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Mike Oldfield - Incantations CD (album) cover

INCANTATIONS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 299 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
3 stars MIKE OLDFIELD'S first mis-step, 'Incantations' is overlong and musically sparse, despite the use of a small orchestra.

OLDFIELD fans had to wait three years for this, as the man underwent assertiveness training in preparation for his first tour. Fans forgave him with the announcement that 'Incantations' would be a double album, but were generally underwhelmed with the result. Though there are the usual moments of sheer melodic brilliance - the two minute trumpet 'call and reply' six or so minutes into side 1 is an example - much of the seventy-odd minutes is frustratingly minimalist, his creative genius firmly shackled. I can't help wondering if his exegesis therapy removed his creative edge. Certainly something happened to his sense of what his listeners would bear, so impeccable up to this point: virtually every idea here is overdrawn. None more so than the dreadful eight- minute interpretation of Longfellow's 'Hiawatha' - a poem of dubious literary merit and unquestioningly tasteless - sung in the most monotonous fashion by a very nasal MADDY PRIOR. I'm listening to it now: there are still six minutes to go, and you can bet I ain't gonna listen to them. Nope, I didn't.

Can an album be redeemed by the last five minutes? OLDFIELD very nearly pulls it out of the fire with a very convincing finale, appropriating another North American motif and creating another of his patented sonic climaxes, this time with a vibraphone (!) as centrepiece.

Within a year MIKE OLDFIELD would begin creating very different albums in direct response to the onset of punk and disco. This was not the brightest note on which to finish the first phase of his career.

As an aside, his first offering of this 'second phase' of his career was a single called 'Guilty', which is, in fact, a disco rendering of 'Incantations Part 1' main theme. Shudder.

russellk | 3/5 |

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