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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chill out prog
Islands isn't exactly the people's favorite King Crimson album, with so many brilliant releases, it's inevitable that some get left behind. Another thing is that, after you've bought this you probably wont listen to this record too often.
However, when you are in the mood, this is a brilliant album, very spacey and slow paced with great flute and sax that really...
Published on 17 Nov 2007 by Gentlegiantprog

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for completists
This is by no means a bad album, but given the sheer quality of a great deal of the KC back catalogue (ITCOTCK, LTIA, Red to name but three) this record seems out of place. Boz Burrell's voice is rather weak: A Lake or a Wetton (or a Belew come to that) he clearly isn't. This is clearly a transitional record - between the Lake/McDonald et al line up and the Wetton/Bruford...
Published on 1 Jun 2001 by A. D. R. MARKS


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chill out prog, 17 Nov 2007
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) (Audio CD)
Islands isn't exactly the people's favorite King Crimson album, with so many brilliant releases, it's inevitable that some get left behind. Another thing is that, after you've bought this you probably wont listen to this record too often.
However, when you are in the mood, this is a brilliant album, very spacey and slow paced with great flute and sax that really floats along beautifully.
On the heavier tracks, like 'Ladies of the Road,' there is a touch of the Schizoid Man/Pictures of a City style crimson fans have come to expect, however this album is mostly a kind of sprawling open minded cosmic jam.
The difference between the loose sprawling nature of Islands and the loose sprawling jams they play at other times, is that on Islands, they are great and beautiful, not just a mess of noise.
The two best racks are, in my opinion 'Sailors Tale,' (a brilliant building instrumental with a jazzy kick to it) and the title track 'Islands,' which is just plain wonderful.
Islands is a great record, that you deffinatly should buy, even if you don't listen to it every day.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Islands, 25 Nov 2004
By 
R J. Masters (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) (Audio CD)
Used to own this on vinyl but have recently re-puchased in CD format. It is truly timeless. The title track is immense and amongst my favourits of all time. The combination of the melotron and the vocals with mel collins sax are incredible. Sort of rock meets extemperised jazz! I think this album is KC's high point. A must for any serious collector of 70's prog rock!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somebody's got it wrong, 23 Jun 2002
This review is from: Islands (Audio CD)
I bought `Islands' on vinyl back in the dark ages when it came out and it remains my favourite King Crimson record, and they made a few good ones round then. Relistening to some after 15 years, what is impressive is the sheer variety and ambition. I stopped listening somewhere after Red or Starless maybe because they were becoming a bit guitar-bass-drunms dominated without the lovely otherworldiness of the flutes, reeds, mellotrons - which was THE attraction of progressive rock for me. King Crimson were in a different league than all other mellotron bands and Islands is the epitome of this sound - a beautiful haunting piece from start to finish, but barely classifiable as rock. It has the best mellotron track ever, A Sailor's Tale, and other aethereal materials - Islands, SOng of the Gulls, Formentera Lady. OK it gets a little modramatic in places but it's a beautiful rock symphony - though this termshas been greatly misused since. I like most of the other KC albums of the period (though Wake of Poseidon is just ITCOTCK duplicated in my view)- even a slight penchant for Earthbound though hardly the saem band or planet than Islands. But Islands is my choice to take to the desert island, Sue, where late 20th century rock tied up most loose strands to create an impresive new genre, derivatve - classical, jazz, folk - but fairly unique. Pity Robert Fripp seems such a prat, he did some magnificent compositions.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another KC original, 7 Nov 2006
By 
N. Mason (Taunton, Somerset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) (Audio CD)
It is difficult to know if this or the previous album (Lizard) is the true end of the first incarnation of KC (first incarnation as far as style of music is concerned - not personnel). The soloists on this album (Fripp and Collins) are the same as the previous album but vocals and bass were now handled by Boz Burrell and drums by Ian Wallace.

The music is certainly different and if this is the end of the first incarnation it is a hell of a way to end. Do not expect easy listening but have no doubt that frequent listening, preferably on your own with no distractions, will be very rewarding.

The first track (Formentera Lady) builds brilliantly from quiet beginnings before is segues into 'Sailors Tale' - a truly innovative and top quality instrumental. Two vocal tracks 'Ladies of the Road' and 'The Letter' have original and interesting lyrics which are a million miles away from '21st Century Schizoid Man' and some superb instrumentation to take them home. 'Song of the Gulls' and the tital track are orchestral based and benefit from a number of guest musicians - just sit back and enjoy, fantastic.

Don't hesistate if you like truly original music played by top quality musicians
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THAT solo!, 7 Nov 2010
Islands is the last of the opening four quite magical albums from King Crimson (after In the Court of the Crimson King, In the Wake of Poseidon, and Lizard). Produced in 1971, it features in the Sailor's Tale a wonderful jangling guitar solo that Robert Fripp recorded late at night in one take. The moment his guitar meets and surfs a tidal wave of mellotrons still - after 40 years listening - makes my hair stand on end. (David Bowie liked it: listen to Fripp's guitar on 'Fashion') The music on Islands has for me the loosest, most relaxed feel of any KC album. A last nod to Hippy culture before the band entered the darker, tighter phase that led 3 years later to the band's 1974 masterpiece: 'Red'. This album Islands is launched by Formentera Lady, a largely improvised piece with rippling flute solos from Mel Collins, who later plays gut-churning sax on the fantastic Ladies of the Road. The title track Islands is a beautiful, gently lulling piece, a kind of Bridge over Troubled Water without the mush. Keith Tippett's dreamy piano is a million miles from the jagged runs and spiky chords he provided for Catfood on the Poseidon album, and Boz Burrell sings like an enraptured poet beside a shining sea...The occasional blemish has been left unedited which adds to the charm and keeps a live feel. The overall standard of musicianship is, as you'd expect with KC, fantastic. No wonder other prog rock bands held them in awe. While the Crimsos were recording in Picadilly, by the way, Pink Floyd were across Regent's Park at Abbey Road creating the equally wonderful Echoes. I gather (from Greig Lake on Youtube) that the original line-up has stayed good friends. What a reunion that would be! (For a more detailed review of the CD contents see a great review here by "Fletch"). This is the KC album I go back to most.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sailor's Tale, 9 Sep 2010
By 
Fletch-a-sketch "Fletch" (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Another great re-master from King Crimson, `Islands' was King Crimsons forth album and was more of a transition album between King Crimson of `Court' and `Poseidon' and the later Seventies King Crimson of `Larks' and `Lizard' , The whole album has been re-mixed in 5.1 to stunning effect a great treat is `Formentera Lady' appearing on this release in many forms.
The 40th anniversary edition then comes with a CD and DVD and plenty of extras, a surround mix two stereo mixes in Hi resolution original and 2010 Fripp approved Steven Wilson Mix. This release marks the release of most if not all of the studio work of any worth for this period.
The contents then are as follows:
CD:

Original album 2010 mix:
With Bonus tracks:
Islands (studio run through with oboe prominent)
Formentera Lady (original recording sessions - take 2)
Sailor's Tale (original recording sessions - alternate mix/edit)
A Peacemaking Stint Unrolls (previously unreleased)
The Letters (rehearsal/outtake)
Ladies of the Road (Robert Fripp & David Singleton remix)

DVD:

MLP Lossless 5.1 Surround / DTS 5.1 Digital Surround:
MLP stereo / LPCM stereo - Original album 2010 stereo mix:
MLP stereo Original album 1971 mix,

Plus Bonus material
Islands: Alternative album:
1. Formentera Lady - Original recording sessions - take 2
2. Sailor's Tale - Original recording sessions - alternate mix/edit
3. The Letters - Rehearsal/outtake
4. Ladies of the Road - Rough mix
5. A Peacemaking Stint Unrolls - Previously unreleased
6. Islands - Studio run through with oboe prominent

Routes to Islands:

1. Pictures of a City - Early rehearsal by Islands lineup
2. Sailor's Tale - Early rehearsal by Islands lineup
3. Islands (fragment) - Robert Fripp reference cassette - mellotron on vibes setting
4. Formentera Lady - Rough mix from album recording sessions
5. Sailor's Tale - Rough mix from album recording sessions
6. Drop In - Early rehearsal by Islands lineup
7. The Letters - Live at Plymouth, mastered by David Singleton
8. Sailor's Tale - Live at the Zoom Club, mastered by David Singleton

Islands: Additional tracks: Assorted Ladies:

1. Ladies of the Road - Robert Fripp & David Singleton remix
2. Ladies of the Road - Original recording sessions - take 5
3. Formentera Lady - Original recording sessions - take 1
4. Formentera Lady - Original recording sessions - take 3
5. Formentera Lady - Original recording sessions - take 4

As you can see from the extras on the DVD this is a collectors dream of a release from a prog rock band that are now discovering a new way to play on each album driven mainly by line up changes. A worthy re-issue and a great album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Islands - King Crimson, 29 July 2003
This review is from: Islands (Audio CD)
An oft overlooked offering from KC from 1971, and a bit of a shame as it contains two absolute masterpieces in the title track and The Sailors Tale. It also boasts (almost) the only decent set of lyrics Peter Sinfield presented to the band. For once Sinfield chose to write with his heart rather than his head; prefering to make us feel as opposed to trying to impress us. This is particularly true on the the title track where his island/nautical images delightfully convey the message of loneliness and a desire for love. No Man is an Island, indeed. Robert Fripp's guitar is all but absent from this track, and the song is driven by Keith Tippet's sublime piano work. Fellow jazzers Robin Miller (oboe) and Mark Charig (cornet) wonderfully understated contributions combine to make this arguably KC's finest work.
Fripp's guitar is very much to the fore in the album's other tour-de-force The Sailor's Tale - an instrumental in three main parts. Fripp's clanking metallic gutar solo in the middle section still astounds after thirty years.
Of the other tracks Prelude and Formentera Lady slip by pleasantly enough, but the best of the rest is The Letters. Although the poison pen letters do seem rather too polite to truly convey what is passing between the two ladies concerned, not a word is wasted by Sinfield in the 16 lines of lyrics.
Which brings us to Ladies of the Road - the fly in the ointment. Even if Mr Sinfield's tongue was in his cheek when he penned this lot, it still comes across as misogynistic twaddle and like the music itself appears out of place on this (or indeed any KC) album.
Nevertheless, buy Islands now and be prepared to be delighted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vastly under-rated, 18 Mar 2009
By 
Mr. P. W. Sanders "peterwsanders" (London England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) (Audio CD)
Many people dislike this album, but it's a flawed masterpiece. Taken as a whole, it is musical, gutsy, melodic, surprising all at the same time, and even Pete Sinfield's words are bearable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars their best album, 30 Jan 2009
This review is from: Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) (Audio CD)
sad that islands always gets a bit of a beating in most overviews of the bands output. yup its quiet in parts and the lyrics a bit frilly. what really works on islands though for me is the way its layered together and produced. there is a real restraint throughout.

its a case of the 'spaces' in the music suggesting a totally understated groove, the only dip in the whole album is 'prelude: song of the gulls' , id have preferred an extended monster version of 'a sailors tale' personally - but thats a minor niggle.

headphones really bring out this album and there are many exhilirating moments, the sax explosion at the start of 'the letters' is just one... its probably a solitary album although not dark.

musicially, it always seems to be a 70's cousin of the equally powerful last two talk talk albums...

just returned to this album this week, its in a very small collection of albums that still holds interest after almost 20 years (yikes) of discovering it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it or leave it, 13 Jun 2008
By 
This review is from: Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) (Audio CD)
I first heard this album when I was in high school during the end of the '70s, and found it pleasant and intriguing but seldom placed it on my turntable. Then I grew accustomed to it along the years, and about a decade later all along the '80s it became my ONLY KC album constantly played. Nowdays about 20 years later, I still play it on a regular basis and enjoy all the "nuances" it can develop, all the reviews stating it as a fantastic album or as an average quality for KC (which anyway means stellar for other bands) or even as a poor and weak album, tell a part of the story, they are all true simultaneously, depending on your mood and inner state of mind. So this is the only recomendation I can make, this is no easy listening stuff, it is an album which is made to survive time and fashions, in a way it is a classic. If you want music made to endure get it, otherwise leave it.
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Islands (30th Anniversary Edition)
Islands (30th Anniversary Edition) by King Crimson (Audio CD - 2009)
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