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Mike Oldfield - Music of the Spheres CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.04 | 211 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars I'm always interested in hearing Mike Oldfield's newest material, because I do love the way he plays guitar, secondly because I credit Tubular Bells as the album which helped me awaken to music and consider it more than just background ambience, and most importantly, as with any brilliant musician, there exists a chance that he will recapture his past creativity, or even more excitingly, excel himself and progress into new territory. Alas, this album holds no surprises.

In lieu of any exciting songwriting, our budding multi-instrumentalist chooses to lavishly swamp his album in a beautifully rendered orchestral atmosphere and it has to be said that the quality of the sound itself approaches perfection. Having been so moved by his debut, I didn't wish to see the man reduced to recording technical demos, yet I can't find another positive thing to say about Music of the Spheres.

The music has been molded into a roughly forty-five minute package, split down the middle in a similar way to the double suites of his more creative works but further divided into movements. These early retro and classical hints prove telling as, as soon as we press play, we are treated to a simple, spacious pattern for piano and strings that sounds suspiciously like the famous Tubular Bells ostinato! That should certainly be a casual fan pleaser but because I was so underwhelmed by his subsequent Bells albums, it struck me as more of a death knell. So, here we go again? I didn't want to consign the album to a bad review as early as this, so at first, I pressed Stop and decided to continue tomorrow. If I was playing this one for laughs, here's where I would write, Now I regret waking up at all, because all the morning brought was further disappointment.

The sum of the work here can be regarded as a standard film score, replete with scenic references, all with quite an urgent desire to manipulate you, i.e, this movement should make you feel cowed by majesty, this one should evoke wistfulness and this one represents you soaring above a snow-capped mountain line clinging to the back of the majestic King of the Eagles. If every Hollywood soundtrack you've ever heard has struck you as poignantly as the first, then you'll cherish this, but if you're a little more jaded when it comes to having your puppet strings jolted in such a formulaic way, you'll react to Music of the Spheres much more stoically. At the last, this is not a return to form but a simple recycling of better, timeless ideas.

laplace | 2/5 |


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