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


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.70 | 48 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Like all compilations, "The Complete Mike Oldfield" is flawed in its attempt to cover a prolific career in the space of only 2 CDs. Given the high quality of Oldfield's material up to that point, the task is even more daunting, and the preponderance of 20 minute instrumentals in the man's discography only sets us up for further compromise. This is in particular noticeable on the extracts from the early albums.

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

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

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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