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ISLAND

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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United by Fate by Rival Schools (CD, Aug-2001, Island (Label)) USD $1.79 [0 bids]
1h 29m
GOOMBAY DANCE BAND sun of jamaica island of dreams 7" PS EX/EX dutch CBS 7947 USD $6.93 Buy It Now 1h 31m
ANIMAL NIGHTLIFE love is just the great pretender uk island IS 200 7" PS EX/EX USD $6.93 Buy It Now 1h 31m
ROBERT PALMER - RIPTIDE, A1-90471 ISLAND NM USD $29.00 Buy It Now 1h 31m
U2 RATTLE AND HUM ISLAND CD NO SCRATCHES USD $2.99 [0 bids]
1h 33m
JJ CALE city girls 7" CS EX/EX uk island j.j. cale USD $6.93 Buy It Now 1h 33m
True by Avicii (Vinyl, Sep-2013, Island (Label)) USD $7.99 [0 bids]
1h 33m
Yoyo by Bourgeois Tagg (CD, 1987, Island, Cut Out) NO SCRATCHES USD $1.99 Buy It Now 1h 34m
MICHAEL NESMITH navajo trail 7" WS EX/ uk island USD $6.93 Buy It Now 1h 37m
The Spinners Liverpool To Coney Island UK LP USD $3.84 Buy It Now 1h 38m
THE KILLERS "Sawdust" Island/B0010226-02 NEW (CD,2007) USD $11.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Marianne Faithfull, Strange Weather, Island 90613-1 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1h 39m
THE KILLERS "Day & Age" Island/B0012197-02 NEW (CD,2008) USD $11.99 Buy It Now 1h 41m
1983 Kid Creole and the Coconuts Doppelganger Island Records music cassette tape USD $6.43 [0 bids]
1h 41m
Love Songs by Elton John (CD, Sep-1996, Island/Mercury)NO SCRATCHES USD $1.99 Buy It Now 1h 42m
Pop Promo 45 Herb Alpert & The T.J.B. - Coney Island / Ratatouille (Rata Too Ee) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 43m
Pop Promo 45 El Futuro - Rikers Island (Spanish Version) / Rikers Island (Englis USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 43m
(BQ462) Frankie Rose & The Outs, Girlfriend Island - 2010 DJ CD USD $2.56 Buy It Now 1h 43m
ISLAND RECORDS ALRIGHT NOW ORIGINAL ADVERT 15 OCT 1988 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1h 43m
Hi-TENSION : BRITISH HUSTLE - Peace On Earth : ISLAND : WIP 6446 : 1978 USD $2.25 Buy It Now 1h 43m
VINTAGE 1974 WHALE MEAT AGAIN,JIM CAPALDI,ISLAND RECORDS LP ALBUM USD $5.98 Buy It Now 1h 44m
U2 - Boy LP - Island VG++ USD $7.50 [2 bids]
1h 46m
STEVE WINWOOD FREEDOM OVERSPILL ISLAND RECORDS PROMO 7-28595 NRMT USD $1.99 Buy It Now 1h 47m
U2 - Lemon (Remixes) 12" - Island VG++ Yellow Wax USD $6.00 [1 bids]
1h 47m
U2 - Rattle And Hum 2xLP - Island VG++ USD $22.00 [7 bids]
1h 47m
U2 - The Joshua Tree LP - Island VG++ USD $16.50 [6 bids]
1h 48m
U2 - War LP - Island USD $6.00 [1 bids]
1h 48m
Just for You by Lionel Richie (CD, Jun-2004, Island (Label)) USD $3.29 Buy It Now 1h 49m
THE AMAZING BLONDEL Evensong LP Island Rec. SMAS-9302 US 1970 VG++ ORIGINAL 9E USD $17.98 Buy It Now 1h 51m
White Island Fever Mixed By Smokin' Jo USD $1.42 [0 bids]
USD $1.86 Buy It Now
1h 51m
LOU REED Coney Island Baby PG122 LP Gv3264 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
1h 52m
U2 : THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE ( ISLAND , COLUMBIA HOUSE , CANADA ) USD $4.16 Buy It Now 1h 52m
BILL BLACK'S COMBO A Summer Place/ Mud Island Blues 45 Maverick Memphis mod hear USD $10.00 [0 bids]
1h 54m
The Burdens of Being Upright by Tracy Bonham (CD, Jun-1996, Island (Label)) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 56m
Ace Frehley by Ace Frehley/Kiss (CD, Feb-1988, Island/Mercury) USD $3.00 [1 bids]
1h 57m
U2 2 SEALED TAPE CASSETTE LOT RATTLE AND HUM ACHTUNG BABY CHROME ISLAND BONO lp USD $22.00 Buy It Now 1h 59m
Rhode Island Red House Jimi Hendrix live rock blues -very rare- USD $10.49 [2 bids]
1h 59m
Exile on 4th Street [EP] - Donkey Island Penitentiary CD USD $1.00 Buy It Now 1h 59m
POSEIDON SOCIETY ALAN HOVHANESS SEALED Saturn LONG ISLAND CHAMBER ENSEMBLE LP USD $19.50 Buy It Now 2h 2m
Island Life USD $5.13 Buy It Now 2h 2m
PLEASUREDOME Rave Flyer Flyers 31/12/94 A4 Fantasy Island Skegness USD $6.43 Buy It Now 2h 5m
SMOOTH ISLAND JAZZ CHRISTMAS BY VARIOUS ARTISTS (CD,2005, QUIET STORM RECORDS) USD $3.99 [0 bids]
2h 5m
SMOOTH ISLAND JAZZ CHRISTMAS BY VARIOUS ARTISTS (CD,2005, QUIET STORM RECORDS) USD $3.99 [0 bids]
2h 6m
Who's Afraid of THE ART OF NOISE Vinyl Record Island Records 90179-1 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
2h 6m
ROXY MUSIC LP FOR YOUR PLEASURE ORIG UK ISLAND 1973 1ST PRESS A-1 B-1 NEAR MINT USD $21.92 [10 bids]
2h 7m
Ball, Patrick : Fine Beauty of the Island CD USD $5.48 Buy It Now 2h 9m
PLEASUREDOME Rave Flyer Flyers 8/7/95 A4 Fantasy Island Skegness USD $6.43 Buy It Now 2h 9m
The Airborne Toxic Event by The Airborne Toxic Event (CD, Mar-2009, Island... USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2h 10m
Arkenstone, David : Island CD USD $10.99 Buy It Now 2h 13m
THE PLAYMATES ISLAND GIRL/DARLING IT'S WONDERFUL ROULETTE 4022 M- USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2h 13m
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS ?- KAYA (UK 1978 ISLAND LP) USD $23.13 Buy It Now 2h 15m
U2: ANGEL OF HARLEM+A ROOM AT THE HEARTBREAK HOTEL STEREO ISLAND 45rpm 1988 USD $28.99 Buy It Now 2h 17m
MICHIHIRO SATO JOHN ZORN GANRYU ISLAND LP 1985 YUKON RECORDS AVANT-GARDE USD $49.99 [0 bids]
2h 17m
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS BABYLON BY BUS Island USA 2xLP orig Ex+ USD $25.07 Buy It Now 2h 19m
Traffic - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Island SW-9306 LP Vinyl Record EX+ USD $16.95 Buy It Now 2h 21m
Among the Living by Anthrax (CD, Mar-1994, Island (Label)) USD $3.00 [1 bids]
2h 23m
BYRON LEE & THE DRAGONAIRES >THE HUSTLE < ISLAND SOUL REGGAE , DYNAMIC USD $17.99 Buy It Now 2h 27m
The J. Geils Band "Monkey Island" 1977 Rock LP, VG+, Original Atlantic Pressing USD $4.36 Buy It Now 2h 28m
50'S & 60'S 45 Jane Morgan And The Troubadors - Enchanted Island / Once More, My USD $3.00 [0 bids]
2h 28m
Kris Kristofferson EASTER ISLAND (Columbia/Monument 35310) 1978 LP w/lyrics NM USD $2.70 Buy It Now 2h 32m
American Standard Band - LP VG Promo ILPS 9540 Island 1979 USA w/Inner USD $4.80 Buy It Now 2h 32m
Persistence of Time by Anthrax (CD, Mar-1994, Island (Label)) USD $3.00 [0 bids]
2h 33m
War by U2 (CD, Oct-1990, Island) USD $4.75 Buy It Now 2h 34m
Attack of the Killer B's [PA] by Anthrax (CD, Mar-1994, Island (Label)) USD $3.00 [0 bids]
2h 34m
Johnny Cash - Rock Island Line LP Vinyl Comp Hilltop Stereo JS 6101 ALT Label USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2h 35m
Breakdown by Melissa Etheridge (CD, Oct-1999, Island (Label)) USD $1.00 Buy It Now 2h 36m
Squeaky Clean PRIVATE PRESS CD Long Island NY USD $2.73 [0 bids]
2h 37m
Henry Jackman "KONG: SKULL ISLAND" CD with tracking USD $37.92 Buy It Now 2h 37m
DICK JENSEN giant of hawaii LP island novelty AUTOGRAPHED  USD $9.00 Buy It Now 2h 43m
The Long Ryders Two Fisted Tales vinyl LP 1987 Island Records VG+ USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2h 47m
TONY OWENS -Island 059- The Letter That Broke My Heart - VG+ SOUL DANCE DJ w/slv USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2h 48m
Dead City Radio by William S. Burroughs (CD, Dec-1995, Island (Label)) USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2h 48m
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell (CD, Feb-1999, Island/Mercury) USD $19.00 Buy It Now 2h 48m
Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground by Talvin Singh (CD, Feb-1997, Island... USD $7.00 Buy It Now 2h 49m
Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears (CD, Mar-1985, Island/Mercury) USD $5.98 Buy It Now 2h 50m
TROPICAL ESCAPE by Craig Peyton: ISLAND SPA RELAXATION & MEDITATION CD! RARE/OOP USD $11.95 Buy It Now 2h 51m
The Legendary Pink Dots - island of Jewels - LP Record USD $18.00 [1 bids]
2h 55m
VARIOUS ?- YOU CAN ALL JOIN IN (UK 1ST PRESS ISLAND LP) USD $25.70 Buy It Now 2h 55m
Traffic "At the Fantasy Factory"on Island 9323w/ original p/s record Near Mint - USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h 56m
VARIOUS ?- BUMPERS (UK ISLAND RECORDS DOUBLE LP) USD $25.70 Buy It Now 2h 56m
TRAFFIC - BEST OF TRAFFIC (UK 1969 PINK ISLAND LP) USD $38.56 Buy It Now 2h 57m
BLONDIE Island Of Lost Souls 7" German Pressing Vinyl Single, B/W Dragonfly, 10 USD $6.42 Buy It Now 2h 57m
BLONDIE Island Of Lost Souls 7" Ps, B/W Dragonfly, Chs 2608 USD $5.13 Buy It Now 2h 57m
RAY SYLVESTER Seven Time Winners 12" Vinyl LP 33RPM Straker CALYPSO ISLAND FUNK USD $4.99 [0 bids]
2h 58m
Oilean / Island by Michael O'Suilleabhain (CD, Venture) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2h 59m
Pink Moon by Nick Drake 2012, Island. Gatefold. Poster Lyric Sheet Out Of Print USD $49.99 [0 bids]
USD $74.99 Buy It Now
2h 59m
Robert Palmer - Pride - Original UK Island Records Promo Poster USD $12.84 [0 bids]
3h
Chad Vangaalen Diaper Island (Mpdl) vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $37.97 Buy It Now 3h
8 [LP] by Incubus (Vinyl, May-2017, Island (Label)) USD $14.80 Buy It Now 3h
Andrew Cash Boomtown vinyl LP 1989 Island EXCELLENT USD $9.95 Buy It Now 3h 3m
KISS Alive! [IMPORT] (CD, 1989, Island/Mercury) 2 CD SET SEALED USD $28.99 Buy It Now 3h 6m
New Stanton Band, Michael Fortunato - Grand Island Casino [New CD] USD $14.94 Buy It Now 3h 9m
GLASS TIGER "FAR AWAY FROM HERE/This Island" MANHATTAN 50144 (1988) 45 USD $3.75 Buy It Now 3h 10m
The Wolf - By Andrew W.K. (CD, Sep-2003, Island (Label)) USD $4.95 Buy It Now 3h 10m
ERNEST TUBB "C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S/Christmas Island" DECCA 46268 (1950) 45 RPM (VG) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3h 17m
SCAFFOLD - FRESH LIVER (UK 1973 PINK RIM ISLAND LP) USD $38.56 Buy It Now 3h 17m
And All Was Silent No Turning Back RARE 2009 CD 25 Ta Life Rhode Island HC/Metal USD $6.00 Buy It Now 3h 20m
CARBONATED WATER On My Island 45 Banana moody garage psych hear USD $30.00 [0 bids]
3h 21m
QUINTESSENCE - IN BLISSFUL COMPANY (WITH BOOKLET UK 1969 PINK ISLAND RECORDS LP) USD $57.85 Buy It Now 3h 21m
Krush Record Signed Autograph x8 Funk Soul Private Island lp USD $34.99 Buy It Now 3h 21m

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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)

4.13 | 138 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)

3.07 | 8 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
4.13 | 138 ratings

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Pictures
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 | 138 ratings

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

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 138 ratings

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Pictures
Island Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars ISLAND was one of a handful of eclectic progressive rock bands to emerge from Switzerland in the 70s and managed to release this sole offering PICTURES in 1977 well after the boom of the early prog years but still managed to pack a major punch with the intensity. While somewhat based in symphonic prog with crazy synth runs dominating the soundscape, the Van Der Graaf Generator-esque passages emanate from a deeply darkened end of the prog spectrum that includes Gentle Giant complexities, jazz-fusion sensibilities and uncompromising prancing through overtly complex time signature workouts. While mostly instrumental there are vocals performed by Benjamin Jäger that probably remind most of Colin Goldring of Gnidrolog. Everything about PICTURES is off-kilter and progressive as [%*!#]!

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 (based on earthly alchemy) music. This sole release is some of the most demanding prog workouts to be experienced. Yes, 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 that exists in the musical universe. It is utterly eerie, spectral and spooky, crazily complex, pungently powerful and brashly bizarre! The decision to leave out the inclusion of guitar adds and focus on percussion, crotales, saxes, flute and clarinet really add to the uniqueness and sets it apart from virtually everything else of the era.

Warning! This eclectic stew takes a few listens to grow on you. Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, most likely neither will PICTURES jump to the top of your prog appreciation list. This is approaching a 10 on the progometer but will reward those who have the patience to let its secrets unfold. I have grown to love this! I heard this several times on YouTube ( where it is free and still expensive to track down on physical format) before I tracked down a copy and after several listens I only love love love this more each time. The bonus track "Empty Bottles" on the CD is definitely no throwaway. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the album and clocking in at over 23 minutes adds a huuuuuge chunk of time. Surely it would have been included if time lengths had permitted in the day as it actually exceeds the complexity of the actual album in many ways. 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!!! :P

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 138 ratings

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Pictures
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 | 138 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
 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 138 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.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 138 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!

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 138 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.
 Pyrrho by ISLAND album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.07 | 8 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.

 Pictures by ISLAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.13 | 138 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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