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Mike Oldfield - Amarok CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 539 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A reimagining of the approach of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn for the CD age, Virgin had been desperately hoping for a Tubular Bells II out of this one but what they got in the end was more reminiscent of Ommadawn than the other two of Mike's first three albums - the fascination with Irish folk music is back with a vengeance, in particular. Starting out with a more dissonant and chaotic section with heavy amounts of sampling, once the piece actually gets underway what we get is a 1 hour revisit of the Ommadawn concept which, whilst it isn't quite up to the high standard set by its predecessor, comes very very close indeed.

Close - but no cigar. The major problem with the work is that there's an air of insincerity running through it - whereas Ommadawn was infused with a sense of genuine musical exploration, here it feels like Oldfield is wheeling out a bunch of studio tricks for the simple reason that he can. It doesn't help that Oldfield goes out of the way to include an overt parody of Margaret Thatcher towards the end of the album in a failed attempt to put a new spin on Viv Stanshall's Master of Ceremonies performance in Tubular Bells - whilst the impersonator is rather good, in retrospect this rather dates the piece in a way Stanshall's interjection in Bells doesn't.

On top of that, there's the infamous hidden barbs directed at Richard Branson and Virgin Records that litter the composition for those who wish to seek them out, which leave a rather bitter taste in the mouth. Whilst individual parts of the release are quite lovely, the composition as a whole feels like it comes from a place of anger, petulance, and just plain bad feeling, and that rather poisons the proceedings in a sad and needless way.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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