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Mike Oldfield - Light + Shade CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

2.78 | 161 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars At least some music in Tres lunas used to charm me at first, but in time I began to feel like computer is replacing human heart. And I feel the same with Light + Shade which continues that 'new-agey' electronical contemporary style. As a single disc, leaving the worst tracks out, this would have been clearly better than Tres Lunas. Ten-minute 'First Steps' is very fine, among the best Mike has recorded in a decade. Some others in the first disc are also pretty good listening on the background. The second is more discoish but with some highlights there also. What irritates me (too) is the computer- made 'vocals'. They simply sound ugly. It seems the whole album is produced by Mike alone with his computers. Why no guest vocalists as in Tubular Bells III? Even Vangelis never was that stubborn - think of Montserrat Caballe's angelic vocals in El Greco being replaced by some Virtual Vocalist Software! Admittedly all the other instrumentation - computers or real instruments - is done here with skill. On some track the drums even sound quite real and good. And Mike's clear piano and electric guitar sounds can never go very wrong.

One more thing bothers me: I can't find any information in the leaflet about two tracks NOT being Mike's original compositions. 'Closer' is of course the well-known hymn (I don't know its English name, the one said to be played during the sinking of Titanic anyway) and one of the 2nd disc's tracks is a version of Narciso Yepes' theme from the French film Forbidden Games, 1952. Of course Mike couldn't try to pass them as his own compositions but shouldn't they be addressed to their origins? And one track on the 1st (sorry for not learning them by name...) comes close to the Sound of Music melody 'Edelweiss'. Maybe all this borrowing hints that his own melody source is drying bit by bit.

Anyway I have been certain for a long time that whatever 'new' paths Oldfield tries to explore, he won't make albums even half as remarkable as 20-30 years ago. The more he tries to follow the latest trends, the more sure that fact is. This one like mostly all of his later works won't stay alive for very many years; before long the listener has gotten totally bored of this computer-made music.

Matti | 2/5 |


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