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Mike Oldfield

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Mike Oldfield Five Miles Out album cover
3.69 | 445 ratings | 30 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Taurus II (24:49)
2. Family Man (3:45)
3. Orabidoo (13:03)
4. Mount Teidi (4:10)
5. Five Miles Out (4:17)

Total Time: 50:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / acoustic & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, keyboards (ARP solina, Roland VP330, Prophet V, EMS sequuencer, Fairlight CMI), vocals, producer

- Maggie Reilly / vocals
- Rick Fenn / acoustic & electric guitars
- Morris Pert / percussion, keyboards, strings arranger (5)
- Tim Cross / keyboards
- Paddy Maloney / Uillean pipes (1)
- Graham Broad / drums (5)
- Mike Frye / percussion
- Carl Palmer / percussion (4)
- Martyn Ford / strings conductor (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Gerald Coulson with Mike Oldfield (design)

LP Virgin - V 2222 (1982, UK)

CD Virgin - CDV 2222 (1983, Europe)
CD Virgin ‎- MIKECD9 (2000, Europe) Remastered by Simon Heyworth
CD Caroline Records ‎- CAR 1853 (2000, US) Remastered by Simon Heyworth

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MIKE OLDFIELD Five Miles Out ratings distribution

(445 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MIKE OLDFIELD Five Miles Out reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars Another underrated work, featuring some special guests like Carl PALMER. Well it is not completely essential and is quite discontinuous as well, but the output is surprising anyway and always original too.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is very progressive, full of miscellaneous instruments. Mike Oldfield begins on this album to include some new technology, especially regarding the keyboards: he plays some cute melodic keyboards, perfectly matching the numerous small bells parts; the modern keyboards are also floating and ambient. The miscellaneous percussions, provided by Morris Pert and Mike Frye, take a MAJOR part in the music. Maggie Reilly is more omnipresent than on any other Oldfield's albums: her voice, always excellent, is however sometimes slightly destroyed by some electronically modified intonations. Oldfield's straightforward aggressive electric rhythmic guitar is omnipresent.

On side 1, uilleann pipes give a solid traditional Irish flavor on the very long & progressive epic "Taurus 2" track.

On side 2, Reilly's voice on the catchy & pop "Family man" is EXCELLENT. "Orabidoo" is probably the best track: it starts with delicate, childlike & graceful percussions and keyboards; there are some curious electronic voices a la "Clockwork Orange" (Wendy Carlos); then the rhythm goes very fast and complex with a very loaded music, comparable to Amarok; it ends with only Maggie's ethereal voice, acoustic guitars and percussions. The marvelous "Mount Teide" sounds a bit like the majestic "The wind chimes part 2" on the Islands album. The last track, "Five miles out" is an original exploration of miscellaneous humor changing voices, through a solid & powerful rhythmic texture.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yes I have to agree with reviewer Lethe, this album has some lack of rythym between compositions, hence not flowing in all parts but although Taurus 2 is very good, more rock orientated than his previous work, side 2 is his better side...' Family Man' makes Hall and Oates version look pathetic and Oldfield is the original version too, perhaps Virgin did not market it better, Orabidoo one of Oldfield most diverse songs and totally out of kilter with his normal output. ' Mount Teidi' is a good reason why we all love Carl Palmer on drums. A great album in the main but some inconsistencies cropped in at times when we all expected perfection from Oldfield.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This record didn't please me, but I believe it's directed to a audience with different tastes. The longer tracks inspired me to buy this album long time ago, but these epics are merely medleys of separate shorter tracks, and they didn't work for me. Also the feeling of this music was perhaps too casual for my taste. For fans of Mike?
Review by The Crow
4 stars I really love this album!!! This is probably the best Mike's efforth from the 80's...

All the songs here are outstanding. Taurus II it's simply true masterpiece, one of the best Mike's instrumentals in my opinion. Family Man it's a very catchy pop song, very well known... Orabidoo it's beautiful and variated, great song, with a very very lovely ending of acoustic guitar and voice... Mount Teidi it's one of the most heart-touching songs I've heard, with really epic moments and a powerful Carl Parlmer's playing. The mount Teide it's the highest peak of my country, Spain... And Five Miles Out it's one of the best vocal songs of Mike Oldfield, with a great guitar solo and very good bass lines...

Conclusion: a must for everyone, and an album with a very actual sound, that could had been released yesterday... And I'm talking of a 1982's album! Not too far from beeing a masterpiece...

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Five Miles Out" was released in 1982 and is the first Mike Oldfield album to really have stepped into a fairly more commercial style to it, with the possible excepetions of "Taurus II" and "Orabidoo" which are the album's two epics and could remind of earlier Oldfield although in a bit more modern style to them. Not bad at all as a whole, but tracks like "Family Man" and the title track, which are the album's two key cuts, might not be of any particular interest for pure progholes, but taking them for what they are, they are still enjoyable tunes. Get this one for the two epics here, but if you enjoy 80's material from Oldfield too, this one is not to be missed. My personal rating: 3.25/5
Review by russellk
4 stars Not quite a masterpiece, but for me the best of MIKE OLDFIELD'S second phase albums.

Finally OLDFIELD decides to write his longer progressive tracks in the same way he put them together in the 1970s, but with standard rock instruments dominating. The result here, on the extended reinterpretation of the 'QE2' track 'Taurus', is nothing short of superb. Note the main theme carefully: you'll be hearing it again throughout the album, including the final (title) track. On many of his subsequent albums he uses the same technique - that is, jazzing up an instrumental theme from a feature track to create another. A series of short themes follow, the most memorable drenched in Uileann pipes. Then he brings in MAGGIE REILLY, she of 'Moonlight Shadow' to come, to sing a gentle theme, slow and with gravity, before the song explodes at the ten minute mark into one of those trademark OLDFIELD moments: a reprise of her tune by massed instruments. Just when the listener thinks their emotions can be raised no higher, he does it with a sequence of explosive chords, until it all tails off ... a sublime minute to remind us of the man's talent ... and then he retreats into the vocoder, a way of giving himself voice without spoiling the song. He's tried many techniques: grunting and howling on 'Tubular Bells', speaking on 'Ommadawn', and now the vocoder. Mercifully he puts the instrument away and settles back for a long instrumental section. The pace picks up with eight minutes to go, heralding a disco-like section and a rock finale with - you guessed it - a reappearance of the main theme. Symphonic progressive rock in my book.

Side two begins with 'Family Man', OLDFIELD'S first true pop song. There's a strong anti-pop sentiment among progressive fans, but all progressive rock is a subset of popular music. I have no problem with a pop song, as long as it's done well, and this one is. Well enough for HALL AND OATES to cover it, at least. OLDFIELD'S guitars here are excellent, marking it out from a run of the mill charter. This somewhat rough effort is poignant in the light of his over-polished pop albums later in the eighties. 'Orabidoo' is a strange beast, as awkward as its title, a flawed experiment with interesting moments - including a sped-up restatement of 'Taurus II's opening theme - and five minutes of vocoder tedium. The lyrics are about a plane journey, a theme pursued in the title track. Oddly, a beautiful fragment ('Ireland's Eye') is tacked on the end of this track for no reason I can discern. 'Mount Teide' isn't much more than a fragment, more at home on the previous album than this. But the finale is worth waiting for. The title track is the heaviest OLDFIELD had done thus far, and reuses the album's main theme to make a pretty decent rock track.

It was with a sense of profound relief that I listened to this album for the first time. 'Ommadawn' it isn't, but at the time it signaled a welcome return to the front (and thinning) ranks of progressive artists. We are introduced to OLDFIELD'S eighties concept of a side-long progressive epic backed by a side of shorter songs, and also to his habit of reusing themes throughout the album (he does it more than a dozen times here, count them). This album doesn't have a hint of 'new age' about it, and should appeal to any fan of progressive rock. The highlight is definitely 'Taurus II', a splendid progressive epic.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is quite Golf Oscar Oscar Delta, Mike

This 1982 release was the follow up to the adequate, if unexciting "QE2" and "Platinum" albums. Despite the presence of some overtly pop material, "Five miles out" is often described as being Oldfield's most progressive album, and certainly in terms of its immediate predecessors the signs are good.

The album as a whole benefits from the fact that it is essentially a band project. Mike is joined by four other musicians throughout, plus a handful of guests including one Carl Palmer on "Mount Teidi". The title track also has a string arrangement. Unusually, Oldfield actually shares the writing credits for two tracks with the rest of the band.

The main focus of the album falls upon the 25 minute opening piece "Taurus II". The title indicates that this composition is a follow on from "Taurus 1", the 10 minute opening track on "QE2". Indeed, the main theme from that track is used again here. The first part of this track has more in common with "Hergest ridge" (Side 2) than say "Tubular bells". Maggie Reilly adds some vocalising early on and a sung section later (sub-titled "The Deep Deep Sound"), but unlike three of the five tracks here, this is essentially an instrumental piece. This and other tracks on the album features further use of a vocoder to distort some of the sounds. Thankfully, Mike would soon tire of the device.

"Taurus II" features a wide variety of sounds and instruments, including Uileann pipes played by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. The up-tempo ending features the abstract lyricism of "Ommadawn", building towards a grand conclusion. While it is highly enjoyable, in some ways it sounds like a cliché of everything Oldfield has done up to this point, all thrown into a melting pot and regurgitated as something new.

The remaining 5 tracks formed side two of the original LP, which ran to a creditable 50 minutes. The first of these, "Family man" is highly accessible pop based song which was successfully covered by Hall and Oates. It gave Oldfield a rare singles chart hit in the USA, albeit as the composer.

At over 13 minutes, "Orabidoo" is the second longest track on the album, and indeed the only other track of substantial length. This eclectic mix of styles starts off deceptively with the sounds of a musical box before Mike rediscovers that irritating vocoder device again, this time sharing the microphone with Maggie Reilly. As the track seems to be heading for a synthesiser driven crescendo, we are suddenly pulled back by a plodding rhythm and a far more symphonic style of sound. This in turn gives way to a pleasant but quite out of place acoustic ballad sung by Reilly bearing the sub-title "Ireland's eye".

"Mount Teidi" (a mountain on Tenerife) is the only completely instrumental track on the album. The track has the feel of an ambient pan pipes number, with a world music sub-plot.

The album closes with the title track, which tells the tale of a bad trip (as in journey!) Oldfield experienced in an aeroplane. The lyrics even manage to include the phonetic language call sign of the aircraft and the mayday message. The song itself includes the vocoder one last time in a piece whose complexity belies its brief running time.

In all, a decent album from Oldfield, but not one I would rate among his best. The vocoder offers an irritating and unsatisfactory sound at the best of times, so when it appears as frequently as it does here, the album is bound to suffer. On the plus side, the presence of the voice of Maggie Reilly on any album gives it a distinct advantage.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I was expecting a lot from "Taurus II" (maybe too much).

It is not the first time of course that an Oldfield song sounds a bit repetitive, but this one lacks in great harmonies. It is a bit loose. From all his epics so far, it is the one that I like less. Too confusing : some heavy sounds mixed with true folkish moods are covering a too bright spectre of music IMO. The good moments are a little spread out here. A good number but no more.

I enjoy a lot the vigorous and pop "Family Man". A bit repetitive probably (even if it only clocks at less than four minutes). I tend to agree with Russelk about the fact that "pop" doesn't mean bad. This is a perfect example of this concept.

Still, the use of the vocoder during "Orabidoo" is a bit too much. Instrumental parts are fine but nothing too exciting. An average song even if there are some brilliant moments like the great guitar piece just before the tranquil and sung finale. But too few of these to fill thirteen minutes to be honest.

It is rather astonishing that the songs that speak the most to me from this album are the shortest ones. Mount Teidi is another one of them while the closing and title track also features some vocoder which is not really my cup of tea.

It is my least favourite Oldfield album so far. Average I would say. Five out of ten. Temporarily upgraded to three stars. It is still to be noticed that Mike hasn't yet released a weak album. And this one was released in 1982. A year later than Abacab etc. Do you see what I mean?

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Five miles away from the 70s.

Far and away from the style of Tubular Bells comes this Mike Oldfield effort. While it still has everything one would expect from a Mike Oldfield album - incredibly well composed songs, a side long epic, wonderful guitar work along with other instruments - this one also as a very commercial feel to it at times. For those unfamiliar to the world of later Oldfield, this one also features vocals from both Mike and a fantastic female singer by the name of Maggie Reilly. This disc still has a lot of the charm that his older works possessed, but it'd very clear that Mike was reaching out for commercial success.

Starting off the album is the side long TAURUS II, a continuation of ''Taurus I'' off of his QE2 album. This is what everyone would expect from Mike Oldfield - a long, winding instrumental composed of excellent musicianship and catchy riffs from every instrument. The song doesn't over stay it's welcome at all, and the track moves effortlessly without falling victim to tedium. A bit of vocal work by Reilly seems to fit very well with the composition right in the middle after the heavy riffs of the opening fall into the background a little bit more and they manage to carry the song along nicely. The only minor flaw that this album has is it's coda part. While the funky bass riff is what here propels the song it sounds too much like someone simply mashed the 'play demo' button on a keyboard and walked away for about 4 minutes while telling Reilly to start improvising some nonsensical vocals. Still a part with good rhythm and timing, this is the only part which may make ears twitch. However, thanks to the 20+ minutes of remarkable music on this particular track the ending is very forgivable.

After the excellent side one things start to get a bit more commercial... with decent results!

The opener to the second half of the album is the single FAMILY MAN. This is a fairly catchy yet at the same time slightly annoying pop song which is saved only by some cool guitar noodling by Oldfield and some very remarkable delivery in the vocal department by Reilly. Still a major letdown after the first track so boldly put things on the way, FAMILY MAN is a track that wont appeal to many prog fans. ORABIDOO is the next track on the album, and also the second longest. A pseudo-instrumental clocking in at just over 13 minutes, the calm and easy ORABIDOO starts out with some very slow music and works its way through about 5 minutes of more subdued vocoder bits until it finally arrives at the climax. Mike's guitars finally take hold and the synths push this one to the end. Excellent track all around just so long as you're one for the slow bits.

Coming to the end there's a guest apperance! Yes, Carl Palmer steps on board and helps out with the percussion on MOUNT TEIDI, the only true instrumental on the album. Reminding all of why he's considered a prog hero, this track is one of the standouts with its very smooth delivery.

The final track on the album, and second single, is the title track, FIVE MILES OUT. If you're expecting this pop-rock song to get a bashing from this reviewer you'd better think again. This song is fantastic! A tale about a airborne journey gone wrong, FIVE MILES OUT was written from Oldfield's own experiences as a pilot... and it shows in his fierce delivery. Some very heavy riffs after some more vocoder and some very heavy vocals show that Oldfield isn't just a square who can only play long instrumental tunes. The vocals parts in the middle actually start to sound like Nightwish must have listened to a lot of Oldfield. Mike and Reilly's voices combine in a sweet harmony, even when Mike is screaming at the top of his lungs. Then at the end it all winds down into the excellent coda with Mike and Reilly both singing the chorus in queue and unison ''Five miles out...''. Superb track! Superb! Throw some of Oldfield's wonderful playing in there and you have yourself a killer song. Unfortunately though... its still a pop-rock song.

Not the most progressive Oldfield album and it's not perfect either. However, Five Miles Out is well worth the purchase simply for the opening track - and then tracks 3, 4, and (if you like short songs) 5. Lots of good material on the album brought down a bit by some mediocre parts. 3.5 stars for a very good album, just don't expect another Tubular Bells.

Review by Thulëatan
5 stars Inspired by his own love of flying and then recent gaining of a pilot's license, Mike Oldfield returned in 1982 with an album loosely themed around his experiences in the air - thankfully not just the mechanical aspect of physically handling a plane, but the very emotion of flight and the spirit of freedom and adventure it may bring. While still unmistakably Oldfield with its rich variety of instrumentation, the entire album has a more contemporary stamp than 'QE2', mostly due to the presence of more hard-edge distorted guitars and powerful drums. By now the strong undercurrent of riffing bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath was prevalent in rock and very much starting to... let's say 'infect' the progressive musicianship of the '70s, and Oldfield did not escape. But he does integrate those stylistic elements extremely well, presenting them as a feature rather than a basis, and never letting them overpower the complete picture.

It's worth mentioning here near the start that the mastering of 'Five Miles Out' is very quiet indeed - both the original vinyl and CD releases, including the recent remasters. So don't forget to crank the volume up a good few notches more than your average listening level. Press play, and...

The album starts with the epic semi-instrumental 'Taurus II', a classic side-length Oldfield masterclass which effectively takes the ideology of his early '70s compositions and forms a new, modern translation. Brimming with energetic playing, the piece runs through a wealth of ideas in what is almost a forerunner of 1990's earth-shattering 'Amarok'. The album's primary motif - a strident sequence of distorted fifths - serves as a bold opening before giving way to the second motif, a fast and complex guitar pattern here accompanied by a symphony of rattling drums and percussion that surely even Bill Bruford would approve of. From the outset there is a mixture of passion, tension and trepidation, as Oldfield creates one of his traditional journeys through very specific, interlacing but often conflicting emotions - is Taurus a character study of himself? - yet there is also an undeniable sense of confidence throughout, like rising to the challenge of facing this whirlwind of thoughts. At one point after an almost festival-like section, complete with eloquent bagpiping, the track bottoms out into an unexpected vocal interlude - beautifully sung by frequent guest Maggie Reilly, this gentle refrain adapted from the melody of 'Taurus I' acts as a kind of calm before the storm, with intimate words of guidance and of parting. This is most effective in the final line, 'Here's a song to take with you...' before the voice is lost in the wall of sound. Later, a more electronic facet is also revealed through use of the vocoder - a distinctive voice harmonising device which Mike clearly enjoys playing with here and on 'QE2'. On this track, he doo-waps with the vocoder, and joined by stabbing brass synths manages to create a rare but genuine lighthearted moment. Onward through exuberant melodies and further fiery jams, 'Taurus II' ends in a triumphant crescendo, and in exhaustion fades away in ripples of what sounds like a backwards dulcimer.

'Family Man' is certainly the odd 'man' out on the album, very obviously an attempt to create a successful single, and firmly entrenched in the style of the time: a straight-up 4/4 beat, dry blocks of synth, playful samples of waterdrops, and a slick vocal by Maggie Reilly. The lyrics, too, draw the piece towards mainstream mating ritual territory - not to mention away from the theme of flight/travel! - telling the story of a married man fighting temptation in the form of one very determined hustler. All of that said, the song is nevertheless far from terrible, with a satisfying build-up structure complementing the narrative, and Oldfield's free-form guitar work constantly underneath to set it apart from the average pop outing.

The third track, 'Orabidoo', is subtle and mysterious - a good indicator of how different the 'Five Miles Out' album is from anything else. The opening segment is so delicate that it's in danger of being the worst casualty of the quiet mastering, but close listening reveals a magical acoustic guitar and tuned percussion duet which harks right back to Oldfield's early improvisational genius ('Tubular Bells', 'Hergest Ridge', 'Ommadawn'). The music is almost like a memory of those times, distant and nostalgic. Then the main part of the track kicks off, a breezy song with a considered beat built upon complex synth-flute arpeggios. Mike himself sings the lyrics about the sights of flying, but the singing is low in the mix and heavily disguised by vocoder, making it more of an instrument than a voice and contributing to the ethereal quality of this piece. The mood changes halfway when the album's second motif from 'Taurus II' enters the scene in a dramatic cycle, through various instruments and just about every scale! Unlike the title track coming up, this change does not evoke the sense of sudden danger or hazardous flight conditions, but rather a motivation to push forward or take risks, which in turn leads to an awesome, uplifting guitar-led climax. The piece closes neatly with the same acoustic sparkle as it started, with Reilly singing a farewell song to one of the best-loved views seen on the journey.

Sitting near the end of the LP, shy and unassuming, 'Mount Teidi' is a piece often overlooked being in the shadow of its neighbouring tracks, but after many years' listening it has come to be one of my all- time favourite Mike Oldfield tracks. An intricate melody (the likes of which you could only ever get from Mike Oldfield) is introduced early on and gradually gathers up backing and harmony from layers of synthesizers and rolling drums. The tricky interplay between the lead instruments, bass line and sequencer somehow creates a very unique, adventurous and spirited feel, which smoothly grows in intensity, and the visits from Mike's sustain guitar (at 1.27, for example) are especially affirming. Putting its full meaning into words, and even pinning down the style of 'Mount Teidi', is still beyond me - but it's a special four minutes indeed.

The title track closes the album, and is lyrically the focal point of the flying theme, a song about a mid- air crisis. Like 'Family Man' it can be taken as a standalone single, but this one is unashamedly progressive rock and much more representative of the album as a whole, adopting the first guitar motif from 'Taurus II'. Maggie Reilly sings again, sharing the vocals with a Mike/vocoder combo, and there's an impression of various characters: Mike as the troubled pilot crackling through his headset, and Maggie as the ground control eager for the plane's safe return. Again the track has a strong narrative sense, and manages to move convincingly through several changes in its short length, reflecting the chaos and adrenalin of the situation. It all ends with the fading sound of the engines, and the listener is left to wonder whether the plane makes it through or not.

Definitely Oldfield's strongest album of the '80s, and only a half star off for the incongruity of 'Family Man'.

Review by kenethlevine
5 stars While Mike Oldfield's very approach was innovative when he began, he increasingly became self referential as the 1970s wore on. "Platinum" and "QE2" marked a change to a band driven style. There really is a difference between having a dozen or so Oldfields coming at you at once and having him confront you on guitar while some major session musicians and vocalists round out the proceedings. With "Five Miles Out", Oldfield completed the picture, with an album that was as entertaining as it was interesting, and he did it largely by recycling old styles into a modern collage.

Peter Frampton was one of the first to popularize the vocoder, and Oldfield picked it up in 1981, half a decade later, yet he really pushed its use to areas Frampton would and could never go, melding it to a crystallizing awareness of world music in its Celtic and African forms in particular. This is true on the mini-epic "Orabidoo" (which sneaks in a reference from QE2's "Conflict" among other cobbled together parts), but especially on the 24 minute "Taurus 2", the centerpiece of the work. Oldfield and his band never stay long in one place, but they skirmish about several points of origin. Apart from the man's versatile rhythm and lead guitar work bursting with melody and power, he has also deferred greater freedom to vocalist Maggie Reilly, whose chants and plaintive appeals are sprinkled about sparsely but tastily. Morris Pert's drumming often has a tribal feel and is generally nimble and suited to the style, while Tim Cross proves a perfect foil on keyboards. Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains contributes ample uilean pipes to cement "Five Miles Out" as Oldfield's most rootsy album to date.

"Family Man" is a quirky pop track of the sort that Oldfield perfected in the 1980s, highlighted by sultry Reilly vocals, a solid beat, and, of course, guitar flourishes not often seen on the charts. While it became a hit in local markets, it was the Hall and Oates' sanitization apparatus that manufactured a world wide hit mere months later. "Mount Teide" is an instrumental to appease the old fans, with an almost too sweet melody but a majestic buildup and finale. The title cut features a rare lead vocal by Oldfield, and it hammers home one of the main melodic themes of the disk. The chorus is certainly catchy, and the enthusiasm prevents the number from drowning in gimmickry.

While not a breakthrough album like MO's earlier works, "Five Miles Out" is far more engagingly rocking than anything he had done up to that point. It is also more diversified and yet unified, thanks to the hitherto unthinkable reality of a "Mike Oldfield Band". His career was rewarded with a resurgence as a result, and the band's live performances were much acclaimed. He had put himself waaaay out there at a difficult time, and triumphed. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The worm crawls slowly towards the sound, fascinated by the rhythm while overhead the swallows twirl wildly in looping frenzy. The neighborhood cats are prowling as if transfixed, completely oblivious to all the other usual targets. Where is this strange music coming from? It seems to always emanate from the same window, where the quiet man lives, you know the one with the weird musical tastes! I always loved this album, perhaps due to the tremendous music between its vinyl thighs, perhaps because I was becoming a "Family Man" at the time, or maybe it was the fantastic artwork, one of the finest rock album covers ever. The musicians here are all phenomenal: the incredible Morris Pert on assorted percussion, the solid Tim Cross on keys, a gentleman named Rick Fenn on guitar (played with Floyd's Nick Mason and with 10CC), the stunning Celtic wail from Maggie Reilly, the even more Celtic pipes from Chieftain Paddy Moloney, the added percussives from ELP's Palmer and the busiest session drummer in the UK at the time, Graham Broad. "Taurus II" leaves off where Taurus I (on the previous "QE2") started, a humungous 24 minute escapade into a variety of tones and styles , heady contrasts and rippling Oldfield riffs and leads that only a genius like him could come up with.. Leaving behind the stark orchestral whoosh of the Tubular Bell format, Mike gets a little harder edged which suited him very nicely, a jet-propelled ensemble that could dip, weave, soar and swerve with intricate facility. "Taurus II" remains a classic pillar of prog, a showcase to an immense talent and some pretty courageous vision, pulsating music that has a razor edge among the dense Irish mists, a constantly evolving brew of sound and fury. A true progressive tour de force, enough said. "Family Man" is way more inspiring than the sloppy Philadelphian version by Hall and Oates, here full of Gaelic charm and sexy exuberance. A work where the stark electronics clash with the robotic drums, nearby the dripping synths and the rash guitar intermix while Maggie displays her vocal wares, somehow not able to convey any "commercial" message at all. It holds its place very well as a romantic interlude, with a slippery solo burst that is plain scary. "Orabidoo" travels to distant sonic shores as pilot Oldfield (he still is a flyer) elevates his ailerons and heads south, into the mystically clear blue skies of North Africa and beyond. The trend here is certainly more experimental, lots of vocoded voices, anomalous sonic samples with sundry effects, stinging electronic blasts, screeching guitar licks, massive doses of binary drumming within an oasis of poly-rhythmic percussives, some obtuse harpsichord, repeated by a jangly piano, unexpected scat singing and a raging riff just to keep you off your Kilimanjaro! This is another classic Oldfield piece de resistance, a quirky slab of detailed mosaic that defies convention and formula. Some music rag hacks back then called this patchwork but they had never been in a studio, unable to string three notes together. The soft vocal and acoustic finale is proof enough of Mike's grasp and class. "Mount Teidi" features a gentle lilt, lush with spirited bass and fluid guitar lines while Carl Palmer bashes away on percussion, another atmospheric adventure that is inspiring and ultimately satisfying. I strongly suggest to revisit the glorious cover art and absorb the spirit of aviate adventure, as if soaring above the routine, floating in some sonic expanse that has no limitations. The title closer is a pleasant ditty with Oldfield's heavily vocoded voice entwined with Reilly's crystal chords, the Celtic clashing with some harsh growling (Mike, did you give birth to death-metal too?), loopy guitar, more robotics and yet the angelic voice persists.

The worm looks up at me and seems to still wonder "Am I Five Miles Out?"

5 Miles In, baby .

Review by poslednijat_colobar
2 stars Taurus series continue.

Here the situation is the same as with Platinum and especially QE2 - the musicianship and songwriting are not pleasant for me. For me to like this album (and the previous two by MO) means to like Abacab, Genesis or Invisible Touch by Genesis; Big Generator, Talk or Open Your Eyes by Yes; Head First or Equator by Uriah Heep. All these options are impossible for my. This have to receive 2 stars, because it's not awful and contains any music.

Taurus 2 is the sequel to Taurus I, but it's little worse, because it contains some illogical transitions between the main themes. Instead of this, Taurus 2 is the best song on the album Five Miles Out. The other songs are almost pure and poor pop music full of some electronic and new wave (of low quality) sounds. Again we have a soup of different, inappropriate genres and ideas. 2 stars (I'm not sure if the 2 stars are full)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars At first, Five Miles Out announces itself as an album with a meaner and more urgent feel then the two that preceded. Taurus2 starts with a catchy riff that promises great things, but unfortunately the piece quickly starts taking strange twists and turns that sound forced rather then meaningful. I think Oldfield relied too heavily on the undemanding feel-happy Celtic folk tunes that he had been overusing for years already. For me, In Dulce Jubilo and Portsmouth suffice. I don't have any need for endless weedy repetitions of it. Besides, a lot of the melodies are rather plain and the music simply lacks emotion.

Emotion comes in waves on Family Man, a simple pop tune but easily the most original and compelling tune he recorded since Incantations I& II. There's some kind of post-punk-light vibe on this track. I could hear Siouxsie doing this one. It launches a better inspired continuation of the album. The lengthy Orabidoo is slightly more experimental then Oldfield's usual fare but still I can't say I'm much overwhelmed by it. A bit too far-fetched again. Mount Teidi sounds more electronic and feels similar to Tangerine Dream soundtrack material of those years. The closing Five Miles Out is a bit silly but quite fun. The next album would make better use of the guest vocalists I'd say.

One excellent pop song and a couple of decent long instrumental pieces. Not bad, but not entirely compelling neither. 2.5 stars

Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars The album cover is way better than the music here unfortunately. Oldfield who is a pilot wrote most of the songs here from experiences that he has had while flying. It was released in 1982. I must admit I disliked this recording from the first time I heard it, and repeated listens have only confirmed my initial evaluation.

"Taurus II" is the almost 25 minute opener. It does have it's moments.This is a toe tapper early on then female vocal melodies come in after 1 1/2 minutes. It will continue to change throughout. I have to smile when the guitar comes in before 4 minutes because i've always liked Oldfield's style and the tone of his guitar. Uillean Pipes before 6 1/2 minutes then it settles 8 minutes in followed by female vocals. I don't like the female vocal melodies before 17 minutes because they remind me of ABBA. Guitar is back before 19 minutes. A heavier beat after 20 minutes then the song ends with solo piano.

"Family Man" is cringe worthy. Yikes ! An 80's pop tune with female vocals. "Orabidoo" is pastoral to start before kicking in somewhat before 2 1/2 minutes. Processed vocals on this one too. Piano before 7 1/2 minutes followed by synths. It sounds better 10 minutes in but it doesn't last long. It ends with acoustic guitar and reserved female vocals. "Mount Teidi" has a beat while the guitar joins in. It's fuller later. Yawn. "Five Miles Out" has a beat with processed male vocals. Female vocals join in. Some guest strings on this one as well and a catchy beat.

No this is not good at all in my opinion, and like the last two Collaborator's i too can only offer up 2 stars.

Review by Matti
4 stars In this album and the next one, Crises, Oldfield returns to the tradition of having a side-long epic and the other side of shorter tracks (QE2 had rejected that habit in 1980 - naturally his first few albums had nothing but side-long compositions). Think what were the times: punk had happened and New Wave was everywhere, but Mike Oldfield stayed loyal to his own artistic expression and delivered some of the proggiest music of the era. OK, at this time he started writing also catchy pop songs (here's 'Family Man' with Maggie Reilly who would continue a chain of Oldfield hits), but isn't it much better to make good pop songs than bad semi-prog? Besides, even Family Man sounds very original and contains some "progressive" elements. Another hit is the title track in which Mike deals with his recently found dear hobby, flying. Actually it's fantastic, a bit nightmarish prog song with interestingly manipulated vocals shared by Maggie and Mike himself. Of course some of you might think it's ridiculous in its technical gimmickry but for me it's a strong and intriguing piece.

The instrumental 'Mount Teidi' is the weakest track and isn't really weak at all, I just happen to prefer the live version on The Complete Mike Oldfield. Here the potential of the composition is not captured equally well. 'Orabidoo' is an oddity featuring Reilly's vocals treated as instrument and some distant-sounding voice collache. It is somehow serene and strange at the same time, with many different elements nicely put into one. The side-long opener 'Taurus II' is a bold and brave work in unmistakable Oldfield style, running through various phases. After a fast and restless (but not too chaotic) section it calms down and Maggie Reilly starts singing a slow lullaby theme. And little by little the intensity rises again. A great composition but the last ten minutes are not as good.

One of the best Oldfield albums since Incantations. The song-oriented pop side is already creeping in, but here it's in perfect balance with more experimental, progressive expression. A must for Oldfield fans, and an amazing prog work of the times. In addition of continuing the progressive rock tradition which the big crowd hated, it was also modern - and yet it avoided all the pitfalls of the present-day mechanical pop business. Funny, I first heard this already in my teens (my sister had the LP) but it was just recently that I realized this is better than I thought.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The best post-70s album Mike ever did. In fact, apart from Amarok I don't really care for anything he's done since. Even though this was released in 1982, it actually comes the closest of any of his albums to sounding like stereotypical 70s prog. Here he begins his flirtation with mainstream pop. But it's really good pop/rock compared to the singles on his next album. He actually has a full band backing him now which gives the music more of a traditional "rock" feel.

Maggie Reilly sings on all the songs except the instrumental "Mount Teidi". This features Carl Palmer on percussion. Nothing special about this track and it's the weakest song on the album. "Family Man" was a big hit when it was covered by Hall & Oates. I prefer this version. It's a great pop/rock song from the early 80s and better than most singles coming out at the time. The title track is another great pop/rock song but is more adventurous. It even has a bit of the 'caveman' vocals from Tubular. Guaranteed not to get much radio airplay. I'm not sure if the bagpipes in this song are the real deal or not, but they sound like it. I love the vocals at the end that get repeated. There are four different voices that go:

"Five miles out"(Mike-on-telephone)

"Just hold your heading true, go to get your..."(normal Mike)

"...finest out"(Maggie) "Climbing, climbing"(Mike-with-vocoder)

Speaking of vocoder, Oldfield uses it a lot here. Even more than on QE2. I like vocoder, maybe not as much as Daft Punk, but it doesn't bother me in the least. "Orabidoo" starts off with some music box before some drums, keys and more vocoder appear. The majority of this song I like a lot but the last few minutes are a let down. Just acoustic guitar and Maggie singing. When she says "upon the water" it reminds me of Roger Waters in "Grantchester Meadows". Both "Orabidoo" and the title track share themes with "Taurus II", the second and best part of the Taurus trilogy.

Mike uses the Fairlight synth on this album. I've never been a big fan of it, but he uses it to good effect. Especially on "Taurus II", one of Oldfield's best side-long epics. It sounds like a cross between Ommadawn and QE2. Paddy Moloney from the Chieftains plays the Uileann pipes, just as he did on Ommadawn. There's a lot going on in this epic and it changes constantly. There is a part around the five minute mark that I just love, but it only lasts for about 10 seconds. i wish that part was longer. Some good guitar throughout the entire piece. The vocals, whether Mike or Maggie, are generally good. Just before 17 minutes we get a section which sounds very ABBA-like. After the drums kick in it just gets better. Mike covered an ABBA song on his last album so this shouldn't come as a shock. Great part anyway. I like the ending here where you hear a piano with an echo or delay effect. Nice.

While this album sounds like it could have been made in 1980, his next Crises doesn't sound like like it could have made before 1982. Very sterile and 80s sounding. The blantant attempts at pop hits don't help it's case either. Five Miles Out was the last great album Mike made before realizing he's not a pop dude and came up with Amarok. Not quite as good as most of his '70s albums, but still great. 4 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Whereas previously Mike did it all himself, with hand-held instruments, here we see the folk master adopting (and adapting to) computer synths.

1. "Taurus II" (24:49) sounds like an expansion and reworking of the dynamic section in the middle of Side Two of "Hergest Ridge." Lacking any enjoyable melodies (unless you're British). The vocal section in the ninth minute with the lovely voice of Maggie Reilly is my favorite motif. The Uillean pipes, too. (43/50)

2. "Family Man" (3:45) yes, Mike has decided to record a reworking of the Hall & Oates hit. Don't know if this was an attempt to launch Maggie Reilly into the Top of the Pops, but Maggie does not have the power and presence of Daryl Hall. (8.5/10)

3. "Orabidoo" (13:03) after 2:20 of solo glockenspiel (or a computer-generated facsimile thereof), simple Phil Collins-like rhythm track guides along Mike's vocoder voice (oddly, with Maggie Reilly's "normal" human voice as backup) with some keys and guitars adding their two pence worth for the next three minutes. I actually like the woven palette from around 5:30 to 7:00 despite the plodding rhythm track. The competing multiple keyboards over the next couple of minutes (including a tempo increase) is interesting and fairly well pulled off, it's just that now, 40 years later, it sounds a bit dated. The drop into a sparse, slower section at the end of the ninth minute within which Mike plays his Mike Oldfield lead electric guitar in a very typical Mike Oldfield way using a Mike Oldfield melody that he's used many times before (including in "Hergest Ridge") is actually quite disappointing. The song then finishes with two pastoral minutes of Maggie singing a folk ditty over some very sparse instrumentation. This is nice--a nice finish. (21.75/25)

4. "Mount Teidi" (4:10) I actually like this one. The Carl Palmer touch really shines through! (8.875/10)

5. "Five Miles Out" (4:17) they're no BUGGLES or PHIL COLLINS--and I don't like Mike's "monster" vocals in the second half. (8.4/10)

Total Time: 50:03

B-/3.5 stars; there is some validating stuff that holds up over time, but mostly it feels like Mike using old sounds, structures, and motifs in order to experiment with his new electronic toys.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 1982's 'Five Miles Out' sees Mike Oldfield continue to tread the line between pop and progressive rock music, essentially considered "progressive pop", it features an eclectic mixture of instruments, sounds, and ideas, and shows a man who clearly knows no bounds when it comes to songwriting. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1779960) | Posted by martindavey87 | Thursday, September 7, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars His Fourth-Best Album. While following in much the same vein as QEII compositionally, this album is much stronger. "Taurus II" is a side-long piece, and Oldfield's strongest composition since the latter half of Incantations, with a highly memorable main theme, and lots of other strong sections. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#1718280) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, May 6, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This CD doesn´t need all the bad press It has had all those years. It is a good one and I think Taurus II is one of the finest pieces of music He has ever written (I mean It). So enough with the backlashing and I encourage you to buy this CD and listen for yourself the good music It has on It ... (read more)

Report this review (#1390606) | Posted by steelyhead | Monday, March 30, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Being an absolute fan of Oldfield, I can say that I have heard all his work. In the 80's, he also edited works very appreciable. True, punctuated by the commerciality of the times, but with creative musical pearls that stand out. The genius of the artist is always unmistakable and unique. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#956001) | Posted by sinslice | Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Five Miles Out is among my personal favourite Mike Oldfield albums. It's very progressive and contains a lot of vocoder and Maggie Reilly. What really caught my attention was it's very well performed percussion which adds to the quality of the album. The incredibly interesting and progressive Tau ... (read more)

Report this review (#505603) | Posted by Quirky Turkey | Friday, August 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After reviewing two of Oldfield's lesser works- EARTH MOVING and VOYAGER, I figured it was time to have a crack at one of my Oldfield favorites, FIVE MILES OUT from 1982. The percussion plays a large part in much of this album, and some able guests help to pull this up to a near 5 star status. ... (read more)

Report this review (#296264) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, August 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My fourth and last mike oldfield album i got so far is another one like very much, Mike compered to most other giants from the 70s seems to have hade a pretty good time in the 80s and continued to reales good albums. which is impressive seeing most others artist realising one [&*!#]y album after ... (read more)

Report this review (#161007) | Posted by Zargus | Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the album where Mike Oldfield finds a new way in my opinon - unfortunately it´s the wrong one! Both Taurus II and Orabidoo are "epics" relating to the early masterpieces and both tracks are strong. Taurus II is my personal favourite with both rockier moments as well as beautiful uillea ... (read more)

Report this review (#96452) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Very underrated album. I remember when almost 25 years ago my older friend put the vinyl on the record player and the guitar intro just blew me away. I felt the incredible dynamics, the guitar screamed-neighed like a horse and I saw in my mind the small airplane in the clouds. I still feel the ... (read more)

Report this review (#87934) | Posted by Tandary | Tuesday, August 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I rate this album five stars mostly by personal reasons (It's simply so good!). Nevertheless, Five Miles Out has it all: diverse music, rock, electronic/robotic (vocoder), lullabies, celtic elements, pop etc. etc. Although it's diverse, it's also very original, and positive! The massive opener, T ... (read more)

Report this review (#58864) | Posted by | Friday, December 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOW! A MASTERPIECE! Listen often! The title song still gives me chills when it reaches the part with the hurricane. "Taurus II" is also very good, although not very well known. And all the other songs are excellent too. Go out there and get "FMO", or squawk emergency... just kidding :) ... (read more)

Report this review (#28364) | Posted by | Friday, June 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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