Gilmour, David - On An Island

Year of Release: 2006
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 0946 3 55695 2 0
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:45:00

Bang on his 60th birthday (he was born on 6th March 1946 in Cambridge), Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour kind of sent a special birthday present around the world as a genuine token of his appreciation, as a noble gesture, by means of a brand new solo album. Whilst all Pink Floyd fans had gathered a little hope after the band's late minute appearance during the recent Live 8 extravaganza, rumours of a Floyd reunion were soon nipped in the bud. However, when you're a Floyd fan things have seldom looked so interesting. First of all Roger Waters goes on tour with a three hour live concert in which he plans to perform the entire Dark Side Of The Moon album. Announced as Roger Waters and friends none other than drummer Nick Mason is one of those many friends. To make things even more pleasant, David Gilmour is currently on tour with the fourth Floyd member Rick Wright as one of his bandmembers. But the nicest thing certainly has to be his new On An Island album which in a way sounds like a brand new Pink Floyd album, delivered with a host of "other" musicians. Not only does Gilmour have that distinctive guitar sound, also his voice is unique and patented Pink Floyd material.

I have to be honest in saying that it has been a long time since I cherished an album so dearly like Gilmour's latest solo offering. When I saw a total playing time of around 51 minutes I felt rather pleased. I think artists should rather look to release albums with a duration between 45 and 50 minutes filled with quality music rather than fill the disc to the rim with poor material. Gilmour understands it all completely as he has also packaged his new album in such a way that it has to discourage illegal copying. Nicely bound in a cardboard digipack including some tasty artwork on recycled paper with nice drawings and coloured photographs you simply have to have the real thing. Those of you who settle for a lousy CD-r copy of the album most certainly are not musiclovers. "Copying is killing music," and even when David Gilmour probably possesses his own "island" (he has his own runway for his many planes, four mansions, his private floating recording studio on the Thames "Astoria" and over 300 million euros in the bank) it simply is unacceptable that the entire album was already available for download on the Internet one week before the official release. The lesson everyone in the business has to learn is: make sure the artwork which adorns the CD is magnificent and everyone will buy the genuine article and not a lousy copy. With On An Island the picture is complete, as it's both a fantastic record whilst also sporting a superb layout.

To record the ten brand new compositions, Gilmour has asked Floyd colleague Rick Wright to step in. Also David Crosby and Graham Nash collaborate whilst Jools Holland is also present (maybe this way Gilmour can be expected to perform in one of the coming editions of Holland's famous TV programme?) Phil Manzanera temporarily left the reformed Roxy Music to help out as well whilst Robert Wyatt's wheelchair was given a thorough check up so he could make it for the sessions. When you compare this new album with Gilmour's previous solo albums, it becomes clear that he has taken plenty of time this time around in order to only include the very best compositions possible, adding the people necessary for the job regardless whether they are famous or not. Every single detail in favour of the quality of the music results in a very varied disc for which you'd like to press the repeat button eternally. It has become the kind of album you'd like to take with you on a desert island. "On an island with On An Island!"

It's the very first solo output since The Division Bell in 1994, which neatly combines folk, jazz, rock and orchestral music by means of the majestic guitar playing. The famous Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner delivered the grand orchestrations whilst most of the lyrics have been written by Gilmour's young wife Polly Samson, a collaboration which started with The Division Bell. The titl etrack "On An Island" contains a sound that could easily have been featured on the Wish You Were Here album. Soft babbling like an ocean which washes to the shore "The Blue" ties up with those wonderful vocal harmonies that float through your head as if you're experiencing a psychedelic trip. There's also some nice play with sounds, so grab those earphones to get the perfect experience when you listen to "Take A Breath." For the first time ever, Gilmour also plays saxophone, which he does particulary well during "Red Sky At Night." Totally unexpected, David delivers a piece of swingjazz with "This Heaven," a track which works in a contagious way, nestling its melody in your mind from the very first seconds onwards. Again we note some heavenly (this heaven!) orchestral arrangements next to a lovely Hammond played by Georgie Fame. The acoustic slide during "Then I Close My Eyes" kind of sounds like an alternative "Albatros" by Fleetwood Mac, not at all obtrusive and nicely floating with the tide. The fragile "Smile" sounds like an outtake from a Paul McCartney solo album (didn't Gilmour play alongside Macca at the Cavern a couple of years ago?). The fragile nature of Anthony Phillips steps in with "A Pocketful Of Stones." With "Where We Start" we have gone full circle, enabling us to start all over again.

A while ago I had to laugh when Jon Anderson told me he was expecting his best work once he turned sixty. Now that David Gilmour has reached the retiring age he has delivered his very best work ever, so I guess I have to believe Anderson that life does not begin at forty but at sixty. Without any doubt On An Island is the very best solo album to have been released by a member of Pink Floyd ? ever!

Castellorizon / On An Island / The Blue / Take A Breath / Red Sky At Night / This Heaven / Then I Close My Eyes / Smile / A Pocketful Of Stones / Where We Start

David Gilmour - guitar, vocals, electric piano, percussion, bass, piano, saxophone, bass harmonica, c?mb?s, Hammond organ
David Crosby - vocals
Graham Nash - vocals
Richard Wright - Hammond organ, vocals
Rado Klose - guitar
Guy Pratt - bass
Andy Newmark - drums
Chris Thomas - keyboards
Chris Sainton - Hammond organ
Jools Holland - piano
Polly Samson - piano
Ged Lynch - drums
Phil Manzanera - keyboards
Leszek Mozdzer - piano
Caroline Dale - cello
Chris Laurence - double bass
BJ Cole - Weissenborn guitar
Robert Wyatt - cornet, voice, percussion
Alasdair Malloy - glass harmonica
Willie Wilson - drums
Lucy Wakeford - harp

David Gilmour (1978)
About Face (1984)
On An Island (2006)

David Gilmour In Concert (2003) (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 18th 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1997
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]