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Mike Oldfield - Amarok CD (album) cover

AMAROK

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.07 | 398 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post Rock Team
4 stars Mike returns to his more adventurous, experimental side for Amarok. Just one hour long song. It almost sounds like an updated Ommadawn. Here Oldfield reunites with producer Tom Newman who produced Tubular Bells. Mike's most recent output had been very pop-oriented yet as late as 1987 he was still putting out 20-minute epics. Amarok is a very adventurous album for 1990. It must have took a lot of time and effort to record and mix this album.

Mike uses a wide variety of different instruments here. He even uses non-instruments like chairs and telephones to create sounds. Also lots of weird vocal sounds here as well. Generally the sections change quite often, never staying in the same place for too long. The louder parts really jump out at you. Don't try going to sleep listening to this. A very warm sounding dynamic recording. If this gets remixed/remastered in the future, I hope this dynamic range is not lost. The music is in many different styles including Celtic, African and flamenco.

The beginning is not as memorable as that on Tubular or Ommadawn. The ending isn't the greatest either. I like the voice throughout that says "happy?" Some people hate it, but not me. As usual, Mike's electric guitar playing is what stands out the most. There are some parts which sound reggae influenced which I like. The part around 10 minutes with the robotic voice and African sound is good. Love the bass tone used in this album. Before 14 minutes is a section similar to 'Sailor's Hornpipe' from Tubular. The music behind the teeth-brushing part is some of the best moments on the album.

Almost halfway you hear the chanted female voclas that come back near the end. Like the part with the Jew's Harp and 'caveman' vocals. After 42 minutes is one of the best parts; very reggae sounding with robotic vocals. Starting about 44:47 is the best section on the album. This section is excerpted for 'best of' compilations. Based around the female chanting and African drumming. Love the bass here and the 'caveman' vocals. At the end is a Margarent Thatcher impersonator. Probably the most pointless section of Amarok, it really sounds dated now.

A brave and bold musical statement from a guy who is more reserved and reclusive. This is a lot to sit through in one setting. Obviously some parts are better than others. A very good effort, I would give this a 3.5 but will round up to 4 stars because how many 60-minute songs were there in 1990 this good?

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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