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    Main » 2010 » September » 9 » Island ~ 1977 ~ Pictures
    Island ~ 1977 ~ Pictures
    Island ~ 1977 ~ Pictures
    genre: prog
    country: switzerland
    quality: lossless (flac, cue, log, booklet scans)
    time: 1:12'47"  size: 431 mb
    misc.: 1996
    Island's Pictures is easily the best reissue The Laser's Edge has put out since the Schicke Führs and Fröhling two-disc set released in 1993. As I listen to Pictures the band that comes to mind is another Swiss national: Circus and their wonderful album Movin' On, which came out the same year as Pictures. While some comparisons can be made between Circus and Island, it's not for musical comparisons that I think of Circus but more for band structure and level of talent. Circus was a parsed down ensemble of percussion, bass, sax, vocals and a little acoustic guitar and flute. With a sparse ensemble, each musician in the band must possess a robust talent to create a full sound. Indeed, Island is a parsed but very talented ensemble of keyboards (Peter Scherer), percussion (everybody!), vocals (Benjamin Jager) and sax with a smattering of clarinet and flute (Rene Fisch). In addition to the drummer (Guge Jurg Meier), all the other members play percussive instruments. And this doesn't even count the piano as a percussive instrument! Meier is a great drummer and does, in fact, remind me of the excellent Fritz Hauser from Circus. Meier must carry the band because, except for the bass pedal work played by Scherer, he is the base rhythm section, supplemented by the other percussion. While on the subject of percussion, a special mention should be made of Bob Katz and Digital Domain, who mastered the CD. His wonderful work fully brings out the propulsive forces of the percussive and bass pedal work that drives this music. But no single man is Island. Equally import is the keyboard and bass pedal work of Scherer. His bass pedals are as much a force as the percussion and is classical and jazz-influenced keyboard work is marvellous: tasteful, energetic and imaginative. The sax work is easily as talented: fluid and often used as another layer of instrumental depth rather than as a mere solo instrument. All of the six songs, which includes a 23 minute bonus track, are excellent. Of them all, "Pictures" is perhaps a pinnacle among tall peaks and representative of the entire album. "Pictures" is a 16 minute masterpiece from the opening gong to the final sustain of the keyboards. "Pictures" begins with triangle, tambourine and other percussion. After several moments, the keyboards join in and the vocals arrive. After the first couple of verses, the real fun begins. The long instrumental passage between now and the final verses begins quietly. Layers of percussion are surrounded by quiet "ooh"s. This is followed by keyboards, sax, driving bass pedals and wonderful snare work, marking an increase in the energy level. In fact, this general structure marks all of the songs, alternating between pulsating drive and deep, wide-open spaciousness. Again, I can't stress enough how excellent the depth and layering of percussion is, drawing the listener ever deeper into the album. You may have heard of Island being compared to Happy the Man. Only for "Zero," the "short" six minute tune, is there a real Happy the Man comparison. The rest is uniquely Island. The bonus track, rescued from some dank, dark vault by The Laser's Edge, is well worth the inclusion, despite the "good bootleg" sound quality. The quality of the performance more than makes up for this deficiency. The original cover art, by H.R. Giger, only adds to the package. An important reissue and *very* highly recommended. -- Mike Taylor

    01. Introduction 1:29
    02. Zero 6:15
    03. Pictures 16:53
    04. Herold And King / Dloreh 12:16
    05. Here And Now 12:18
    06. Empty Bottles 23:36

    Benjamin Jagger - vocals, percussion
    Peter Scherer - keyboards, bass, vocal
    Guge Jurg Meyer - drums, percussion
    Rene Fisch - sax, flute, clarinet

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