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Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog

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Mike Oldfield Airborn album cover
3.58 | 17 ratings | 2 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Platinum, Part 1: Airborn (5:06)
2. Platinum, Part 2: Platinum (6:03)
3. Platinum, Part 3: Charleston (3:17)
4. Platinum, Part 4: North Star / Platinum Finale (4:43)
5. Guilty (4:00)
6. Into Wonderland (3:40)
7. Punkadiddle (4:56)
8. I Got Rhythm (4:40)
9. Tubular Bells, Part 1 (Live) (23:45)
10. Incantations* (Studio And Live) (19:26)

Total Time: 79:36
* part 1- part 3 - part 4 (studio) / part 2 - "The Sailor's Hornpipe" (live).

Line-up / Musicians

Written by Mike Oldfield except "North Star" by Phillips Glass, and "I Got Rhythm" by George & Ira Gershwin and "The Sailor's Hornpipe" which is traditional.

Releases information

Virgin #VA 2153/2

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and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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MIKE OLDFIELD Airborn ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MIKE OLDFIELD Airborn reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is nothing else than the Platinum album, plus the "Guilty" track, and minus the "Woodhenge" track. This record is probably Oldfield's most representative work of the progressive rock style. Mike's many electric guitars solos are VERY catchy and melodic, like on the QE2 album. All the tracks are at least very good. The epic "Platinum" track has excellent complex bass, pleasant & sometimes funny male and female vocals, charming vibraphone/marimba, delicate piano and some very rhythmic keyboards (clavinet?) in the beginning: it must be completely & uninterruptedly listened.

The side 2 is not less interesting: the rhythmic and melodic "Guilty", very keyboards oriented, was the music theme of a popular TV presentation in the 80's here in Quebec, of which I forgot the name. Mike's taste for excellent female lead & backing vocals is legendary: Wendy Roberts gracefully sings on "Into Wonderland"; there are also some funny male chants and a lively & melodic synthesizer solo; the bass is provided by a punchy synthesizer. "Punkadiddle" is a funny track full of melodic guitars and childlike keyboards, with a funny punk rhythm in the second part. Wendy Roberts sings very well again on "I got rhythm", supported by melodic and catchy electric piano notes.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Guilty as charged

"Airborn" is effectively Oldfield's "Platinum" album repacked for release in the USA, the name being taken from a section of the title track. The only real change is the inclusion of the single "Guilty" in place of "Woodhenge". This is certainly an improvement, "Woodhenge" being something of a throwaway, ambient piece. "Guilty" on the other hand is a far more upbeat, commercial piece which was based on note patterns which originally appeared on the "Incarnations" album. "Into wonderland" is included in place of "Sally" a track which only appeared on the earliest versions of "Platinum".

As for the music itself, I cannot really get excited about the album. Yes, the performance is as always exemplary, but with Oldfield at the time beginning to wear out the path he was repeatedly walking, the need for strong compositions was even greater than on preceding albums.

The feature track Is the four part "Platinum", which occupies the whole of side one of the LP. The piece has the usual variety of themes, but I found the links between them somewhat more jarring than usual. Oldfield appears at times to be on cruise control when playing guitar. There is some variation from the norm in the Chicago like brass, and a rather jazzy piano interlude leading up to the "Ommadawn" like ending, with non-lyrical vocals. Overall though, it is just a bit too dull and Oldfield by the numbers like.

Side two is an eclectic mix of mismatched songs. Apart from the aforementioned "Guilty", there is the crooning George Gershwin cover "I got rhythm". "Into wonderland" is a jaunty female vocal piece, with strong pop connections. "Punkadiddle" is Mike's reaction to punk rock, a genre he did not take to. Punk had of course had a major impact on the success of Oldfield's releases, not least because Virgin had been signing and promoting punk bands while putting less than 100% effort into marketing their original benefactor. The track itself is something of a simple lightweight collection of melodies, fun but entirely dispensable.

This album is certainly not a solo effort by any means. Oldfield brought in many accomplished musicians, including a number from the then current line up of Gong. Indeed this was the third Oldfield album Gong drummer Pierre Moerlen played on. Meanwhile, another drummer, Morris Pert, was making the first of his many contributions to Oldfield's work.

In all, a rather disappointing album which is pleasant but undemanding. The second side of the LP gives the impression that Oldfield is running short of inspiration, even reverting to a rare cover version to fill the time.

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