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Mike Oldfield - Five Miles Out CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.70 | 416 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars In this album and the next one, Crises, Oldfield returns to the tradition of having a side-long epic and the other side of shorter tracks (QE2 had rejected that habit in 1980 - naturally his first few albums had nothing but side-long compositions). Think what were the times: punk had happened and New Wave was everywhere, but Mike Oldfield stayed loyal to his own artistic expression and delivered some of the proggiest music of the era. OK, at this time he started writing also catchy pop songs (here's 'Family Man' with Maggie Reilly who would continue a chain of Oldfield hits), but isn't it much better to make good pop songs than bad semi-prog? Besides, even Family Man sounds very original and contains some "progressive" elements. Another hit is the title track in which Mike deals with his recently found dear hobby, flying. Actually it's fantastic, a bit nightmarish prog song with interestingly manipulated vocals shared by Maggie and Mike himself. Of course some of you might think it's ridiculous in its technical gimmickry but for me it's a strong and intriguing piece.

The instrumental 'Mount Teidi' is the weakest track and isn't really weak at all, I just happen to prefer the live version on The Complete Mike Oldfield. Here the potential of the composition is not captured equally well. 'Orabidoo' is an oddity featuring Reilly's vocals treated as instrument and some distant-sounding voice collache. It is somehow serene and strange at the same time, with many different elements nicely put into one. The side-long opener 'Taurus II' is a bold and brave work in unmistakable Oldfield style, running through various phases. After a fast and restless (but not too chaotic) section it calms down and Maggie Reilly starts singing a slow lullaby theme. And little by little the intensity rises again. A great composition but the last ten minutes are not as good.

One of the best Oldfield albums since Incantations. The song-oriented pop side is already creeping in, but here it's in perfect balance with more experimental, progressive expression. A must for Oldfield fans, and an amazing prog work of the times. In addition of continuing the progressive rock tradition which the big crowd hated, it was also modern - and yet it avoided all the pitfalls of the present-day mechanical pop business. Funny, I first heard this already in my teens (my sister had the LP) but it was just recently that I realized this is better than I thought.

Matti | 4/5 |


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