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Mike Oldfield - Boxed CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Well as I've given the first 3 albums an average of 4 stars then I should give 4 stars for all in one box set! You also get bonus tracks such as 'Portsmouth' and 'In dulci jubilo' (The Xmas record!) and a funny alternative version of the 'Sailor's Hornpipe' featuring a very drunk Viv Stanshaw giving a Monty Python like narrative on old paintings hanging in The Manor.If you already have his first 3 albums though then it really has to be 2 stars ''Only For Completionists' .So i'll compromise and go 3 stars!
Report this review (#28325)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Three of a kind

A good way of acquiring Oldfield's first three albums ("Tubular Bells", "Hergest Ridge" and "Ommadawn" ) in one set. The original LP "Boxed" set had four disk, the fourth entitled "Collaborations" being a collection of his works with others such as David Bedford and Leslie Penning, from around the same period. On the CD version, these tracks have been dispersed and appended to the three CDs.

There's little point in duplicating the reviews of the three individual albums here, but mention should be made that they have been remixed and remastered for this collection. The difference is quite apparent, and a significant improvement, while faithfully maintaining the integrity of the original recordings.

The tracks from the fourth LP are a mixed bunch of short tracks, the singles such as "In Dulci Jubilo" being understandably more commercial, while others are clearly only included for "completeness".

Report this review (#28326)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a very unique box set. After three albums Oldfield was already seeking more perfection on the originals hence new polished releases, all highly achievable in terms of end results. HR probably being the best round off. The jewel though is Collaborations where he joins forces with none other than the esteemed David Bedford,' Argiers' , 'First Excursions' and ' Phaecian games' the cream of the crop. If you have this gem on vinyl guard it well!!
Report this review (#28327)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Besides the absolutely normal signification of gathering the first three albums of Mike Oldfield's culminant start, plus some unreleased or unenclosed specials, there is a symbolic connotation in Boxed that you should not miss out of the viewpoint. Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn are masterpieces (the second one less of a perfect definition, still.still!). And it's not only the fact that what will follow falls into a "next best" category. It's simply a garnished convenient boxset containing master music from the artist. It's an inspired move, from my point of view, and a recommended compilation, just thinking that others to come over the years will be a bit of a voiled, still, casual thing. This one holds the moment tight and the essence is pico bello. As charts for compilations aren't such a common thing, I won't go into such a hilarious explanation, but Boxed surely worths everything and is a good feature by its own.

Now as the studio albums have their own power and their own words, discussing much about them standing in a compilation context isn't much an idea. In Boxed, references however point out towards a "remixed", as the common word goes, version of the three albums, a perfectioned sound or an other way of interpretation, these in short essences and subtle editing, of course. Still I must say, that except Tubular Bells, which is a clear third version accomplishment (and how quick!...and thinking that the future parts are criticized.), I sense no remix whatsoever in the other two. If it is, it's such a small allusion, it's impossible to feel it differently. Don't want to say it is a failure of context by this, but if Oldfield did indeed placed a re-work upon the 1974 and 1975 album, it's something done curiously small. In a funny way it can be called minimalist. The main idea is to not expect anything else than the known albums in the set. I was personally keen on hearing them in a different version as well. Still that's the fact. No impression of new.

Succinct disc-by-disc description: Tubular Bells is faithful to the original, not the disambiguation that Orchestral was. Original stays original, yet this one is just as enjoyable, offering through the worked moments a more apart scent and a delicate flavor. Contrast is after all not grand, but it is a notable reference by its own. Rio Grande is nice in its form. As for Portsmouth and In Dulci Jubilo are short essence Mike Oldfield gems, of a charisma and an authentic mode than melts your soul. Pure jovialism, pure reflection of a fantastic life lover, music streamer. Sounds much for 2 minutes pieces, still trust me completely. These are absolutely fantastic.

Hergest Ridge = indigo stripped. The three side tracks are a bit more ambiguous and they miss the scenario, in my opinion. The first is tad too clustered in an attempt of complexity and symphonic dynamics, doesn't resemble that much. Second goes charming and fluent. Third irritated me (I literally shouted what the.). What is that thing?!

Ommadawn = indigo stripped. The bonus tracks are just a simple moment of reflection as well. Not anything unworthy in them, still the contrast with the main material serves as the opposite of an attraction or of a dimensioning point. Casual, fluent, of the prologue impute.

A recommended asset. Mainly it is just a collection item and I can't tell that it will provide the difference of the original. But it is a successful concept and an interesting pack. After all, it's not just the titles that offer a certain prestige to the entire set, but the music itself bring the reflection upon something that is undoubtedly genuine moment, brought in a fashionable form. Anyway, don't overlook Boxed is all I can say.

Report this review (#84577)
Posted Sunday, July 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this vinyl in Amsterdam on a market for ?5,- and am extremely glad I bought it! It's a boxset with remixed, quadrophonic versions of the albums Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and there's a 4th album called Collaborations which contains compositions Mike has recorded with other artists. This album was exclusively released with this set. I'm not familiar with the original mixes but research through the web pretty much made it clear to me that these are the best mixes available of those albums. Each composition is filled to the fullest with original ideas, all kinds of moods and instruments and it all flows perfectly. For ?5,- this was the best bargain I ever bought. Every serious musiclover should own a copy!!!!! I got the cd version now, and (also with the aid of some information on a Mike Oldfield-forum) found out it's the same quad-mix as on the original vinyl edition. It states 'This cd set is in Stereo', but that's probably printed not to scare away people who aren't familiar with quad. On the cd version the Collaborations-tracks are scattered to fill out the three discs.
Report this review (#101705)
Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was a great boxset and value at the time, a great way to get the three classic albums, and the addition of the singles as an extra disc. It was this release that contained the remix of the great Hergest Ridge, that would be the only version released from that point on. The other albums have minimal changes.

Also comes with a great full size picture booklet, overall a quality package and for the price a definite value. Unfortunately the CD version is nearly $40, and its more economical to buy the seperate remasters.

A well executed compilation, worth picking up if you can find a good conditioned copy in vinyl format. For the inclusion of the singles and the jacked up price of the CD, it falls to 4.5 stars. All three studio albums are however, essential masterpeices!!

Report this review (#108094)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you want the best of Mike Oldfield in one go, you can do no better than buying this set, which is far preferable to the more expensive ELEMENTS, for the following reasons:

1. Oldfield's most original work (his first three albums) is here, almost in its entirety. (As far as I know, only "On Horseback", from OMMADAWN, is left off - no great loss.)

2. For extras, you get some real goodies. Most notably, there are several fascinating excerpts from albums Oldfield recorded with the British composer David Bedford (who used to play alongside him in Kevin Ayers' band). I've never heard Bedford's albums, but judging from the fragments included here, they are magnificent attempts to fuse a symphony orchestra with electric guitar. "First Excursion", for example, sounds like Terje Rypdal - the brilliant Norwegian guitarist - at his most lyrical.

3. True, Oldfield's pop hits from the 1980s (e.g. "Moonlight Shadow" and "To France") are absent from BOXED, whereas ELEMENTS includes them, but on ELEMENTS you also have to put up with two discs' worth of third-rate material! (Moreover, ELEMENTS only contains a tiny snippet from AMAROK, a highly entertaining one-hour suite that you REALLY ought to hear from A to Z.)

Report this review (#126417)
Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars I have the original 4-LP vinyl set, and it strikes me that something might have been lost in the translation to CD box set, since every original LP has to be filled out with extras, whereas in the vinyl each of Oldfield's major releases gets a disc and the 4th is neatly divided into David Bedford collaborations and singles and B-sides. Ultimately it probably does not change my rating but I just wanted to mention the distinctly different running order on the CDs.

The 3 initial Oldfield albums are all given a superior remaster here, with "Hergest Ridge" benefiting most, although Viv Stanshall's description of the manor during the "Sailor's Hornpipe" on TB is also a distinct improvement. The "extras" are also of at least historical interest, with the Bedford works being a bit too bloated in an orchestral proggy sense but still collectible, and "Argiers", with Oldfield strumming a melancholic acoustic guitar and Leslie Penning leading on equally hypnotic recorder is one of Oldfield's unsung masterpieces. Remember to breathe after the ending.

I hate to box myself in, but this gets 3.5 stars rounded down as it is really a gift for Oldfield fans rather than a place to start.

Report this review (#205650)
Posted Saturday, March 7, 2009 | Review Permalink

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