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MIKE OLDFIELD

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Mike Oldfield biography
Born in 1953 in Reading, England, Mike OLDFIELD took up the guitar at seven and was composing instrumental pieces by age 10. With his sister Sally, he secured a record deal under the name SALLYANGIE and released the folkish album "Children of the Sun" in 1968. He then landed a position playing first bass and later guitar with WHOLE WORLD, led by ex-SOFT MACHINE co-founder Kevin Ayers. During the next few years he also served as a studio musician at Abbey Road, where he experimented with a wide range of instruments. He gradually built up a home studio and began working on a large-scale project, playing all of the parts himself. This was the prototype for "Tubular Bells", but OLDFIELD had no success generating label interest until he met with future Virgin Records founders Simon Draper and Richard Branson. They loved his ideas and gave him plenty of freedom to record in their state-of-the-art The Manor studio, and ended up releasing "Tubular Bells" on their brand new label when no other record company showed interest. The record shot to first place in the UK and elsewhere, attracting the attention of director William Friedkin, whose use of the intro segment in "The Exorcist" generated widespread recognition (OLDFIELD was not pleased by the association, however).

Retreating from his newfound celebrity, OLDFIELD recorded several more critically acclaimed albums, similar in scope and approach but constantly developing new instrumental and compositional skills. In 1979 his single "Guilty" showed that shorter vocal-based pieces and more recent music styles were beginning to creep into his work; he also returned to touring in 1979 after undergoing therapy to combat his reclusive, solitary tendencies. His work in the 80s included such far-ranging releases as "Crises" (including vocals by Jon ANDERSON), the soundtrack to the film "The Killing Fields", and a song called "Family Man" which became a hit for HALL & OATES. Known for consistently offering a visual spectacular in his live performances, he also developed an interest in video artistry, including a video album called "Wind Chimes". The 90s saw a return to longer symphonic-style works, including "Amarok" and "Tubular Bells II", for which he departed the increasingly commercial Virgin Records for the smaller WEA label. His "Songs of Distant Earth" album was the first CD ever to include CD-ROM content, as well as album notes by legendary sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. "Voyager" showed his appreciation f...
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Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Mercury UK 2009
Audio CD$3.68
$4.43 (used)
Man on the RocksMan on the Rocks
Mercury 2014
Audio CD$11.51
$10.51 (used)
Songs of Distant EarthSongs of Distant Earth
Import
Warner Spec. Mkt. UK 2008
Audio CD$2.78
$0.47 (used)
Tubular Bells, IITubular Bells, II
Reprise Records 2011
Audio CD$4.87
$0.31 (used)
The ExorcistThe Exorcist
Limited Edition · Soundtrack
Perseverance Records 2013
Audio CD$6.98
$6.28 (used)
Tubular Bells 3Tubular Bells 3
Import
Warner Bros UK 1999
Audio CD$2.78
$2.09 (used)
AmarokAmarok
Remastered · Import
EMI Europe Generic 2000
Audio CD$5.44
$4.44 (used)
Tubular BellsTubular Bells
Deluxe Edition · Extra tracks · Import
Mercury UK 2009
Audio CD$12.08
$24.69 (used)
Five Miles OutFive Miles Out
Import
Universal UK 2013
Audio CD$16.00
$23.15 (used)
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MIKE OLDFIELD shows & tickets


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MIKE OLDFIELD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MIKE OLDFIELD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 770 ratings
Tubular Bells
1973
3.94 | 390 ratings
Hergest Ridge
1974
2.46 | 126 ratings
The Orchestral Tubular Bells
1975
4.34 | 863 ratings
Ommadawn
1975
3.91 | 297 ratings
Incantations
1978
3.09 | 192 ratings
Platinum
1979
3.49 | 203 ratings
Q.E.2
1980
3.68 | 248 ratings
Five Miles Out
1982
3.40 | 284 ratings
Crises
1983
2.77 | 163 ratings
Discovery
1984
2.64 | 98 ratings
The Killing Fields
1984
2.57 | 143 ratings
Islands
1987
2.02 | 116 ratings
Earth Moving
1989
4.07 | 416 ratings
Amarok
1990
2.51 | 125 ratings
Heaven's Open
1991
3.57 | 207 ratings
Tubular Bells II
1992
3.76 | 219 ratings
The Songs of Distant Earth
1994
3.07 | 154 ratings
Voyager
1996
3.39 | 144 ratings
Tubular Bells III
1998
2.93 | 119 ratings
Guitars
1999
2.30 | 98 ratings
The Millenium Bell
1999
2.44 | 99 ratings
Tr3s Lunas
2002
3.72 | 148 ratings
Tubular Bells 2003
2003
2.80 | 104 ratings
Light + Shade
2005
3.00 | 129 ratings
Music of the Spheres
2008
3.39 | 102 ratings
Man On The Rocks
2014

MIKE OLDFIELD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 60 ratings
Exposed
1979

MIKE OLDFIELD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.89 | 28 ratings
Tubular Bells II & III Live (DVD)
1999
2.43 | 28 ratings
The Art In Heaven Concert Live In Berlin (DVD)
2000
4.50 | 10 ratings
DVD Collection
2003
3.08 | 20 ratings
Elements - The Best Of (DVD)
2004
3.74 | 29 ratings
Exposed
2005
4.35 | 63 ratings
Live At Montreux 1981
2006

MIKE OLDFIELD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 40 ratings
Mike Oldfield - Boxed
1976
3.57 | 13 ratings
Airborn
1980
3.00 | 4 ratings
Impressions
1980
2.98 | 8 ratings
Music Wonderland
1981
3.69 | 31 ratings
The Complete Mike Oldfield
1985
3.17 | 4 ratings
Collector's Edition Box I
1990
3.11 | 6 ratings
Collector's Edition Box II
1990
2.48 | 21 ratings
Elements: The Best of Mike Oldfield
1993
2.90 | 11 ratings
Elements: 1973-1991
1993
2.63 | 12 ratings
XXV - The Essential Mike Oldfield
1997
2.03 | 8 ratings
The Best Of Tubular Bells
2001
2.83 | 6 ratings
The Mike Oldfield Collection
2002
2.56 | 7 ratings
The Complete Tubular Bells
2003
2.40 | 11 ratings
The Platinum Collection
2006
4.29 | 14 ratings
Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield
2012
4.00 | 5 ratings
Tubular Beats
2013

MIKE OLDFIELD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.16 | 6 ratings
Mistake
1982
3.15 | 8 ratings
Shadow on the Wall
1983
4.00 | 1 ratings
To France
1984
3.93 | 12 ratings
Pictures in the Dark
1985
3.33 | 9 ratings
Shine
1986
1.80 | 5 ratings
Innocent
1989
2.20 | 5 ratings
Tattoo
1992

MIKE OLDFIELD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hergest Ridge by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 390 ratings

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Hergest Ridge
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

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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 Man On The Rocks by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.39 | 102 ratings

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Man On The Rocks
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars I love this album. I really do. This new album from the legendary Mike Oldfield was an unexpected surprise for me, as I'm a big fan of his guitar work and the people he's influenced. His new album "Man on the Rocks" manages to be a wonderful, enjoyable experience. This is especially so if you don't approach this album expecting "Tubular Bells" or the like. This is an old guy doing what he loves, and I really enjoy that.

Speaking of old men, this album features many tunes that center on nostalgia and pondering the mystery of life. I love to sit back and listen to older people tell stories and pass on wisdom; I really appreciate that. This album comes across that way for me.

The music, as I said, is pure enjoyment. Mike plays his signature guitar and some keys, and he has a wonderful band and a young singer behind him. This album, however, is no prog masterpiece. It has a strong classic rock sound to much of it, and that's okay. There are also some more eclectic elements, such as island music. It's a far cry from his masterworks, but you can't expect that level of work forever. So, for the most part, the music is more simplistic, rockin', and just fun. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of soloing on the album, as there are only a few. Mike's guitars are always a high point for me, and feel that his signature sound could have been used more. But, I really can't review an album for what's NOT on it.

There are many, many good songs on here, a few amazing tracks, and one track that could have been omitted. The good songs include "Sailing", "Minutes", "Dreaming in the Wind", and a few others. The bad song, for me, includes "Irene". You see, "Irene" completely blocks my vision of the rest of the album, as I really can't stand it. It's an old-fashioned, love- struck rock tune about, you guessed it, Irene. It's very shallow compared to the rest of the album, and it's just not my thing. However, I've heard much worse.

Despite that track, Mike puts out some rather incredible tracks, too. These include the folksy "Moonshine", the climactic "Man on the Rocks", the ballad "I Give Myself Away", and the strangely addictive "Castaway" that features some drums that are pure gold and one of the best solos on the album. So, with these fantastic tunes and with some wonderful tracks surrounding them, I feel that Mike Oldfield has actually satisfied my Oldfield craving.

Is this a masterpiece? Far from it. Is it worthy of your time and money? Absolutely. It's just a fun album to hear; full of progressive tweaks, elderly wisdom and introspection, and some tracks that blew away my expectations. I hope to hear more from Mike in the future, but, if this happens to be his last, I feel that he has gone out on a high note that will provide me enjoyment for years to come.

3.5 stars

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 Man On The Rocks by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.39 | 102 ratings

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Man On The Rocks
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by Chris S
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I must say I was somewhat skeptical when learning of this release late 2013 but when I heard the sampler of the studio work, saw Leland Sklar in the background and Luke Spiller on vocals, I knew that this could be potentially a refreshing new release.

Mike Oldfield has always managed to cross between long epic instrumental passages with short crossover pop/prog songs. In fact he even went totally pop on the studio album Earth Moving. So what am I driving at? Albums like side two off Crises, side two off Islands, side one off Heaven's Open, Discovery and Earth Moving always had a wealth of shorter, vocally driven songs. Exclude short tracks off more definitive works like Five Miles Out or QE2. So this is Oldfield in his comfort zone, mixing a good dose of rock and crossover which results in mostly a highly enjoyable album. Cleverly composed songs with a perfect blend of Oldfield's ubiquitous guitar solo's and led with Luke Spiller's vocals. I will go one further and say that in terms of choosing a male vocalist to guest on his albums, this is by far Oldfield's shrewdest choice yet.

So what about the songs. I am thrilled to say there are no throw away tracks at all. The combination of musicianship, choruses, vocals, work a treat and flow seamlessly. Spiller is so good he allows Oldfield space to belt out his music without any pressure. There are eleven tracks on Man on the Rocks, the highlights would be Nuclear. Listen to the chorus, Spiller sounds like Greg Lake on Epitaph.......yeah that good! Moonshine and Dreaming In The Wind are excellent also as is Irene. This last track really does sound like a hurricane building to a relentless and oppressive climax. Castaway has some solid drumming by John Robinson. Leland Sklar never disappoints on bass throughout the album either. So I stick my neck out and unashamedly say this the most enjoyable studio release since TBIII. A deserved four stars and great to see Oldfield back and enjoying himself. His guitars really shine.

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 Man On The Rocks by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.39 | 102 ratings

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Man On The Rocks
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars How fantastic Mike Oldfield is here again with a fine record with many songs and a lot of music. This time it's 2014 and the record's name is "Man on the rocks" and we can see an opening in a rock where we see the sea on the cover picture. Mike Oldfield is the master of guitars and keyboards on this record and the other musicians are Luke Spiller who sings, John Robinson who drums and Leland Sklar who plays bass.

There are a lot to praise on this album some things to complain on. Firstly it's lovely to hear Oldfield's characteristic guitar, most likely those on "Crises" and secondly he has found a very talanted singer to sing his songs. Luke Spiller has a strong and very poetic voice that fits this music well. On some of these songs they have really made a good job. Particularly the title track "Man on the rocks" is fantastic(10/10), I love it very much, it is poetic, harmonic and has a lot of great guitars. The first song "Sailing" is a lovely pop song(7/10) almost in class with those on "Crises". Then we have "Nuclear" which is less enthusiastic than the other's but takes place in a fine atmosphere(7/10) and "Moonshine" is also a fine track(6/10). The others aren't as interesting. "Minutes", "Dreaming in the wind", "Chariots" and "Castaway" are quite nice songs(5/10) but the three songs in the end are actually very bad(3/10), these three should you definitely skip but listen to the eight first and get a nice collection of songs. I will let the strongs sections be higher valued than the weak ones.

For well made compositions, some nice guitar and Luke's great vocals I will give three stars. But I don't think this is enough for Oldfield, I would have liked to hear more of his guitars.

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 Man On The Rocks by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.39 | 102 ratings

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Man On The Rocks
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The first thing to say in this review is a health warning. If you are a person who believes that for a song to qualify as prog, it should be at least ten minutes long, and preferably twenty, or that any Mike Oldfield album that does not include at least one track of that length represents a sellout or abomination to all things prog, then it is fair to say that this new release is not for you. Do not waste your money, for you will be very upset and disappointed. Actually, best not to even read any further, go settle down, relax, and listen to some of that real prog.

For the rest of you, those open to the principle that a song based album can actually be pretty good and, well, like prog, this album might well be for you.

It is some six years since Oldfield's last release, and he had clearly entered a state of semi-retirement. However, the overwhelmingly positive response to his live appearance at the superb London 2012 Opening Ceremony, and, as clearly, the need to exorcise some inner demons that have been dormant for some time, persuaded the great man to sit down, write, get a band together, and release an album of entirely new material.

Band is the first thing, actually, to note about Man On The Rocks. It is an Oldfield band performance, rather than Oldfield doing it all. The man himself plays guitars and keyboards, but enlists the services of veteran bassist Leland Sklar (Phil Collins and CSN), drummer John Robinson (Eric Clapton), and, on vocals, Luke Spiller, of Derby indie rock band, The Struts. Yep, you read right, Oldfield has recruited an Indie singer to perform on one of his albums, which, if some comments are to be believed, represents a capital crime.

In fact, Spiller is one of the finds of the decade, and puts in one hell of a shift in on this. He has the full range, from the soft textures of the title track and Following The Angels, to the full rock pelt of Nuclear. Some have compared him to Freddie Mercury, and the comparison is not entirely a load of old spin. The way he works with Oldfield on the disturbingly catchy Minutes does, actually, invoke memories of another fine partnership Oldfield once had with a certain Maggie.

The music is fair mix of styles, from the pure, and instantly enjoyable toe-tapping, pop of opener Sailing, to the dark, heavy, and brooding Nuclear, via Celtic infused influences (similar to those found on Voyager) of Moonshine, Chariots, which could easily have found a way into a album such as Calling All Stations, and gospel influences on Following The Angels and the closer, I Give Myself Away.

The constant throughout is Oldfield's guitar work. If he had been the lead guitarist of a common or garden band, rather than the multi instrumentalist we know, I genuinely believe that we would be talking about him in the same reverential and hushed tones we reserve for the likes of Howe and Hackett. His (undoubtedly conscious) decision to restrict himself to guitars and keys allows him to shine, and this album contains some of the best trademark guitar bursts, licks, and riffs heard from him for many a year. I simply love the electric burst of Castaway, which screams and cries emotion.

I mentioned earlier inner demons. Well, the extraordinary title track, with its slow opening right to the bombastic rock pomp of the emotional outlets that follow, deals with his, and his late mother's, many addictions, the thoughtful Castaway with the fear of a child, Minutes and Chariots, with missing loved ones and separation (he is going through yet another separation and divorce), and, especially, the very dark Nuclear, the highlight of the album for me, dealing with emotional suffering, the riffs of which remind me of Blackmore at his rock peak, and put many so called heavy rock acts to shame. The other fine harder rock track is Irene, dealing with the hurricane that struck the island where Oldfield now calls home.

It is not, however, all doom and gloom. Following The Angels, the longest track at just over seven minutes, is a tribute to the Olympic Opening Ceremony, Sailing is about the joy of a life on the ocean waves, and a nice, gently performed, worship number in the closer, I Give Myself Away, written by William McDowell, a black gospel singer and preacher. I love the complex prog pop of Dreaming In The Wind, a tribute to an unknown man whose ashes were spread in the sea, but is more cheery than it might sound on reading. Actually, the word, in spite of some of the subject matter, that best describes this album is fun, in that Oldfield, I believe, had a great deal of fun and satisfaction in making it. It is not a "simple" pop album, it is the mature work of a great songwriter which grows on one with each and every listen.

Okay, so to a rating. Going back to the beginning of this review, this is not an Amarok, Bells, Incantations, or Ommadawn. It could be better compared to side two of Crises, or albums such as QE2 or Discovery, and stands up very well in comparison, so four stars for this, an album which I will play regularly for a long time. This review is of the single cd only. There is an extended version available with instrumental work.

His swan song? I know not, but, if it is, there are far worse ways to sign off.

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 Man On The Rocks by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.39 | 102 ratings

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Man On The Rocks
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by franp

3 stars Clean, well played, well recorded, sure. But prog not much.

Heavy drums and male echoed voice in Sailing, which is basically a transposition to plain old rock of "Island" Flying Star or "Earth Moving" Hostage.

Celtic influences and Guilmour-esque guitar ā la "Songs of Distant Earth" in Moonshine.

Man on the Rocks is a nice ballad starting over classical guitar and slwoly growing with drums, bass and finaly typical Oldfield acoustic guitar and celtic influences again. Great dynamics on this track. This is probably the best track, the most Oldfield-esque (post-Hergest Ridge era), and the most prog of the set.

Castaway is another slow ballad with Gilmour-esque guitar staring mid-way featuring the specific Oldfield tremolos. Once again the closest comparaision coming to mind is "Songs of a Distant Earth".

Minutes is a average beat rock. Think Shadow of the moon with a male voice instead of a female one. You won't remember this one.

Dreaming in the wind is an entertaining rock song again, staring over a Mark Knopfler-esque guitar. Finishes on plain acoustic guitar the Oldfield way. Pleasant. You cannot but swing on this one. Could easily be turned into a single calibrated to reach the hit.

The darker Nuclear (describing a post-nuclear world) is a derivative of "Heaven's Open" No Dream lacking any interest, contrary to the original.

Chariots is an heavy rock with tremolos. Skip.

Following the Angels is a ballad on a slow pace, gradually introducing acoustic guitar and chorus, reminescent of "Discovery" Saved by a bell. You will swing again on this one. Pleasant.

Irčne is a plain blues-rock you will skip.

I Give Myself Away is a slow ballad again with Oldfield acoustic guitar and and short mellotron sequence starting on the third third. You won't remember much of this one either.

I would say it is not that bad. Lot of various influences, nothing bad (nothing to compare with Earth Moving), a kind of resume of the post-Hergest Ridge era (minus the house period, thanks gods). Nothing great, nothing bad. Much more homogeneous than most of previous Oldfield efforts. The sound is perfect. You just feel the genious is gone.

One more to say : at least, this is not an n-th Tubuilar Bells variation contrary to most of the 90's Oldfierld productions. I give a 3 for I am sure a few songs will grow on me.

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 Hergest Ridge by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.94 | 390 ratings

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Hergest Ridge
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by ebil0505

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 invites the listener to bask in a tranquil landscape of melodic chords and guitar strumming that, in all honesty, can only be described as pleasurable. This must be where Hergest Ridge lies, for the melody is mirrored briefly in Part 2. All the notes are perfectly fit to be played together. This really demonstrates the calmer side of Oldfield's musicianship. However, once side 2 is played there is the same feeling of growing repetition that was introduced on the previous half. About halfway through side 2, there erupts a fierceness bridled with the intensity of Oldfield's driving virtuosity, reminding us that he is still capable of producing hard-hitting rock anthems, and the gradual journey that takes you there only makes the climax all the more impressive. The ending closes off the music with a nice reprise of a previous theme and wraps up the album nicely. The farewell of Hergest Ridge.

The album as a whole works very well with the multiple melodies that Oldfield is able to invent, because they do subliminally transfer over the two sides. While it is certainly no masterpiece, it is very much worth listening to, particularly if you are a fan of his other works. Or music in general for that matter.

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 Guitars by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.93 | 119 ratings

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Guitars
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the heady excitement, Ibiza grooves and all, of Tubular Bells III, Oldfield decided to indulge himself, and absolutely nobody else, for this, his follow up album.

Actually, that is such a misleading description. This is a follow up to nothing except, perhaps, a need by him to simply pit down some licks and ideas on the instrument which, quite clearly, he is most adept at.

Thus, we have a veritable smorgasbord of ideas here, ranging from identifiable prog, to virtuoso acoustic, misplaced metal chords, to even country and western, via Celtic folk and easily recognisable Bells sequences.

There is virtually no structure to this album at all, but, as those of us who love and appreciate Anthony Phillips' noodlings will appreciate, that is not necessarily a bad thing. There are occasions when you wish to sit down, with a good set of headphones, and simply lie back and let the sound of a class musician, playing his instrument of choice, wash over you. It is, actually, worth buying for Muse alone which is an exceptionally beautiful composition, and one of his finest.

Three stars for this, a very good and satisfying work, without being remotely essential or crucially important. It was, though, somewhat brave after the commercial success that Bells III brought.

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 Elements - The Best Of (DVD) by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover DVD/Video, 2004
3.08 | 20 ratings

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Elements - The Best Of (DVD)
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having pre-ordered the new Oldfield cd out shortly, I have been listening a fair bit to the great man recently.

It is fair to say that many people know Oldfield only for albums with Bells on them, certainly in terms of sales and public consciousness. Mention to same people Moonlight Shadow, and most will say, "ooh yes, I liked that. So did my mam!".

All rather unfair, because Oldfield has been responsible for some great music, ranging from the pure prog of Bells and Amarok, through Celtic influenced folk as in Voyager, with pure commercial rock/pop as well.

Given that this is a collection of music videos, it is perhaps unsurprising that there is a fair amount of the more commercial material here, but that really should not put you off getting this as a fairly definitive chronicle of Oldfield releases down the years.

In rating this DVD, I will not pay any attention to the quality of the videos themselves. For example, Don Alfonso, featuring an old Carry On film stalwart, is pure camp and shocking, but it should be realised that videos are, in the main, products of the time or a particular director's interpretation or imagination. This is a music site, and it is on the music it shall be judged.

And, by and large, it passes the test more than adequately.

We have an early performance of TB (made for BBC, I believe), which is a fascinating record of how technology in bringing such a complex work was at 40 years ago, now. It is excellent, although, of course, you can get far better quality live recordings elsewhere of all three Bell cd's.

Some of the absolute high points of his early instrumental work is superbly represented. In Dolci Jubilo, William Tell, Blue Peter theme, and Portsmouth are all utterly sublime, and pure progressive music of the era.

My favourite here is, actually, a cover. The video might be somewhat corny with a sprog attached to Oldfield's lap, but the rendition of The Shadows Wonderful Land is far superior to the sublime version which appeared on QE2.

There are a couple of curiosities, such as the Jon Anderson collaboration Shine, released as a single in the mid 80's. I really enjoy this, but, of course, you need to be a fan of his solo output of the time to enjoy it, so be warned.

The gorgeous voice, and input to Oldfield's career, of Maggie Reilly is well represented, with my particular favourite To France included.

It is fair to state here that if you loathe the later commercial aspects of Oldfield's career, then the last eight to ten videos will not be for you. I did enjoy, so am pretty happy to have them here.

I rather like this DVD, and got it a number of years ago. It is one of the few such discs I have that my wife is extremely happy to sit all the way through, join in, and thoroughly enjoy. Not a bad thing really, eh?

So, four stars for this. Judge not the video (ham sandwich on Shadow on the Wall, anyone?), but the tunes. Here, you have nigh on three hours of top quality

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 Amarok by OLDFIELD, MIKE album cover Studio Album, 1990
4.07 | 416 ratings

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Amarok
Mike Oldfield Crossover Prog

Review by ebil0505

5 stars "Amarok" is probably one of the more interesting albums/songs I've ever listened to. If ever there was an artist who could successfully create an hour-long song and still maintain the listener's attention for the entire duration, it is Mike Oldfield. Not only does he compose this elaborate test of dedication with the expected skill we've come to know and love as Mike Oldfield, but he does so with the perfect balance of melodies one might relate to in Thick as a Brick. Besides kill time, this album/song provides a most elaborate escape into the world of music that is quite unparalleled in music that I've listened to. You could listen to this song in fragments like any other album, or you could sit yourself down and listen to the full hour. Either way, Oldfield's got your back. There's just enough random nonsense contained within for it not to be taken too seriously, which I think humbles the music itself. I respect the fact that I can take this music seriously and at the same bask in the silly moments with delight. Definitely one of Oldfield's best, if not his best already and definitely worth checking out if you enjoy his other works.

Also, for some reason I always pictured Meryl Streep as the "woman of endings".

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