Island - Pictures

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Island - Pictures

Postby diddy » Tue Sep 21, 2004 11:03 am

ISLAND - Pictures
Review by diddy @ 12:12:12 PM EST, 8/11/2004
— „One of the most enthusing albums in general”, “Unbelievable how this masterpiece could have been forgotten over the years” or “I’m truly happy to know this album” are the first thoughts coming to my mind thinking about “Pictures” by ISLAND. Well, I remember my first thoughts as I heard that the band is from Switzerland: Switzerland? I don’t know a single (prog) band from there. Nevertheless, the cover attracted me in an instant and I gave them a chance (fortunately). Everybody can imagine who painted the cover...indeed, it was H.R. Giger, who also did the famous “Brain Salad Surgery” cover for ELP.
The Style is not easy to explain, at least it’s not easy to imagine how it could sound like. Maybe it goes like this: Just imagine a blend of Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator and even some Brand X and Free Jazz influences. Dominating part of their music are weird Saxophone and quite insane percussion work. The overall picture provides a totally unique sound which can be described as mind-blowing, yes certainly :roll: . This album moved me like not many albums did before.

The four guys from Switzerland really offer prog rock at it’s very best. The “Introduction” causes an atmosphere which is slightly reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. It’s made of percussion-breakouts, gongs, and weird saxophone, one of the best prologues I know, hilarious and attention-grabbing. With “Zero” follows a tune which finally gets you into this album (yes so early). It’s an instrumental which reminds me of Gentle Giant and Brand X at the same time. Again, the percussion is the dominating element. I also want to mention the tremendous so called walking-bass in the middle section. ISLAND’s music has a jazzy approach which is caused mainly by the Saxophone, flute and clarinet. “Zero” is a really terrific instrumental and alone worth buying the album. “Pictures” is the masterpiece of the album. Gentle Giant like vocals, melody lines like the early Genesis but because of the free jazz approach totally different and unique. It’s also important to mention the nice clarinet solo in the middle of the song as well as the perfect rhythm section. The fragile vocals of Benjamin Meier append a mysterious coloration to the general sound, lovely. “Herold and King”, the song you can download, also has the right to be called masterpiece. A marvellous piano introduction introduces the song which is in general much queerer than all other songs of this album. Percussion attacks and backwards sung lyrics really grab hold of you. “Here and now” is the last song of the original LP. I really like the vocals and the long instrumental parts which are again a blend of Gentle Giant and some Fusion…every time the Saxophone appears you also can hear some VdGG…but I said it before, due to the free jazz approach the whole sound is totally new and can’t really be compared to any of the named bands. “Empty Bottles” is a bonus track of the CD-Reissue. It’s a mammoth track recorded some time in the studio. According to the sound maybe during a jam session.

For me “Pictures” is one of the most enthusing prog releases. I’d like to think that everybody who doesn’t know this album really missed something. Every proghead should have heard this one. It provides a sound I never heard before and which can’t be compared to any other prog band because it’s a blend of so many different influences, genres and styles. So if there’s an album I would recommend without concern to EVERY prog fan, with no importance of his favourite style, this would be the one. If you have the chance to get a copy, don’t wait, it’s far from being wasted money. More than Highly recommended.

:!: I reviewed some more albums...all of my reviews (If you can stand my english :wink: ) can be found here:
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear...
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