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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 619 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars After the unexpected sucessi of Tubular Bells, Mike retreated to a countryside home near the Wales/England border, that resided on the edge of the magnificent Hergest Ridge. He was emotionally unprepared for such a demand of his influence or the amount of requests for interviews and the pressure on him to tour, which frightened him into taking refuge in the country to write his next symphonic masterpeice.

Free of pressure, on his own except for the visits from guest musicians, he set to work on writing and recorded his second album. I suspect he spent his free time wandering on the beautiful ridge, becuase I sense it's large impact on the sound and warm atmosphere of the music. I once heard another fan say he can listen to the whole album and visualize what aspect of the mountain the music might have been referring to, like the pure beauty of the intro riff putting an image of a perfect sunset on hergest ridge into your minds eye, the glares of the sun glancing off blades of grass as it lowered from view, or the slower sections depicting the look of the clouds as the drifted by in the blue sky.

The music was slower and more developing and connected than the previous album, leaving behind most hints of the commercial rock peice sometimes present in Tubular Bells. Incorperating more instruments still, he shows the effect and ability of wind instruments, choirs and orchestras melting together with more convential instruments like the guitar,bass and keyboards to magnificent effect.

The etheral and dreamy landscape never bored you, having much substance to keep te listener engaged and interested in what was developing as time went by. Peices cold turn from a slow oboe section to a amazing peice of bass guitar seamlessly. It was far ahead of the original Tubular Bells, better making use of the "Part" format to suggest more specific ideas or coming off in different ways, perhaps contrasting sides of an album. The compositional work is sound and outstanding throughout the record, letting you know Oldfield wasn't a one-hit wonder and was advancing quickly into breaking more boundaries and creating unique peices of history with each release.

An album that sets a strong atmosphere, it's a unique and essential addition to any music collection, surpassing the first album in over all quality, but retaining key aspects that lead to its sucess in the first place.

But he wasn't done yet. The climax of his creativity was yet to come.

OGTL | 5/5 |


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