Sunday, September 17, 2006

Island - ''Pictures'' {Switzerland} [1977] @256 (Theatrical, dark, disturbing progressive rock)

One of the best things to come out of Switzerland, along with the fantastic CIRCUS to which it shares a few points: they both are Alemanic, have no electric guitar, winds instruments play a vital role and they recorded around 76/77 .

The biggest influence for Island definitely seems to be Van der Graaf Generator, and the band certainly approaches progressive rock from the darker end of the spectrum. In a similar fashion to VdGG, the group relies on saxophone and other wind instruments for heaviness rather than guitar, and goes for a quirky, sometimes dissonant, but strangely melodic feel. Unfortunately, the fire behind VdGG was always Peter Hammill's seething lyricism and incredible voice, as well as that band's ability to effortlessly build up into moments of raging apocalyptic fury. Island just doesn't go the distance the way their heroes do, preferring to meander along with well executed arrangements, and a merely acceptable vocal delivery. The band also evokes Gentle Giant in many of their more overtly complex moments, which can be superb at points but cold at others.
there are much ZEUHL leanings on this record. Zeuhll, you said? You mean MAGMA? Well certainly as far as the bass is concerned, but the overall style of the music on this album , this all yells out Zeuhl.

Line-up

- Benjamin Jäger / lead vocals, percussion
- Güge Jürg Meier / drums, gongs, percussion
- Peter Scherer / keyboards, pedal-bass, voices crotales
- René Fisch / sax, flute, clarinet, triangle, voices

Track listing
1. Introduction (1:28)
2. Zero (6:13)
3. Pictures (16:51)
4. Herold And King / Dloreh (12:13)
5. Here And Now (12:15)
Bonus track on cd release:
6. Empty Bottles (23:35)

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 download the album. “Pictures” has 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.
(review compiled from progarchives and progweed)

Links in comment.

Island - Pictures:

18 comments:

EelaFree said...

http://tinyurl.com/kn9zy (part 1, 50MB)
http://tinyurl.com/emgul (part 2, 50mb)

eiki said...

Hi there, I don't know how to contact you, the owner of this blog, but I still have a request. I'll be happy if I could share my music with you. Right now, I'm uploading Malicorne's full discography (about 10 albums) on Rapidshare, so if you let me give you the URL it would be great. Thanks ^^

Anonymous said...

Am i being dumb?
can't follow this link!

Titus

The Herbalist said...

I know what your problem is...
you are trying to copy and paste all this string of characters:
"http://tinyurl.com/kn9zy (part 1, 50MB)"

but the link is just

"http://tinyurl.com/kn9zy"

Same for the second part

The Herbalist said...

Hello Eiki:
Write your request here. I'll be gald to help if I have the album you're looking for (or if I can find it)
and about the Malicorne discography.. ahh hhhh! that was a great great band.. I ahve several albums by them but I don't know if I have the whole discography.. please write the links here in the comments.... thanks indeed!

BlackwatchPlaid said...

EelaFree,

I must say, you have posted some nice selections. Thanks :-) Not sure how long you have been a part of pnf, but keep it up!

Ed said...

I agree: one of the best prog record from Switzerland!

Anonymous said...

I've figured it out. I normally highlight the URL then right click and select google search. This does not work for this file. A regular copy & paste did the trick. Thanks for the music.
Titus

Anonymous said...

Great Post!

Tim said...

Great H R Giger cover too! Chronologically, it sits neatly inbetween the sleeve designs he did for ELP and Magma. Special

Anonymous said...

Looks very promising! Downloading now.

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot mate. I had this on vinyl years ago and it´ll be nice to hear it again.

Ivan said...

oh my! the link doesn't work anymore!!! :( could you send me a working one? i've been looking for this record everywhere :(
thanks in advance!
pipocipolatti2004-999@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Hello, it's possible to upload flac files ? It's horrible to listen to this masterpiece in poor quality which 256kbps is indeed.

isabelbc said...

hi Anonymous,

perfect quality here ->> http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000091XWH/rateyourmu08f-21/ref=nosim/

Isabel :o)

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Me,I do not claim an optimum quality,PNF members have enough work for our greatest pleasure. Instead of always more, should rather try to help (but, well, this is only my humble opinion of french frogger).
By against a small re - up of this post (if they have the time) would be welcome because the first two links are dead.

Musiconaute

Anonymous said...

Rectification :
The link is working (with Munju!)

Musiconaute

isabelbc said...

link working here http://soundvoyager.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/island-pictures-1977.html

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