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HERGEST RIDGE

Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog


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Mike Oldfield Hergest Ridge album cover
3.94 | 382 ratings | 47 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hergest Ridge Part One (21:40)
2. Hergest Ridge Part Two (18:51)

Total Time: 40:31

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / acoustic, electric & Spanish guitars, bass, mandoline, organs, glockenspiel, gong, sleigh bells, timpani, nutcracker

+ Chili Charles / snare drums
- Lindsay Cooper / oboe
- Ted Hobart / trumpet
- Sally Oldfield / chorus
- Clodagh Simmonds / chorus
- June Whiting / oboe
- Chorus & strings conducted by David Bedford.

Releases information

LP Virgin V 2013 (1974) / CD Virgin VJCP 2013 (1986)
LP Virgin VR 13-109 (1974) US
CD Virgin MIKECD2 Remastered HDCD (2000)
CD Caroline Rec. CAR49368 Remastered HDCD (2000)
Cassette Virgin OVEDC 163 (1984)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to YesForSure for the last updates
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MIKE OLDFIELD Hergest Ridge ratings distribution


3.94
(382 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
34%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

MIKE OLDFIELD Hergest Ridge reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Much superior to Bells , I don't get why most people swear only by his first (and to a lesser extent his next one). Even if quieter than its first one , this one has more flesh (and of course has not suffered from over-exposure like Bells). Long sick of listening to "vieuxchamps", this is still the only one that I will select to hear once every second year or so.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#28268) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 08, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This fair record has 2 very long songs. The movement is very slow and you have to listen entirely the album to make a review. Despite there are very good bits at many places, there are many bits that I consider too lengthy. The change of patterns could have been made more frequently. It gives a quite linear album. The songs are rather loaded of many different instruments, but it is played quite in the background, so that it seems not being well recorded. If you like Tubular bells, then you should like this one.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#28279) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars She rises from the mist, this belle, and has a different tale to tell, emerging from the the rills and ridges to share with us her humble riches. More pastoral in tone than her piebald predecessor, a simpler patchwork and perhaps the lesser of the two, the first work having grew from such a tempest of expression, while Hergest here is glimpsed in logical succession. It's interesting that, after such a tubular design, a second album doesn't dare entwine too many bits and pieces, fearful of a work that rises and surceases OLDFIELD here is on a simpler path, his waterfall of inspiration channeled into one warm bath. You'll find some CRIMSON in it (on guitar), some GENESIS as well (seen from afar), but mostly this is OLDFIELD first and last, a vision of the future and the past. The artist, having found an audience, is careful not to build a wood too dense, focusing instead on several themes, from tame to tempest as befits the scene. (I'll add, although it's quite a different boid, that one theme sounds a lot like "Mongoloid".) If "Hergest Ridge" is not the tumbing spire that "Tub'lar Bells" aspired to than desire not a second mountain in your midst, but chance upon a rolling hill as this and marvel at its natural, simple charm, a pixie playground where there is no varum. (Sorry about this one. Ze furter I vent, ze verse it got.)

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#28271) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 02, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Oldfield makes light of that difficult second album syndrome

Oldfield's follow up to "Tubular Bells" was inevitably rather overshadowed by his illustrious first album. In its own right however, Hergest Ridge stands up as a fine piece of work.

Generally smoother and more continuous than TB, Oldfield manages to compile an album with a similar structure but which sounds quite different. The most striking part of the album comes about five minutes into the second side, when the almost ambient soft melody stops, to immediately be replaced by an absolute wall of sound. The pace is lifted by a driving, incessant rhythm, which thunders along like a train barely remaining on the tracks. This occupies much of the second side of the album, and transforms it completely. A more serene sound returns to close the album, allowing the required catching of breath.

A very good album, generally somewhat mellower than Tubular Bells, but with a real sting in the tail.

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Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I admit to be very fond of this album.It doesn't have the musical highs of Tubular Bells but it does have that certain 'you know what' and is overall a more mature and coherent work.This is about as soulfull as instrumental music gets and way better than any of the 'new age' stuff that came out of the eightes.

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Posted Friday, May 21, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I definitely have a soft spot for Hergest Ridge. It is more spatial than Tubular Bells and ambles along at an even space with the exception of course of the ' Thunderstorm ' scene. Remember that Oldfield was still very young and for me HR demonstrated a bit more maturity in the music he put out. It is interesting to note also that the majority of reviews seen on Hergest Ridge are very positive so it must speak well for this excellent work.

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Posted Thursday, August 19, 2004

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album shows the Mike Oldfield's capacity to make a completely different thing after the great success of Tubular Bells. If Tubular Bells has a contaminated sound, paranoic passages, with the smell of the city... Hergest Ridge it's just the opposite: calm, the smell of the fresh grass, and a slowly ascent to a mount that it's the place where the feelings of Mike Oldfield nest.

I don't give this album 5 stars because it's a little repetitive sometimes, like the Electrical Storm passage. But it's only my opinion, other people don't think so. Because of that, I recomend the listening to anyone who likes good music. You will know a world of true magic, peace...and fury sometimes!

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#40037) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005

Review by Thulëatan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars With the intensity of the spotlight on him, after the phenomenal 'Tubular Bells' Mike Oldfield retreated into the English countryside; now acknowledged, financially liberated, but far from healed, and with much more music to make. At this time he would create his second masterpiece, 'Hergest Ridge', again born from the depths of both his wonder and fear of life, but this time tempered with moments of pure peace and serenity. This review is based on the original release, thus far only available on vinyl, and not the slightly inferior 'Boxed' remix which is featured on all CD releases.

The album opens abruptly with the sustained chorus of pipes, an eerie, almost magical sound that introduces the listener to the piercing consciousness of Oldfield, built upon by the tinkling of percussion before the main melody of the record emerges. The theme is a strong one, optimistic and self-reinforcing, very much a tale of time, and goes on to be explored through some of Oldfield's most gentle instrumental changes. Through waves of horns, then acoustic guitar, the piece floats along majestically with a solitude and clarity that just seems to drag in the 1976 remix, before reaching a stark moment of upset, and then back to peace in a simply beautiful acoustic guitar/oboe/trumpet section. Here, around the middle of part one, you know you are listening to something truly unique and intriguing when the flow crashes down into a pulsing bass riff and ripples of bright synthesizer which create an atmosphere of mystery, curious searching. Effortlessly, this drives further on into the long climax of the first side, which builds with the festive leisure of sleigh bells and dreamy pipe organs, before the final, exultant, choral reprise. The piece ends fading in the way that it began, the pipes this time having the distinct echo of farewell.

Part two's subtle introduction showcases Oldfield's superb acoustic guitar picking style, in what is quite a delicate, mournful passage. After a short time, however, confidence is found, and the strummed guitars start to take over, as if embarking on a journey, told by a new melody of surpassing, overcoming. This becomes emphasised by the choir, which again was too thick and present in the mix on 'Boxed' but here drifts quietly beneath the other instruments with a natural reverb. In much the same way as part one, uncertainty awaits this journey, as the main theme returns on a lone organ and the piece shifts into darker territory once more, with uneasy staccato organ playing and that searching flute. Unexpectedly, this erupts into the power chord frenzy of what Mike's fans know as the 'thunderstorm' section of 'Hergest Ridge'... this is an extended, relentless struggle of layered distorted and fuzz guitars; frustration and stress but with firm timing, suggesting that there is still a measure of control and defiance within the chaos. At last, as the storm just becomes unbearable, the album returns to one final serene chapter of acoustic guitar, strings and choir... a summary, and perhaps a reference to a future time that looks back on all that has gone before. The last moments of 'Hergest Ridge', however, as the music slowly dies away, are discordant and bleak, before a very deliberate close.

This album still ranks as one of Mike Oldfield's finest achievements - surpassing 'Tubular Bells' - full of rich emotion, unique texture of instrumentation, and extremely gifted performances. This is music of a quality that sadly is not really made anymore, and must be heard to be understood. He was to sing on his next album, "so if you feel a little glum, to Hergest Ridge you should come" - and while it is not all hope and light, it is indeed the clear sound of truth, of home.

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Send comments to Thulëatan (BETA) | Report this review (#40770) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While Oldfield's incredible debut album "Tubular Bells" served as a particular highlight in the world of art rock and remains a major cornerstone in the history of rock, it will be in his next three recordings that he will refine and perfect his writing skills, solidly developing long pieces of music from a reduced number of main motifs. In my opinion, "Hergest Ridge" is Oldfield's first perfect masterpiece in a lifelong career full of peaks. This album finds the organ more featured than the grand piano in the keyboard department, as well as a more constraint role for the electric guitar sections in favor of an enhanced presence of the classical and acoustic guitars. This album is also less patently colorful than its predecessor, keeping a strong focus on melancholic ambience and contemplative emotion. The Celtic thing and the Philip Glass influence are the most predominant elements in the compositions, but you can also notice traces of symphonic art rock and exotic textures. Part 1 starts with the initial development of the two recurring main motifs successively, with Oldfield providing a meticulous sense of texture and subtlety with his multiple organ layers, acoustic guitar chord progressions and electric guitar's soft flourishes. In the times when things begin to get more intense, the presence of additional wind instruments (oboe, trumpet) helps to create a moderately orchestral mood; meanwhile, the female choral arrangements appear here and there, sometimes adding quietness to the calmer sections, sometimes adding intensity to the most extroverted passages. The development and slight variations around the two main motifs occupies more than half of Part 1. At one moment, things shift tenderly toward a bass-and-organ motif (the same one that will reappear on Part 2 in the guise of the multi-guitar Thunderstorm section) that builds a bridge to the closing theme of Part 1, a playful motif that brings some of the celebratory mood of the infamous closing theme of the debut album's Part 1. The sustained climax, the hypnotic repetition, the majestic chorale, all of it leads the way toward a calmer ending based on a reprise of one main motif on classical guitar. Part 2 begins with a similar atmosphere as that of the aforesaid Part 1's closing theme, albeit a bit more relaxed and introverted. The constraint colorfulness that Oldfield had so amazingly created so far finds a particularly genius expression here. A main motif returns briefly, building a dense bridge whose final steps are led by the interaction between guitar leads and tympani. A bridge to where? It appears that something sinister is on the way. And yes, here comes the Thuderstorm section, arguably the most demented musical idea to ever come out of Oldfield's musical mind. Besides the choral duet of Clodagh Simmonds and Sally Oldfield (and perhaps some hidden organ), the listener is left to face an angry exhibition of multiple guitar layers, riffs and leads, carefully arranged to sound like a massive orchestra of tension and bitterness. Some guitar leads, partially hidden by the dark cloud of a thousand electric strings, seem relatively related to the prototypical Frippian fashion, which only comes to show how familiar Oldfield used to be with the avantgarde side of prog rock. Once the Thunderstorm is abruptly over, a soft duet of organ and classical guitar momentarily retakes a fraction of the Thunderstorm section, in this way creating a clever combination of contrast and continuity. The album's last minutes are filled with an eerie reprise of a main theme, this time delivered with a sense of serenity oddly mixed with melancholy: those organ layers are really emotional. A beautiful end for a perfect Oldfield masterpiece.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#97193) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 05, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After the success of "Tubular Bells" Mike buys some property in rural England at a place called Hergest Ridge. He would build a studio in his new home and create this album. I confess to being amazed at how good this is, considering the pressure he must have felt to make a worthy successer to the commercially triumphant 'Tubular Bells". Listening to this record is like taking a journey and never leaving the farm. You really need to listen carefully to this album to fully take it all in. I like the way he increases and decreases the volume of the soundscape at just the right moments. The record is made up of two side long suites.

"Part1" opens with organ and eventually keys and percussion.Then comes the guitar melody that builds with organ in the background it's quite uplifting. The passage changes as acoustic guitar and horns take over. I was surprised to hear sleigh bells 16 minutes in with some great guitar added, it sounds amazing. The choir comes in after 18 minutes and they do not sing words but use vocal melodies that are emotional.

"Part 2" opens with organ and acoustic guitar that changes 3 1/2 minutes in as Sally Oldfield sings a vocal melody that again is quite moving. Mandolin at 5 1/2 minutes and then things get quiet, too quiet at 6 minutes in. An intense soundscape arrives at 8 minutes and the guitar tries to break through the wall of sound. At 11 1/2 minutes the guitar is scorching and there are layers of multible guitar noises as we have entered into the thunder storm section. It's great ! The record closes with a pastoral passage with Spanish guitar,organ and another uplifting vocal melody.

This is a beautiful piece of work that i'm sure was inspired by the scenic country side. It's like he turned what he saw into sound.

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Posted Monday, December 11, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mature, poetic, the smell of morning.

As good as Tubular Bells was, this record I have found to be more soothing, artistic, and complete. It's mellow, but never gets too ambient to lose interest. Pt 2 I find to be more dense and spiritual and overall a better journey than Pt 1.

The music is soothing, soulful, and builds upon the style established from Tubular Bells. The choir at the end of Pt 1. I am not especially fond of the choir at the end of pt 1, seeming a bit too out of place on a record like this. The second half creates a hypnotic, droning like effect that really sucks the listener in, be prepared for some symphonic style wonders.

An improvement in sound and quality, Hergest Ridge is an excellent record in the instrumental rock field that, as others have noted, really shines towards the end.

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Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "the problem of the world today is that there's not enough romance."

(Mike's response to an interviewer who remarked that Hergest Ridge has been criticized for its romanticism.)

First, I agree with Mike's sentiments. Second, forget about Tubular Bells. Mike's sophomore effort Hergest Ridge is as good as his first album. Oldfield moved to the English countryside after Tubular Bells and the music on Hergest Ridge describes the bucolic surroundings of his new home. In his own words: "Lots of open countryside, smooth hills, a general feeling of smoothness and well being and non-hysteria, just a much nicer environment..if you want to get anything out of it, you've got to really listen to it."

I love the fact he is attempting to describe his home to us through music. Places are very important to me. The home we grew up in, our neighborhoods, our haunts during our formative years, and finally the place we make our stand. I think it's an interesting and intimate topic for an artist to cover. And it's obvious Oldfield is in love with his new countryside home. The music he plays has a nostalgic and somewhat surreal feel to it, almost Monet like to me.

The first half of side two is most effective to me in feeling the surroundings that Oldfield is residing in, it then moves into the chaotic and loud "storm" segment. This goes on a tad too long for me personally and after about 5 minutes it again shifts back to calmer waters.

Mike again plays a variety of guitars and other instruments and the moods vary from the serene to the dramatic but Hergest Ridge is more personal and less rocking than some of his future work would be. It is a beautiful work of art and recommended to fans of instrumental progressive music. 3.5 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album, MIKE OLDFIELD'S second, is a retreat in every sense of the word.

Overwhelmed by the success of 'Tubular Bells', OLDFIELD retreated to the countryside to write and record this second album. The result is pastoral, restrained and, to this ear, just a little thin. There are far fewer ideas here, and though they are well developed, there simply are not the moments of drama and excitement he offers in his other first-period albums.

That said, what he does here is so very well done. The multi-tracking is much more accomplished here than on his debut, and there are none of the cringeworthy moments that marred that otherwise excellent record. The album is more symphonic in its structure than 'Tubular Bells', with the opening theme repeated and developed at various places, until the record reaches a gentle climax at the end of side two. OLDFIELD used this technique on virtually all his subsequent albums, even during his 1980s 'pop' phase, to provide continuity across each album.

Most importantly, on this record OLDFIELD begins to reveal his utter mastery of melody. It is this facility above all others that has endeared him to his legion of fans - his ability to move the listener with the sheer eye-pricking beauty of a musical phrase. The last three minutes of the album stand testament to this.

Given the pressure on him after the enourmous success of 'Tubular Bells', I'm amazed he was able to issue anything anywhere near as good as this. An album that will forever remain in the shadow of its predecessor, but one well worth listening to in its own right. Just don't expect any pyrotechnics.

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Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Aaaaargh, Hergest Ridge.

This album is just as great as the debut Oldfield one. Can you imagine that only for the third time in the UK charts history, an album of the same artist will dethroned another one. In this case, Tubular Bells although released a year prior Hergest will do the work. But Hergest reached that spot straight away. First week in the charts, first position! What an achievement! Two instrumental albums from the same artist were peaking at the first position of the charts. Quite remarkable and never achieved later on.

This album doesn't have the same aura, exposure as its worldwide known predecessor. But the recipe is the same.

The ultra gifted Mike plays most of the instruments and is in full command of the composition. Some more ethnic sounds are featured here and therefore might please more (or less) his fans.

As far as I am concerned, this work is brilliant. Some great melodic lines can be experienced throughout both sides of this album. At no moment can I feel any kind of weakness during this great album (but it was the same for Tubular Bells). The choir part at the end of side one is particularly poignant and grandiose.

Lots of people did point out that the B-side of Tubular was weaker than the first part (myself included, because it is so). Nothing as such during Hergest Ridge. Just great all the way through.

To have imagined such a beautiful suite is just a mark of a giant IMHHO. Whatever will come next (I mean much later), this artist should be regarded as highly creative and essential.

Thank you very much Mike for such a great work. But he'll even superior this one. Can you believe this ?

Four stars for this excellent album.

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Posted Sunday, January 13, 2008

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A tone poem of the Enlgish contryside.

Difficult to describe, in fact that's why I shied away from reviewing Mike Oldfield's work. If you like the romantics then you will like this. Actually for some strange reason it was Walton's Touch her soft lips and part which sprung to mind while listening to Hergest Ridge.

Oldfield's composition (and peformance) is truly romantic. It aspires to be, but cannot match the orchestral works of the romantics but the emotional beauty has to be listened to.

This is excellent. I reckon it's an essential addition to your colelction. Better than TB but not as groundshaking becasue it was not the first (not becasue it is inferior).

If you like this listen to Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, Touch her Sift Lips and Part, and In Paradisum from Faure's Requiem

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Posted Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
1 stars Hergest Ridge part one feels like a very long intro to something that never comes. I just keep wondering when it is going to start, but it never really gets off the ground during its 22 minute running time. There is absolutely nothing offensive about this first piece, it is just very unremarkable and left no lasting impression on this reviewer whatsoever despite several tries. Hergest Ridge completely lacks the melodic aspects of Tubular Bells, Ommadawn and Incantations.

Part two is much better in one respect but not in another. Part two does indeed have at least some unexpected twists and turns, but not too much to get excited about after all. The up-tempo and noisy part that starts at 9:40 into the track is something of a sonic atrocity and it really hearts my ears! It goes on for several minutes before it changes slightly just to go on for several more minutes - Mike Oldfield is the master of repetition here. Listening through this whole passage is a real challenge for my poor ears. This is just awful and very naïve and childish composition much like some of the worst parts of Tubular Bells. But on Tubular Bells Mike knew how to move on to something else. The acoustic ending Hergest Ridge part two is very nice though, and a breath of fresh air after an overlong trial of boredom and near torture.

Melodically this album is like a journey through an enormous dessert. The first part of the journey is insignificant and quite boring; the second part starts out all right but towards the middle Mike is running out of water and the up-tempo part could be taken to depict him struggling for his life until he finally reaches a small oasis. He was really drying out of inspiration here. Fortunately, he would find new inspiration at the oasis for his next album, the very much better Ommadawn.

I really gave this album several chances to see what I was missing, but I still don't get it. Sorry Mike!

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Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
3 stars From the first it was apparent that Mike Oldfield is a fan of pastoral English folk music. He got a lot of his inspiration from his home on Hergest Ridge, but OPus 1, AKA "Tubular Bells", showed so many facets of the man that his folky leanings were but one aspect. "Hergest Ridge", the followup, spells it out quite clearly. While similar in structure to TB, it is far more reflective and ethereal, with fewer harsh interruptions. This even keel is more curse than blessing though.

The main melody that is played on oboe by Lindsay Cooper on Part 1 may be one of the most beautiful ever committed to vinyl, reflecting the peace and refuge of the English countryside. It leaves me wanting more of the same, but unfortunately the album does not hit a lot of highs, being generally inoffensive. Its mere apparence after TB meant that the novelty of a single piece in a work of popular music was already starting to wear off.

Another must-hear section is the "storm" segment of Part 2. Elsewhere, particularly late on Side 1, we hear similarities to the more sedate parts of RICK WAKEMAN's concurrent work "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", probably more a matter of absorption of the fashion of 1974 than outright copying.

Looking back at the first 15 years of Oldfield's career, I conclude that this ridge marks a timid if pretty gully from which he would very soon rise afresh.

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Posted Friday, March 06, 2009

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hergest Ridge is the second full-length studio album by UK progressive rock artist Mike Oldfield. After the huge succes of his now classic debut album Tubular Bells (1973) Mike Oldfield decided to make another album with only two side-long tracks.

The music on the album is atmospheric, ambient and pleasant ( almost no drums). Unlike the more busy ( well relatively busy) and multi themed music on Tubular Bells the music on Hergest Ridge is a bit more ambient and the main themes are developed over a longer period of time. Mike Oldfield again plays almost all instruments and again it´s hard not to be impressed with the end result. What a skilled musician. He was only about 20 years old at this time and already rather mature both as a musician and as a composer.

The production is pleasant and warm.

Hergest Ridge isn´t really to my taste as it tends to quickly become background music for me. The music would be very suited as movie soundtrack music IMO. It´s clever and intelligent though and do deserve a BIG 3 star rating. It´s my taste in music that prevents me from giving this album a higher rating not the quality of the music.

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Posted Monday, March 09, 2009

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Little time, but big progress!

Despite the little time from the release of the debut, Mike Oldfield shows big progress about making solid albums. The first of them is Hergest Ridge. One of the main moments about this album is the fact, that folk influence on the album is much more increased, especially with celtic folklore, than in Tubular Bells. The conception and the ideas are developed much more precise, than in its predecessor. The production of the sound is professional in all the aspects, including some of my favourite - volume of the sound, gradual raise in drama until it reaches its peak at the end of the second part, saturated sound and the presence of a lot of optic angles of understanding music. 4 stars.

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Posted Monday, November 02, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Oldfield's second not only retains all positive aspects of Tubular Bells but also manages to stay clear from the beginners faults that flawed Oldfield's debut album.

The album is shorter and doesn't fail to keep the mood going for its entire 40 minutes running time. The music gently flows through various section of Celtic inspired tunes and softly brooding atmospheres. Oldfield plays most instruments and has found a decidedly more appealing guitar sound then the brittle tone that disgraced Tubular Bells. The acoustic guitar and synths have a prominent role again but also other instruments provide highlights. The oboe solo halfway in part 1 for example is a beautiful lyrical moment. It grows into quite a climax complete with bells and swelling guitar sounds. The closing section features some romantic orchestral and chorus arrangements.

The second part is even better and starts with a melancholic pastoral theme; it's gentle and kind but burning with subdued passion. Great acoustic guitars again and a few minutes in, Sally Oldfield makes her appearance and provides a nice vocal. Things start to build up from then on. Halfway in, a big swirling theme played by a whole battery of overdubbed fuzzy guitars violently shatters the calm before the storm. It's a frenzied but uplifting section that never fails to make me smile and get my feet tapping.

Judging from the ratings, this album is overlooked by many but loved by everyone that embraced its spellbinding charm. Highly recommended.

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Posted Thursday, March 04, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Hergest Ridge wasn't advertised to the mainstream by a successful movie, and this is i think the reason of the partial commercial flop, if it can be called in this way, which occurred to this album.

Regardless the commercial point of view, this album is surely an improvement in terms of composing respect to the exceptional debut. Hergest Ridge is continuous. There's not the sensation of a patchwork of shorter parts tied together as in Tubular Bells (confirmed by the 2002 re-release), The melodies are more consistent even if a bit darker.

Darker may seem strange if one thinks that TB was soundtrack for a horror movie, but the whole album was not all on that mood.

Hergest Ridge has all the goods of its predecessor, including the bells, plus some singing of a kind that we'll find later on Incantations and as I have written more consistent melodies.

There are contact points with the German space-rock when the music gets repetitive (but never boring) and respect to German bands it's more solar and suitable also for a "background listening", something that's not very easy with Amon Duul II or Tangerine Dream.

I can't call it "masterpiece", but its 4 stars are brighter than the 4 that I gave to TB.

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Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Mike Oldfield - Hargest Ridge (1974)

On his second album multi-instrumentalist and composer Mike Oldfield continued the course set on his famous debut 'Tubular Bells'. This time both sides are worthwhile, whilst I have to admit I though the second side of Tubular Bells was much weaker then it's first side. Harvest Ridge has a less dominant sound and more continuity in it's composition. Oldfield still plays a lot of instruments, but this time there are also contributions of other musicians.

Now the thing is, Hargest Ridge has many strong melodies and atmospheres, but it doesn't seem to lead to anything. The opening section of side one is strong and the compositions evolves into many different themes, but I can't say I'm really that much interested in all Oldfield's ideas. The sound is a bit blurry and the impact of all the different instruments played is much less fascination then on the debut. Still this is good follow-up that shows Mike Oldfield wasn't a one-hit wonder. The way he combines instruments like the flutes on the opening section and the symphonic arrangements are always original. His sound and the way the music is put together is very unique. I guess it would have helped for me if he would have given some meaning to the sub-parts of the compositions by giving them interesting titles, or by telling a musical story in general.

Conclusion. Another strong instrumental effort by Mike Oldfield that is attractive for those who liked the debut. Whilst having more continuity, Hergest Ridge is less challenging then Tubular Bell's and the album sounds a bit too descent. The composition is however strong and unique and this peaceful, gentle album might be suited to lift your spirits any time. Three and a halve stars.

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Posted Friday, May 06, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Amazingly, Mike Oldfield managed to find it in him to produce another exceptional Canterbury- tinged folk-prog album suit within a year or so of the release of Tubular Bells - this despite being quite perturbed by the fame the earlier release had earned him. Hergest Ridge is more pastoral in nature than its predecessor, which makes sense since it was composed during a country retreat whilst Oldfield was in hiding from the stresses and temptations of fame. Nostalgic and occasionally twee? Yes, but there's no mistaking Oldfield's perfect command of mood and ability to sustain tension across the course of an album.

Even if he did win yet more mainstream success with it, there's no denying that in 1974 nobody was making anything quite like this material. With Hergest Ridge, Oldfield once again proves that he deserves to be regarded as one of prog's true innovators.

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Posted Monday, September 19, 2011

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars That difficult second album. A cliché, pretty well worn, but, as with most clichés, containing an element of truth. When, however, your debut album sold by the millions of truckloads, you are hailed as THE future of rock music, indeed, its very saviour, and you have gone from being utterly unknown except to your family and a hippy businessman with a beard, then any follow up was always going to be slightly difficult.

It is, to me at any rate, somewhat unfortunate that Oldfield's entire career will be judged by the benchmark of Tubular Bells, because I feel that he has done much better, and this album is a very good example of that. Yes, TB is a classic, deservedly in the upper echelons of rock's genius releases, but I cannot help feeling that I am not alone in stating that it has not aged particularly well. I actually prefer the two sequel TB works, and I also think, in hindsight, that Hergest Ridge is a better album. Certainly, side two is the equal of side one on this album, a charge that very few, I feel, could level at Tubular Bells.

As might be expected, there are deep similarities between the two works, released as they were, within a year of each other. There are parts when you struggle to differentiate between the two. Listen carefully, and them bells also make a few, subtle, appearances. There are, however, far stronger differences that set this album apart.

When Oldfield had become as big as God in terms of album sales, he suffered greatly, his quiet and almost reclusive personality turning away from the trappings of fame. He bought a big pad in the middle of nowhere, and composed this album there. Certainly, we hear in Hergest Ridge the first elements of the pastoral, folk like music which would later become a hallmark, with strong Celtic leanings. The use of oboes, and other orchestra instruments, also adds a far richer texture to this album than Tubular Bells. In addition, the choral effects are wonderful - no annoying nasal passages here, just a rich sound of harmony with deliberately understated backing. Think of classical music set in the modern age, and you are getting somewhere near the mark. It is also the case that this is, to these ears, where Oldfield's trademark electric guitar beauty first came to the fore and led proceedings where it appeared.

The musicianship is never anything less than superb (again, unlike TB, where all sorts of glitches on the original pressing were apparent), and it is an album I find perfect listening for a breezy autumnal evening outside, as it is in my part of rural Wales. Spellbinding, evocative in its rural charm, and relentlessly engaging.

Four stars for this, an album that every Oldfield fan should own, and also recommended highly for those who like their prog intelligent, pastoral, fused with classical sensibilities, and just, well, damn good.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#544191) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 06, 2011

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I find the first two Mike Oldfield albums comparable to the first two Soft Machine albums in terms of the first ones of both being very up-and-down or sinusoidal (yes, you can boo the cheap joke) in quality where the seconds are more even and constant. The problem in Oldfield's case is that the album's evenness is its undoing; HERGEST RIDGE really could have been a terrific masterpiece had Oldfield took a few risks.

So, if you have familiarity with the first Mike Oldfield album TUBULAR BELLS, there are some slight adjustments to make HERGEST RIDGE sound a little more rounded and even, even bringing in some Tangerine Dream-esque soundscapes. The theme that strikes my attention happens halfway into the second part that sounds like a Tangerine Dream setup. Still, it sounds like Oldfield played it safe and tried a bit too much into making the second album similar to the first, and that hurts HERGEST RIDGE in the long haul. Then again, there are no points on the album like the grunting (or is it snoring; hard to tell) from TUBULAR BELLS that would make me grimace, so I give Oldfield some credit.

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Posted Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well said, this is obviously a legendary album by multi instrumentalist Mike Oldfield and I have to admit that I am not a big fan of his music even though I have many albums of him. Actually it's for a simple reason: because Mike is the seventies musician where I knew prog music at the first time. So, I had couple of his albums in the forms of CD as well as cassette. For Hergest Ridge I only have the cassette version. Honestly this is not the cassette that I regularly play as at first I was not quite familiar with the kind of music Mike plays especially with this album. A friend of mine during college tiem in Bandung, West Java, always played the music of Mike Oldfield whenever he studied in the evening for next day exam. I was with him at that time when he played the Tubular Bells album. I could not afford to listen to that kind of music where to me was a bit of boring as only rarely the triable sound of THING comes up every one minuet or so. What a boring music!

Fortunately this Hergest Ridge is not as bad as Tubular Bells as the music is quite varied in terms of style and composition with main structure lies on the keyboard-like sound and unique guitar sounds of Mike Oldfield. I can not quite differentiate, really, between part 1 and 2 as they both alike. The music is ambient in nature and You won't be able to guess on the direction of the melody as it sounds like a free flow melody that does nt form something really memorable. So to me the key to enjoy this kind of music is listening to the subtleties of the sounds produced segment by segment of the track.

Overall, it's a good album as you can get various kinds of instruments that flow in an ambient mode throughout the album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Monday, August 18, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars This installment of Mike Oldfield finds the listener transported to quieter, more peaceful times. Not forsaking his knack for extended tracks, Oldfield does not deliver a masterpiece. Though, to question whether or not this album pleases the ears is a disgrace to music in general. The first half inv ... (read more)

Report this review (#1139008) | Posted by ebil0505 | Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 6/10 After the success of Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield, who was uncomfortable with all the attention he was being given refuge in the English countryside in which to work on their next album. The result is Hergest Ridge, in reference to a ridge that was near his residence at the time. Herg ... (read more)

Report this review (#519088) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, September 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Hergest Ridge' is a lovely album which is quite subtle compared to the distinctive "Tubular Bells". If you lay back and carefully listen, you can appreciate it a lot more than you may otherwise do. I seem to discover more magic each time. The album has plenty of delicate, classically inspire ... (read more)

Report this review (#456095) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favorite MIKE OLDFIELD album that I happened to pick up for a dollar in a cut-out bin in the late 70s. Tubular Bells was amazing--like the Peter and the Wolf album for young people that used DAVID BOWIE for the story narration--but it seemed to garner much of its attention on the coattails of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#299409) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The follow up to Tubular Bells.... It was an impossible task to follow up the absolute massive success of Tubular Bells. Hergest Ridge was also panned by the critics and this led Mike Oldfield into a long period of depressions. I recently read a long interview with him in Classic Rock Present ... (read more)

Report this review (#297766) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, September 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A big step down from his masterpice debute and one of the best debute albums not only in prog but in music in general this one see Mike doing the same thing again but yust much lamer and softer and les variation theres alot of nice sweet melody on this one but its yust not as ground breaking and ... (read more)

Report this review (#161004) | Posted by Zargus | Wednesday, February 06, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Score: 9.7/10 Incredible Hergest Ridge is yet another beautiful album from Mike Oldfield. This album is extremely emotional in the sense that it gives off a very strong vibe. The melodies found here are very rich with feeling and make you wonder what Mike was doing in Hergest Ridge, what h ... (read more)

Report this review (#144335) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Following Mike Oldfield's debut album, Tubular Bells, was one of similar scale, but with much smoother execution. Hergest Ridge is a much more personal album. One of memorable melodies and sloppy guitar solos that somehow work. Yes, the guitar work is sloppy, but it fits like a piece of a puzzle. ... (read more)

Report this review (#112463) | Posted by Shakespeare | Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the unexpected sucessi of Tubular Bells, Mike retreated to a countryside home near the Wales/England border, that resided on the edge of the magnificent Hergest Ridge. He was emotionally unprepared for such a demand of his influence or the amount of requests for interviews and the pressure ... (read more)

Report this review (#105230) | Posted by OGTL | Tuesday, January 02, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hergest ridge was the first album i heard from Mike Oldfield. I'll never forget! As a kid, with not much knowledge from music, i has almost taked to tears. I was surronded with magic! The beginning of the first part is a "crescendo" with a felling that i cannot tell with words. There are piece ... (read more)

Report this review (#100572) | Posted by João Francisco | Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hergest Ridge, in my opinion, is even better album than Oldfield's first one. It's mellow theme lasts from the start to the very end. Melodies fit together perfectly, so the whole is perfect. There's not that hastiness from the melody to another than there was in TB. Mike has a great ability ... (read more)

Report this review (#95578) | Posted by Lasagne | Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I had large expectations of MO's Hergest Ridge. I had heard Tubular Bells and Ommadawn before. Thinking of those albums mixed with folk music sounded amazing. But what did I get... Everything sounds more simple and the "solos" sound actually partly annoying. This album has lost its harmony and ... (read more)

Report this review (#74562) | Posted by gimsom | Monday, April 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now I can't say that this will be a good review that will say something new, but I just feel that with this album, it's necessary I put my thoughts in. Perfect album for me to make my first review, because there's not many other albums I feel so strongly for. This album truly deserves the 5/5. We ... (read more)

Report this review (#69986) | Posted by sean galt | Sunday, February 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Hergest ridge" has not the same mood as "Tubular bells". The good point here is that Mike Oldfield has done something different, but keeping the form of 2 lenghty compositions which was his trademark at the time. "Hergest Ridge" is more serious, very evocative of what Mike Oldfield wanted to ... (read more)

Report this review (#47321) | Posted by Flyingbebert | Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The second release in 1974 "Hergest Ridge". Mike Oldfield to which land is bought for the country by unprecedented sales of the former work and it retires the world. Work by which the Mike Oldfield drew pastoral landscape. It is exact music. However, there is somewhere peacefully probably beca ... (read more)

Report this review (#44173) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is pure genius - a classic, definitive, quintessential symphonic progressive rock album. Right up there with Close To The Edge, Brain Salad Surgery and Fotrot. One of the 10 esential albums to bring to a desert island, if you are going there. I know I am raving, but how can you not rave w ... (read more)

Report this review (#28287) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is fabulous!!! Far better than Tubular Bells, though Mike's first achievement is one of my favourite albums, so imagine how I LOVE Hergest Ridge! Mike really hit it off with HR. While TB was quite raw in sound, HR is rich, mellow, but it still has the progrock cutting edge (just lis ... (read more)

Report this review (#28283) | Posted by LaserDave | Tuesday, May 03, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A completely different record from Tubular Bells...liner notes on Ommadawn album says that with Ommadawn, Mike began doing World Music...I dunno, because I feel this album as the first part of Ommadawn...Its a very relaxed and well crafted record...The difference between Hergest and Ommadawn i ... (read more)

Report this review (#28282) | Posted by Carlos | Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hergest Ridge, in my opinion, is one of Mike Oldfield's better releases. There's a lot more melody and much more interesting instrumentation than his initial offering of "Tubular Bells," and that's a good thing. Mike was certainly showing amazing growth as a composer asnd musician at this earl ... (read more)

Report this review (#28280) | Posted by | Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mike Oldfield's "Hergest Ridge" is, in my opinion, almost an ideal type of music. It sweeps you off to a world that is sacred only to the person listening to it. That's why it is my second favourite album. I definitly recommend this albumto everyone that can appreciate good music. ... (read more)

Report this review (#28274) | Posted by | Sunday, July 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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