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On an Island
     

On an Island

3.9 21
by David Gilmour
 

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Given the fact that he's always operated in a sort of vacuum, it's not surprising that David Gilmour would take more than two decades between solo albums, but this disc -- his first since 1984's About Face -- is as timeless and distinctive as anything the Pink Floyd guitarist has ever done. Gilmour

Overview

Given the fact that he's always operated in a sort of vacuum, it's not surprising that David Gilmour would take more than two decades between solo albums, but this disc -- his first since 1984's About Face -- is as timeless and distinctive as anything the Pink Floyd guitarist has ever done. Gilmour challenges himself (and his listeners) in a number of ways here, beginning with the Byzantine structures of the angular opener, "Castellorizon," on which he weaves some of his more passionate leads into a multi-instrumental mesh crafted by Polly Samson (his chief collaborator on The Division Bell). Unlike Gilmour's more conceptually driven works, On an Island draws from a number of musical streams, ranging from the leisurely jazziness of "Then I Close My Eyes" to the warm, surprisingly feisty soul vibe of "This Heaven" (on which longtime Van Morrison sideman Georgie Fame's Hammond organ is the primary flavoring). Gilmour calls upon a number of stellar guest stars -- David Crosby and Graham Nash harmonize beautifully on the title track, while Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner adds orchestrations that enhance the drama of several tunes, notably "Where We Start" -- but it's always clear whose hands are on the controls. Gilmour doesn't grip them too tightly, however, so this Island journey remains bucolic from beginning to end.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
To think that David Gilmour waited 22 years to record his third solo album is a pretty solid indicator that he's not the kind of bloke to merely cash in on his name. After all, he's the guy who sold his house for four million English pounds and gave the money to charity. Perhaps now that the Pink Floyd reunion happened and he and Roger Waters are at least civil to one another, the Floyd enigma can finally find its way into the annals of history and rock legend. This catches listeners up to On an Island. Those desiring something edgy and dramatic will have to wait. Gilmour wrote six of these ten tunes with his wife, Polly Samson, who also plays a bit of piano and sings. Musically, On An Island is mostly a laid-back, utterly elegant English record. It has the feel of taking place between twilight and dawn. There are a few rumblers to upset the overall balance of tranquility and stillness, like flashes of heat lightning across the dark skies; they add dimension and a quiet power to these proceedings. Produced by Gilmour, Phil Manzanera (who appears on keyboards), and Chris Thomas, the album features guest spots from the likes of Richard Wright, Robert Wyatt, B.J. Cole, Floyd/Sly Stone drummer Andy Newmark, Georgie Fame, David Crosby and Graham Nash, Jools Holland, Willie Wilson, and many others. The set opens with "Castellorizon," a moody showcase with Gilmour's guitars backed by the orchestral arrangements of Zbigniew Preisner as conducted by Robert Zeigler. Preisner's arrangements throughout are wonderful and not quite as dark as one might expect, given his track record. Atmospheric and dramatic, it offers a lovely if off impression of the album. The title track, which follows, is all breezy strummed chords, keyboards by Wright, and dreamy vocals with Gilmour backed by Crosby and Nash. It's a slow, textured, and spacy love song. "The Blue" follows suit; it too is so utterly full of air that one can hear the wind rustling through the palms. Wright's backing vocals lend a slight PF "Echoes" slant (as does the Hammond organ); the instrumentation just shimmers, hovers, and floats the track along. There are rockers here, though -- "Take a Breath" features chunky razor-wire chords, Leszek Mozdzer's piano, and Manzanera's synth work winding around one another, and the mood is wonderfully plodding, dramatic, and futuristically "heavy." On the gauzy wee-hours instrumental "Red Sky at Night," Gilmour plays sax as well as guitars, and it gives way to "This Heaven," a bluesy stroller that's given deluxe organ treatment by Fame. There's a delightfully nocturnal feel that makes the track feel a bit sinister, but really it's the sound of eros making itself heard, and Gilmour contributes a biting solo and fills amid the drum samples and strings. Wyatt appears on the back-porch spacehead soundtrack-like tripnotica of "Then I Close My Eyes." His and Gilmour's wordless voices slip under and around the considerable space between instruments -- which include Wyatt on cornet and percussion as well as Cole playing a Weissenborn guitar, Caroline Dale's cello, a pair of harmonicas, and of course Gilmour's high-register blues twang. The set ends on a gentle note in "Where We Start" -- so much so that it may make some scratch their heads and wonder where the cranky, diffident Gilmour has wandered off to, but others will be drawn into this seductive, romantic new place where musical subtlety, spacious textures, and quietly lyrical optimism hold sway.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2006
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0828768028025
catalogNumber:
80280
Rank:
3492

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Gilmour   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Saxophone,Vocals,Cumbus,Bass Harmonica
Crosby & Nash   Vocals
Georgie Fame   Hammond Organ
Jools Holland   Piano
Phil Manzanera   Piano,Keyboards
Graham Nash   Vocals
Robert Wyatt   Percussion,Cornet,Voices
Richard Wright   Hammond Organ,Vocals
Caroline Dale   Cello
Chris Laurence   Double Bass
Andy Newmark   Percussion,Drums
Guy Pratt   Bass
Chris Stainton   Hammond Organ
Alasdair Malloy   Glass Harmonica
Ged Lynch   Drums
Robert Ziegler   Conductor
Leszek Mozdzer   Piano
Willie Wilson & The Tunemasters   Drums
Polly Samson   Piano,Vocals
Lucy Wakeford   Harp
Chris E. Thomas   Keyboards
Rado Klose   Guitar

Technical Credits

Phil Manzanera   Producer,Audio Production
David Gilmour   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Andy Jackson   Engineer
Jack D. Johnson   Drum Samples
Zbigniew Preisner   Orchestral Arrangements
Simon Rhodes   Engineer
David Juritz   Orchestra Leader
Paul Loasby   Management
Blade   Artwork
Adam Topol   Drum Samples
Hilary Skewes   String Contractor
Ilan Eshkeri   Programming
Chris E. Thomas   Producer

Customer Reviews

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On an Island 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...the lyrics are insipid, the music uninspired, and even DG's solos sound like retreads. Wot's, uh, the deal indeed? The lush production sounds wonderful, but the actual musical artistry within is almost bafflingly bad. Caveat emptor...the excellence of his two earlier solo cds ("About Face" is one of the most underrated rock albums EVER, IMHO) is nowhere to be found on this island.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Worth waiting 22 years for this album, it's a great comeback solo album from David Gilmour. Better than the last two Pink Floyd studio albums without Roger Waters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i just got this new cd today plus herd the premire of it on line and also gave the cd a full listen. this is a great solo disc from the voice and gutair of pink floyd. david gilmours 3rd solo cd on an island is the best out there hands down. this rocker that just turned 60 shows that he can still sing and rock out. on here besides gutair gilmour played a varrious of instements on this cd .including sax on the on of the insterments/red sky at night. plus a whole team of mussians as well./including pink floyds keyboardist/ rick wright/ the whole cd is great from the 1st track to the last. but take a breath on an island and this heaven are my faviorte tracks.// this is the cd to get its a rocker
Guest More than 1 year ago
The prospect of a new David Gilmour album - first one in 22 years since 'About Face' excited me more than if it was a Pink Floyd album. I'm a big fan of the Floyd, but the post-Waters era leaves something to be desired (Momentary Lapse, and Division Bell, seem like overproduced Gilmour albums that happen to have Nick Mason and Rick Wright on them, and a few too many musicians besides). 'On an Island' was worth the wait - Gilmour is in fine form, laid back and easy to listen to, without being 'easy listening' (the way much of Pink Floyd is - never exactly lite FM but not heavy hard rock either). The title track alone is worth it to hear David Crosby and Graham Nash harmonize with Gilmour (Crosy, Gilmour & Nash future supergroup?). Nice instrumentals and as always superb guitar playing and singing. It's good to have him back. Maybe the next Pink Floyd album might be this good (if they manage to get Waters back in the fold, would increase the chances of that).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is so very fine...It has that spacey, reflective mambo going on throughout, very sexy, warm, breezy island, drift-away sounds... Which may take you away to where you want to be... As Gilmour splashes his wonderful guitar in-n-out on all the concept tracks... Interesting, mesmerizing, laid-back thought provoking(mostly)instrumental loveliness...It's a different plane your riding on...Floating & stoney, but a sure ride...I can see that Blue Water right now and introspective island were all on yet mostly ignore...I adore Floyd just as I love where Gilmour is going here in his life...Surrounded by emptiness that we all feel from time to time and want to just get away, yet we are...Were just on an island...The music flows from track to track and not any real surprises(but to me that the restrained beauty of this CD)... warm sunny feelings, days of contemplation...to get us just right...I'm always ready for the trippy, soaring Gilmour with Floyd However, this is just as incredibly moving and kicking on it's own way...A great musician throwing out some perfect sounds to create & set the mood...MTV will never have a place for this...But, there's always a place for this music in my life...Chris Rea might be along for the ride here...Gilmour shows what a cosmic master is capable of...When your done smiling and tripping...Well, perhaps you might put on something else that breaks this mood(though, I listen to it over & over)...This is an eloquent, insightful, dreamy CD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
a very soothing and relaxing album---great guitar solos (naturally). Highly recommended to any pink floyd fan!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the past, David Gilmour has released some lousy solo albums. This isn't one of them. This CD actually compares to the classic Pink Floyd albums, including Meddle, and Dark Side of the Moon. Get it, it's worth listening to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh dear this really is bad. Division Bell remains a masterpiece and we forgave him his weak voice because we knew that the weeping guitar was sure to follow. He made Pink Floyd (I had thought) his own and to my mind it was so much better than that of the 60's and 70's. His 1984 album About Face has sat at the back of my CD collection for many years but given the lack of Floyd output I thought that I would give it a try. I have no idea what it's all about. The lyrics are pretty loopy and nothing really gets going. Pretentious cardboard booklet CD cover says it all. Time to move on methinks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
david gilmour is one of the best gutauirst and singers ever to be known. his work with pink floyd and his other 2 solo cds are very remarkable and will put toghter. his 3rd cd solo cd on an island i am looking forward to hearing. the new cd that is to be released on march 6th the same day david gilmour turns 60 gonna feature lots of great musians including pink floyds keyboardist richard wright. also i believe that wright is one of the best keyboard players out there plus his volcals are amazing as well. with this new solo cd from gilmour and with rick wright on itas well it sounds like its gonna be a great cd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not a bad effort, but there's no energy here. Buy if you're a die-hard fan, but skip if you're looking for something memorable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So, you're a Floyd fan...and you want some burning, intense, guitar thriving, synthesised music, huh? Well, you might be dissapointed somewhat. But, if you're a lover of quality music, you love the guitar work of Gilmour, and you want to listen to "mature" rock music...then please give "On An Island" a listen. You will NOT be dissapointed in the least.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How extremely nice to hear a genuinely musical, mature album from someone motivated purely and simply by musical quality. Recommended to all Pink Floyd Fans 9/10
Guest More than 1 year ago
.....if you've always liked Gilmour's music. I've always been a fan, and this latest solo effort is by no means a bad recording. But my only complaint is that it's too mellow. I guess that's what I should expect from a title 'On An Island'. Gilmour is indeed on an island, and he's chillin in the sun on the beach and doing little else. Perhaps he's just too old to really wham that guitar like he did in his younger years. If you're expecting some really rockin tunes like can be found on his first 2 solo efforts, you'll be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
More great Gilmour in continuation of lighter, semi-unplugged format similar to the fantastic Royal Festival Hall concerts in 2001-2002. Excellent performance by Crosby and Nash. Great Gilmour solo work and just a thoroughly enjoyable cd. Can't stop playing it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Pink Floyd and there is so much of David Gilmour's Pink Floyd influence in this CD. He also adds his own brand of music and lyrics with such soothing sounds and creating so much emotion. His guitar work just makes you want to listen for hours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Gilmour doesn't disappoint Gilmour fans. However, if you are looking for screaming Pink Floyd guitar solos, you will be disappointed. David has written some beautiful Alan Parson-esque melodies and lyrics. This is a soft album that takes several listens to appreciate. Welcome back Mr. Gilmour, we missed you.
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