musical instincts and corner this felon. I am happy to announce that, while I do occasionally land on a dud (which I promptly return to my Prog-store and exchange), I was on the right track- no pun intended. Yes, there are some overt Oldfieldian influences , more akin to his earlier years than his recent techno-drenched stuff, with all the usual suspects: long tracks, a 95% one man show on an extensive arsenal of instruments , a strong British Isles Celtic aroma, upstaged here with a galleon-naval voyage theme. Fellow Morrigan Cathy Alexander adds her disctinctive vocals and odd keyboards, sounding less Haslam and more Jon Anderson. Let's state right away that Colin's guitar style is way more energetic and rockier on the electric axe & the arrangements are less overproduced , keeping things grittier. From the opening crashing waves of salty sea water against the planks, the acoustic guitars meshing nicely with recorders , you settle back with your bottle of port and expect a momentous musical trip. Being a sucker for medieval music , the Sir Francis Drake era snippets are most alluring , especially when alternating with the more bombastic fiery moments. 10 minutes in, the opening piece's main melody is boldly highlighted by a lusty lead guitar , just before the vocals kick in majestically. What a ride, matey! "Total Eclipse" is another extended piece, starting off with a Tull-like acoustic intro , loaded with melancholy in a very medieval setting, sliced open by a lead guitar more Barre than Oldfield, with a little trombone interlude to keep you guessing , slowly building into another colourful explosion , beaconed by some elegant piano. The final ten minutes are a pure delight , contrasting the gentle acoustic themes with more "howling" (Erik's favourite term) lead guitar tempests , an electric gale ripping through the sails. The final track serves up more of the same, bringing this record into harbour, safe, sound and weatherbeaten. Fans of Five Miles Out and QE2 era Oldfield will enjoy this immensely and while by no means an out and out classic, it will offer countless pleasant returns. 4 seagulls
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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