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Mike Oldfield - Incantations CD (album) cover

INCANTATIONS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 290 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars So, after Yes bombed critically with Tales..., who would be daft enough, certainly in the heady punk/new wave late 1970's, to issue a double LP consisting of a mere four tracks? In addition to this, basing the album around themes and including choral and orchestral arrangements? Surely, commercial and creative suicide in those heady days?

Well, thankfully, no, but I think Oldfield really deserves to be commended for taking such a bold step, and, at times, parts of this album are right up there with his best works, and this certainly, in my opinion, compares very strongly with Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge.

There are some lush arrangements on this album, and the whole is really a symphonic piece for what was then the modern era. Maddy Prior and Oldfield's sister, Sally, lend weight in their guest appearances, and both are excellent.

However, it is to me the orchestral strings by David Bedford, the contribution by Queens College Girls Choir, and some exceptional flute work by Sebastian Bell and Terry Oldfield, that, mixed with the trademark Oldfield guitar and some lush keyboards, make this album such a pleasure to listen to.

Also, unlike Topographic Oceans, which I found hard work during parts of sides two & three, I never get tired of hearing this throughout its entire length. Like all great symphonic pieces, it holds the attention, during quiet and rockier phases. However, my only criticism of the album is that, as much as I love Oldfield's harder rock edges, the phase on side three is not really in keeping with the ambient feel of everything else on the album. It's still good, but somehow slightly out of place.

Oldfield also anticipates the popularisation of world music on this album by including African drums, a fair few years before such instrumentation was utilised more widely.

All in all, a very strong release and a very brave one considering the time in which it came out.

Four stars. An excellent album from the instrumental master.

lazland | 4/5 |

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