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Mike Oldfield - Incantations CD (album) cover

INCANTATIONS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.93 | 405 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Walkscore
4 stars Original, but Laden.

Oldfield attempted to go beyond his first three albums, by writing an even-longer and more orchestral piece stretching now to four sides of a double- (vinyl) album. The result is highly original, often very musical, and totally Oldfield. However, it over-reaches, particularly on the first two sides. And there is not enough of Oldfield's distinct guitar playing (especially on the first two sides) . I use the word "laden" for this one - it is overly laden with expectations, instrumentation, and repetition. It sounds like Oldfield was trying to come up with something that would meet the now-huge expectations from his fans and the British music press for producing something new and original that went beyond TB and Ommadawn. To do this, he stretched it out to a double-album, but to accomplish this, he had to write in a number of repeats and codas, which are particularly evident on the first two sides. This album also comes across as overly-precise, and in turn, a bit cold, probably because there was an expectation that his next move should come close to perfection, given the slight timing flaws on his earlier albums (which were recorded all by him, without sequencers, etc). On Incantations, the sound quality is very crisp, and the playing is perfectly timed. The xylophones shimmer. But the growth in instrumentation takes away from the guitar, which here plays more of a bit part. Nonetheless many (but not all) of the sections are quite musical, and I particularly like sides 3 and 4, each of which is a shorter piece (roughly 16 mins) not overly-given to repetition (whereas sides 1 and 2 are over 19 minutes each). If Oldfield hadn't tried so hard to stretch this out to four sides, it could have been another 5-star single album. Saying all this, I think this one is still up there among the best of Oldfield's catalogue, his fifth-best studio album (after Five Miles Out, which I put as his fourth-best). I give this 8.3 out of 10 on my 10-point scale.

Walkscore | 4/5 |

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