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Mike Oldfield - Incantations CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.94 | 500 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Incantations is probably the most ambitious work of Mike Oldfield. Tubular Bells is the most famous of Mike's albums because, being the first, was a true novelty at the time. Incantations might not be as original, but is the result of the full development of the style he then initiated.

Incantations gives easy-listening a good name. The music on this album flows like the course of a river. The themes succeed one another in the most smooth possible way. The instrumentation is superb, as usual. But the music and the structure are anything but banal.

In general, Mike introduces the themes repeated times before starting the variations and solos. The main themes reemerge a few times along the way.

There are some minor flaws in it, nevertheless. In general, they result of a bit of excess. The choir in Part 1 is beautiful, but a bit overextended. So are Sally Oldfield's vocals in Part 2, and the first six minutes of it a bit boring. The vocal parts are the only time when Mike's gentleness deteriorates a little into cornyness.

Aside that, the melodies are so beautiful and captivating that I can never get tired of listening. The melodies build up and settle down successively, until Part 4 provides what is, to me, the perfect climax and closing to the whole piece. I love the way he uses the percussion throughout, the African drums and vibraphone, a feature that gives Incantations a particular feel. The way he combines percussion and guitars is specially appealing. This mix stands out specially on Parts 3 and 4, that have some breath-taking guitar solos.

Despite all the talk about Tubular Bells, and though I gave them the same rating, I like Incantations much better. It has all the qualities of the former, without most of its flaws. Whence the former is like a rough diamond, Incantations sounds clear and lapidated. Sometimes a little bit too much lapidated. Here, the damage is done through exageration.

Still, almost always the music is explored and developed to its full potential. Listening to Incantations, I can't help to think of Mike as a classical composer of the second half of 20th Century, a craftsman of melodies.

bfmuller | 4/5 |


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