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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 619 ratings

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3 stars ''Tubular bells'' was one of the best selling music products in the UK, over 2,500,000 copies were bought by the public, while the main theme of the album became the soundtrack of the horror film ''The excorcist''.Oldfield was not quite comfortable with this sudden popularity and relocated to the English countryside, near Kington in Herefordshire.1974 sees him participating on Robert Wyatt's album ''Rock bottom'', while he had already started working on a second album.During the spring of 1974 he returned to The Manor Studios and recorded ''Hergest ridge'', named after a hill near his house and close to the England-Wales borders.The album was released in August on Virgin and features drummer Chili Charles, Lindsay Cooper and June Whiting on oboe, Clodagh Simonds (from Mellow Candle) and Sally Oldfield on vocals, Ted Hobart on trumpet and David Bedford as the strings&choir conductor.Mike Oldfield plays acoustic and electric guitars, different organs and percussion and mandolin on the album.

Oldfield was not enthusiastic about his star rising, but at the same time he was not ready to abandon the long and atmosphertic music forms as presented on ''Tubular bells''.As a consequence ''Hergest ridge'' was yet another attempt on refined Orchestral Prog Rock with spacey, symphonic and pronounced British Folk flavors, split in two parts, each lasting a bit over or under 20 minutes long.The music is mostly instrumental and listening to the first part you can just admire the genius and talent of this young English composer and multi-instrumentalist.The material passes through various orchestrations, which combine Modern Classical Music with British Folk, but the cosmic grooves of ''Tubular bells'' along with the soft electric melodies are alive and kicking in this track as well.The mood is airy, pleasant and ethereal, the orchestrations with the wind instruments and string parts are beautiful, so are the rural soundscapes created by Oldfield via his acoustic guitar and the light organ parts.Charming instrumental delivery, which says farewell with a cinematic choir and Olfield's bells and recorders.As expected the second part shows no significant stylistic differences compared to the first, the music has still a strong Folk touch, but the opening minutes offer female vocals and mandolin next to the smooth electric guitars, while from the middle part begins an innovative instrumental section with guitar distortions fused with electronics and orchestral effects.Really fascinating and genuine music before the outro, which is an acoustic one with recorders, choirs and symphonic keyboards in an almost Celtic-like and grandiose melody.

Pretty great work of dreamy Progressive Rock fused with strong Folk melodies and Classical sections.Strongly recommended, especially if you love also the works of STEVE HACKETT, GORDON GILTRAP or ANTHONY PHILLIPS...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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