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Mike Oldfield - Heaven's Open  CD (album) cover

HEAVEN'S OPEN

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

2.51 | 126 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

LaserDave
4 stars This album is commonly dispensed with as one of his less serious and less important works. It is usually said that Oldfield recorded this album only to end his contract with Virgin Records, with which he was in conflict since quite a long time. On this album Mike presents himself as "Michael Oldfield" while his producer Tom Newman appears as "Thom Newman" - which was a small joke by Mike.

No doubt - this is a strange album, quite different, from his other works. It is however also more personal and more experimental. The five pop songs that fill the first side of the album are all written by Mike and sung by him. All of them (possibly) show his disappointment with Virgin Records and its leader, Richard Branson, who became a millionare when Mike's first longplay, Tubular Bells became a huge hit. They are quite personal and the lyrics are very well written, and very well performed - Mike is a very good vocalist, as he proves, he has a very appealing voice and his emotional involvement can be seen most on the title cut and No Dream. The pop songs are not just a filler, they are better than many of his previous pop songs.

The long suite Music From The Balcony is more problematic. It is quite chaotic and, contrary to his normal instrumental pieces, contains almost no melodies. It may be considered as an etude, rather than a regular track, but has a feeling and atmosphere of its own and probably needs time and re-listening to like it. It is filled with lots of strange sounds, the ones you would never suspect Oldfield to put into his music. Several motives (like the chirping percussion sample) are reprised a few times, but the track doesn't seem to have any regular build. Is it wrong?

All in all this album doesn'r sound as bad as many people picture it. The songs are great and the participation of the composer himself makes them really stand out from the line of his previous pop songs.

LaserDave | 4/5 |

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