domenica 18 marzo 2018

Island - Pictures (1996 The Laser's Edge) 1977

Biography The only album by legendary Swiss group Island has recently been re-released by The Laser's Edge for the benefit of the current generation of prog fans. 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. While compositionally solid and often quite interesting, this isn't a release I find exactly bursting with intensity, and sort of loses me if I'm not making the conscious effort to listen attentively.

"Pictures" is the album centerpiece, and an expansive, intriguing track at that. Some very addictive themes weave in and out occasionally, along with tasteful playing throughout, but it is also bland at points. "Herold and King/Dloreth" is another long track that demands basically the exact same description as "Pictures". Ditto with "Here and Now" which opens with a nice piano solo, but then drifts back into familiar territory. Pictures does have some great moments however, but all the cuts start to blend together and start sounding the same. I found myself having to skip to each track independently to really focus on what was going on. Once delved into and examined closely, the songs begin to reveal themselves more, the problem is that I still didn't find them all that enjoyable. It demands more of a casual "Oh yeah, that bit's cool" reaction rather than invoking an emotional response, or a need to play the album repeatedly to pick up on its subtlety. Of course, this album is very highly regarded, even dubbed a true classic in come circles, so there's probably quite a few of you out there who can really get into this one. To me, it's a dense and impenetrable work without a hell of a lot of payoff for my investment of time.

01.Introduction 1:26
02.Zero 6:13
03.Pictures 16:51
04.Herold And King (Dloreh) 12:14
05.Here And Now 12:16
Bonus track
06.Empty Bottles 23:31

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

1 commento:

Solidboy ha detto...

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