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Mike Oldfield - The Complete Mike Oldfield CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog

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5 stars A great overview of this gifted composer/musicians work up to 1985 which examines all sides of Oldfield' talents from brooding miminalist to master of the pop song. It is presented in categorized form rather than chronologically and examines individually, the different forms of Oldfield's wonderfully esoteric music. We have separate instrumental, complex, vocal and live sections and on the original vinyl release in 1985 each section occcupied it's respective side on the double LP. The real treat is the live side which comprises previously unavailable selections which also fit into the three previous categories giving the listener a taste of Oldfield playing and writing in all three of these modes in a live environment. As many of Oldfields complex pieces run into the 20 minute plus area timewise it is inevitable that they will have to be scaled down. Neverthless, good impressions can be gleaned from these tracks in the complex section wich features the first parts of his three masterworks, Tubular Bells, Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge . Great shorter selections display Oldfield's ability to write shorter vocal and instrumental pieces with equal skill. All his works up to 1985 are represented on this double disc and the listener even is given a taste of Oldfield as a movie soundtrack composer with an excerpt from the ominous "Evacuation" from the award winning film The Killing Fields. A glorious anthology of this brilliant and methodical musical mind is guaranteed to enlighten one to the magic of Mike Oldfield . Sit back,enjoy.
Report this review (#28641)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars ''The very incomplete Mike Oldfield'' this should have been named.The first 2 sides are just for collectors/fans only and really only warrant 2-3 stars on their own.The instrumental side is just the end bits from his seventies instrumental suites plus a peice from the Killing Fields soundtrack thrown in.Not much thought has gone into these choices at all and you are much better off getting the original albums (as I'm sure you've already done!).2 stars maybe.What makes this collection worth getting is the side of previously unreleased live tracks.This is top stuff and catches Mike and band perfectly.'Platinum' in particular is brilliant and shows an evolution from the peice that originally appeared on the album of the same name.5 stars.Overall then 3 stars is just about warranted thanks to the live side.
Report this review (#28642)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Live Side and the singles are what's worth the money on this album. "Mistake" is my favorite single, and "Sheba" my favorite live piece. Listen carefully, listen loudly and you'll like it. Maggie Reilly really shines there!
Report this review (#28643)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Or is it "The incomplete Mike Oldfield"?

Certainly as far as disc two is concerned, the rather arbitrary extraction of 4 to 8 minute segments from Oldfield's first four albums is to say the least unsatisfactory. The whole appeal of "Tubular Bells", "Ommadawn" etc, is that they are complete pieces. At worst, it would just about be acceptable to include one of the sides from each album, but the selections here are far too random and ill thought out. It seems strange that with around 150 minutes of time being available on a 2 disc set, the curtailing of these extracts results in this collection running for only 110 minutes.

The album is split into four well defined sections. Part one, "The instrumental section" would be better titled "The short instrumentals intended as singles section". Part two, "the vocal's section" includes some of Oldfield's well know singles such as the excellent "Moonlight shadow" and "To France" which are greatly enhanced by the vocals of Maggie Reilly.

The album extracts fall within "The complex section", while the final "Live section" contains four unreleased (in live format) pieces. For me, sticking to the studio versions would have been better.

Oldfield's music from the period covered here was generally of an exceptionally high quality. Disc one is worthwhile as it collates his singles output well. Disc two on the other hand is something of a travesty committed by the compilers.

Report this review (#28645)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Couple of reviews suggest that it should have been named The Incomplete Mike Oldfield. Because there are only relatively short extracts from TB, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Incantations? I think this fine compilation does nearly the best it can in given measure (2 LP's - no added tracks in 2CD which COULD have been a nice move). First of all the package (speaking of the vinyl) is lovely and very informative, and I like the idea to make four different sides: Instrumental, Vocal, Complex and Live.

The first side includes 11 short, mostly light instrumentals such as 'In Dulci Jubilo', 'Guilty' and 'Blue Peter' - they don't appeal to everyone but I think they represent a crucial side in Oldfield's career; they show that he wasn't always taking himself too seriously and also the strong orientation to folk music. Vocal Side could be called Hits Side - but quite an enjoyable one, reilly. At the time the latest album Discovery is surprisingly exluded but I'm not complaining about the choices.

Ah, then the second LP/disc: true, those extracts leave longing for more of the early masterpieces, but isn't that just the way it should be? Up to this point albums Platinum and QE2 are not much heard ('Wonderful Land' in the Instrumental Side), and the fantastic Live Side gives very delicious, almost magical versions of 'Sheba', 'Mirage' and 'Platinum' - this first one of Oldfield's one-album-side tracks is shorter than the original, but much better. 'Mount Teide' also sounds better live.

A beautiful compilation with a personal structure, nearly worth 5* to me considered as the LP edition. The CD edition lacks the overall spirit somehow.

Report this review (#36537)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars The big question with collections with Mike Oldfield is how to sum up the long tracks. On "The Complete Mike Oldfield" the excerpt-tracks are put on side three on the vinyl album. I think they end up as being in the shade of the hits "the vocal side" and the instrumentals on "the instrumental side". It works, but putting together collections with M.O. is always going to be hard. The big value on this compilation is side four "the live side", with wonderful versions of Platinum, Sheba, Mirage and Mount Teide. But I'm afraid that's not enough to make this compilation interesting today. The more recent collections makes slightly better summaries to Mike Oldfield.
Report this review (#76122)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Like all compilations, "The Complete Mike Oldfield" is flawed in its attempt to cover a prolific career in the space of only 2 CDs. Given the high quality of Oldfield's material up to that point, the task is even more daunting, and the preponderance of 20 minute instrumentals in the man's discography only sets us up for further compromise. This is in particular noticeable on the extracts from the early albums.

The compensation for these difficulties is in the generally excellent choices and the inclusion of live recordings hitherto unavailable as well as a smattering of fine hard to acquire singles. In particular, the live version of "Platinum", while clocking in about 5 minutes shorter than the original, has preserved the exploratory essence of the piece while adding muscularity. The "North Star" ending is exhilarating. The short instrumentals include a couple of little gems from QE2 but also jaunty rarities like "Portsmouth" and especially "Blue Peter". Indeed, when adding in the ultimate section of "Incantations", an extended and powerful rendition of "Shadow on the Wall", and the masculine counterpart to "Moonlight Shadow", "Crime of Passion", the breadth of the man's material is astounding, whether one approves or not. This allows one to forgive the too-short excerpts and the complete omission of "Taurus 2", one of his best and most varied works to date.

No 2-hour distillation of Mike Oldfield could rightfully be called Complete, nor should completeness be the ultimate goal. But this compilation does provide an entertaining precis of the work of a significant artist for neophytes, and a sufficient smattering of collectible items for the committed fan, and does both wholeheartedly.

Report this review (#209179)
Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars As long as a compilation can be rated, this is an absolute masterpiece of progressive rock. The live section (the fourth one) by itself is stunning, filled with interpretations surpassing their LP counterparts, notably "Sheba" and "Platinum" which are worth the money by themselves.

The instrumental section comes next, while the vocal is the weakest (but this is not surprinsing since mike Oldfield is firts an instrumental genius)..

This compilation is probably the best way for a total newcommer to enter the world of Mike Oldfield. Actually, this is the compilation that brought me to him, but I continue to listen the live part for it's unique brillancy. Even old Oldfield's fan can enjoy this treasure.

Report this review (#324925)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permalink

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