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Mike Oldfield - Incantations CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 427 ratings

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5 stars I'm tempted to call this album the finest prog release of Mike Oldfield, and perhaps the most cruelly overlooked progressive rock album of the classic era. While I agree that "Ommadawn" and "Amarok" are his best albums, "Incantations" is his greatest achievement, if only for its scope.

Extending the length of his compositions and pushing the idea of the multi-part suite to the limit, each track intertwines multiple melodies resolving themselves over the course of the album, often revisiting prior themes which make the lengthy suite feel more cohesive (as opposed to his earlier work like "Tubular Bells", which feels dislocated at times). While the individual parts seem at times overly repetitive even by Oldfield standards, it is because of the rigid underlying structure of the album; each melody modulates through every single key, following the circle of fifth. Therefore, every theme repeats until it has gone through every tonality before the next theme is introduced.

If you're prepared to excuse the heavy use of repetition, "Incantations" is a very rewarding listen, and the lush, imaginative arrangements are a real treat; orchestration is great, rhythmic patterns are hypnotising, the voice (once again by Sally Oldfield) is sumptuous and the sheer length of the piece seems to elevate the experience. Guitar does take a backseat for most of the album, the real focus being on the glorious use of vibraphones, African drums (returning from "Ommadawn") and diverse pitched percussive instruments. All in all, a superbly realized album and a masterpiece of progressive music; a real gem in Oldfield's catalogue and a testament to his compositional genius. Nothing short of a masterpiece, highest recommendation.

Scoppioingola | 5/5 |


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