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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 620 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album, MIKE OLDFIELD'S second, is a retreat in every sense of the word.

Overwhelmed by the success of 'Tubular Bells', OLDFIELD retreated to the countryside to write and record this second album. The result is pastoral, restrained and, to this ear, just a little thin. There are far fewer ideas here, and though they are well developed, there simply are not the moments of drama and excitement he offers in his other first-period albums.

That said, what he does here is so very well done. The multi-tracking is much more accomplished here than on his debut, and there are none of the cringeworthy moments that marred that otherwise excellent record. The album is more symphonic in its structure than 'Tubular Bells', with the opening theme repeated and developed at various places, until the record reaches a gentle climax at the end of side two. OLDFIELD used this technique on virtually all his subsequent albums, even during his 1980s 'pop' phase, to provide continuity across each album.

Most importantly, on this record OLDFIELD begins to reveal his utter mastery of melody. It is this facility above all others that has endeared him to his legion of fans - his ability to move the listener with the sheer eye-pricking beauty of a musical phrase. The last three minutes of the album stand testament to this.

Given the pressure on him after the enourmous success of 'Tubular Bells', I'm amazed he was able to issue anything anywhere near as good as this. An album that will forever remain in the shadow of its predecessor, but one well worth listening to in its own right. Just don't expect any pyrotechnics.

russellk | 4/5 |


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