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Mike Oldfield - Ommadawn CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1219 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
4 stars Whatever songwriting flaws that were present on Tubular Bells have been refined to form what is by far Oldfield's best work. Like Tubular Bells, Ommadawn contains a single song, broken into two parts, exploring many different moods and atmospheres through the use of a plethora of different instruments. Fortunately, this time around the song-wrting is much more concise, and more focused on melody and emotionally evocative soundscapes instead of the wonky experimentation of the debut.

The progression of sound is beautifully expressed throughout the song, with constant dynamic sound, mood, and intensity changes. Part One opens with the delicate main theme played on guitar, but gradually gains energy and intensity to form the bouncy, cheerful, upbeat section about 7-minutes in. This lasts for about a minute before plummeting into a quieter, introspective section, not long before Oldfield shows off some of his musicianship with a combination of sweeping guitar runs and soulful playing. This segues into the return of the main theme overlaid by some chanting and percussion work to make the section interesting atmospherically. And of course, this gradually builds up in volume and intensity for a climactic finish.

Part Two opens with a blending of instruments that create a dark, yet "hopeful" atmosphere that progresses for quite a while until settling into a quieter, serene section with wandering acoustic guitar and bagpipe work which give it an almost New Age feel. The song ends with an upbeat barrage of guitar work.

I believe this is one of those albums you really need to pay attention to every detail and nuance to get the most out of it, and definitely takes a while to "understand," as it generally lacks the energy and intensity of many prog bands such as Rush and Yes. But those willing to spend time with it should undoubtedly be rewarded.


Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |


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