On An Island is the third solo album by Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour’s 60th birthday, and in the US the following day. It was his first solo album in twenty two years since 1984’s About Face and twelve years since 1994’s Pink Floyd album The Division Bell.On an Island is the third solo album by Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour’s 60th birthday, and in the US the following day. It was his first solo album in twenty two years since 1984’s About Face and twelve years since 1994’s Pink Floyd album The Division Bell.
The album features Robert Wyatt, Jools Holland, Georgie Fame, David Crosby, Graham Nash, late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, early Pink Floyd member Bob Klose and Pink Floyd session and touring musician Guy Pratt. Chris Thomas and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera assisted with production. The lyrics were principally written by Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson.
Much of the album was recorded in Gilmour’s private studio aboard his houseboat Astoria. The track “Smile” was heard briefly in an unmastered form on the BBC2 show Three Men in a Boat which retraced a trip on the River Thames that passed the houseboat. Other sections were recorded at David’s farm in Sussex and Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios
Orchestrations on the album were arranged by noted Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner and conducted by Robert Ziegler. The orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Simon Rhodes.
The album also produced two singles; the title track “On an Island” and “Smile”, the latter peaking at #72 on the UK Singles Chart. “On an Island” also peaked at #27 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
Promo Single edits of “Take a Breath” and “This Heaven” were issued to coincide with the US leg of the tour, while “Smile” was the second single in the UK.
On an Island entered the UK charts at #1, giving Gilmour his first ever chart-topping album outside of Pink Floyd. It reached #1 on the European Chart, and #2 in Canada, Portugal and Iceland. It has also provided Gilmour with his first US Top 10 album, reaching #6. The album has achieved platinum status in Canada and has sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.
Gilmour toured the album with Richard Wright, Phil Manzanera and long-time members of the live Pink Floyd band, Guy Pratt and Jon Carin. Steve DiStanislao was brought in as drummer. The shows included the entire On an Island album plus Pink Floyd songs such as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “Echoes”, “Arnold Layne”, “High Hopes”, “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb” among others. No songs from Gilmour’s two previous solo albums were played. The tour is documented on the DVD/Blu-ray Remember That Night and the live album & DVD Live in Gdansk. (by wikipedia)
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. (by Thom Jurek)
BJ Cole (guitar on 07.)
David Crosby (vocals on 02.)
Caroline Dale (cello on 04., 05. + 07.)
Ilan Eshkeri (programming on 05. + 09.)
Georgie Fame (organ on 06.)
David Gilmour (guitar, vocals, lap steel guitar, keyboards, percussion, bass, saxophone, cümbüş, harmonica)
Jooly Holland (piano on 03.)
Rado Klose (guitar on 02, + 03.)
Chris Laurence (bass on 05. + 09.)
Alasdair Malloy (glass harmonica on 07. + 09.)
Phil Manzanera (guitar on 04., 06. + 07.)
Leszek Możdżer (piano on 04. + 09.)
Graham Nash (vocals on 02.)
Andy Newmark (drums on 02.,03., 96. + 10., percussion on 07.)
Guy Pratt (bass on 02. + 04.)
Polly Samson (piano on 03., background vocals on 08.)
Chris Stainton (organ on 03.)
Chris Thomas (keyboards on 09.)
Lucy Wakeford (harp on 09.)
Willie Wilson (drums on 08.)
Richard Wright (organ on 02., vocals on 03.)
Robert Wyatt (cornet, percussion, vocals on 07.)
Zbigniew Preisner (orchestration)
01. Castellorizon (Gilmour) 3.54
02. On An Island (Gilmour/Samson) 6.47
03. The Blue (Gilmour/Samson) 5.26
04. Take A Breath (Gilmour/Samson) 5.46
05. Red Sky At Night (Gilmour) 2.51
06. This Heaven (Gilmour/Samson) 4.24
07. Then I Close My Eyes (Gilmour/Samson) 5.26
08. Smile (Gilmour/Samson) 4.03
09. A Pocketful Of Stones (Gilmour/Samson) 6.17
10. Where We Start (Gilmour) 6.45