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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 619 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars From the first it was apparent that Mike Oldfield is a fan of pastoral English folk music. He got a lot of his inspiration from his home on Hergest Ridge, but Opus 1, AKA "Tubular Bells", showed so many facets of the man that his folky leanings were but one aspect. "Hergest Ridge", the follow up, spells it out quite clearly. While similar in structure to TB, it is far more reflective and ethereal, with fewer harsh interruptions. This even keel is more curse than blessing though.

The main melody that is played on oboe by Lindsay Cooper on Part 1 may be one of the most beautiful ever committed to vinyl, reflecting the peace and refuge of the English countryside. It leaves me wanting more of the same, but unfortunately the album does not hit a lot of highs, being generally inoffensive. Its mere appearance after TB meant that the novelty of a single piece in a work of popular music was already starting to wear off.

Another must-hear section is the "storm" segment of Part 2. Elsewhere, particularly late on Side 1, we hear similarities to the more sedate parts of RICK WAKEMAN's concurrent work "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", probably more a matter of absorption of the fashion of 1974 than outright copying.

Looking back at the first 15 years of Oldfield's career, I conclude that this ridge marks a timid if pretty gully from which he would very soon rise afresh.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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