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Mike Oldfield - Amarok CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 547 ratings

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2 stars After a series of half prog-pop albums throughout most of the 1980s, in which the quality of the side long prog track declined with each release, MIKE OLDFIELD dispensed with the requisite magnum opus on "Earth Moving", the single worst album of his career. As if in reaction, he followed this with a CD consisting of one 60 minute track, "Amarok" which many saw as a return to form.

Mike even enlisted some old friends like PADDY MOLONEY of CHIEFTAINS fame, who had appeared on "Five Miles Out", and CLODAGH SIMMONDS ("Ommadawn"), to appease and convince long time fans that this was the real deal. Indeed, how could he miss the mark with so much going for him. But miss it he did, hugely, with what sounds like outtakes from his 1970s classics, each 30 second interval sounding fine on its own but diminished by its utter disregard for its neighbours. This is a slapdash goulash of deliberately undeveloped concepts that rarely impress even as much as the mediocre "Wind Chimes", its most recent predecessor at the time. It's intentionally schizophrenic, but rather than furnishing even virtual links it severs them. Even on the vividly disjointed "Taurus 2", there was rhyme and reason and yes, melody.

This isn't entirely lost, but even in the MP3 era, it's too hard to extract the 8 or so outstanding minutes - mostly those with tribal rhythms as a cross between "Five Miles out"and "Ommadawn" without improving upon them in the slightest, from their murky milieu. This is like the "on the rebound" album, where the second relationship is only better because it is so different, and it couldn't have been worse anyway. True, but not by much.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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