With orchestrations by the renowned Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner and a luminous production (assisted by Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera), there is virtuosity a plenty. Crosby and Nash sing harmonies, Robert Wyatt plays the cornet, Caroline Dale the cello and Alasdair Molloy the glass harmonica. Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright guests on Hammond organ, while Gilmour sweeps and soars with his often soul-piercing guitar and vocals. Yet the album never becomes grandiose. At its heart, it remains a reflective piece, not least because of the lyrics.
Although Gilmour takes some writing credits, most go to writer Polly Samson, continuing a collaborative partnership that began with The Division Bell. The songs tell of shared experiences that evoke a breadth of moods, from the hauntingly beautiful title track ‘On An Island’ (with a guitar performance set to enter the Gilmour canon of classics) to the meditative ‘The Blue’ and ‘A Pocketful of Stones’, as well as the heavier rock and blues numbers ‘Take A Breath’ and ‘This Heaven’. In the spirit of intimacy, this album sees Gilmour’s debut on the saxophone, as well as contributions by contemporaries from his pre-Floyd days.
On An Island is a collection of songs and instrumentals that had its genus in the critically acclaimed 2002 London Festival Hall concerts. Gilmour has stepped out of his super-group to continue his solo work. ‘It’s my best and most personal work,’ he says. ‘Making it with my musician friends has been a positive experience on so many levels.’ And touring it this spring can only take him to a new high.
The ten tracks on the album, which has been produced by David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera and Chris Thomas, are:
- On An Island
- The Blue
- Take a Breath
- Red Sky at Night
- This Heaven
- Then I Close My Eyes
- A Pocketful of Stones
- Where We Start
Additional performers on the album include David Crosby, Graham Nash, Richard Wright, Robert Wyatt, Phil Manzanera, Jools Holland, Georgie Fame, Caroline Dale, Guy Pratt, Willie Wilson, and, from Pink Floyd’s earliest incarnation, Rado ‘Bob’ Klose.
The ON AN ISLAND tour starts in Europe in March, goes to USA in April and returns to the UK at the end of May, with concerts in Manchester, Glasgow and London.
There are a number of exciting promotions in the online world that are beginning to take shape as this is being written. Both an autographed guitar and a trip to Los Angeles to see one of the sold-out David Gilmour concerts are being given away as part of a sweepstakes that will launch shortly. Other prizes such as limited edition lithographs and baseball hats will also be available to contest winners.