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Mike Oldfield - Voyager CD (album) cover

VOYAGER

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.09 | 216 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Local hero

There is a strong Celtic influence and feel to this album, which finds Oldfield in what appears to be a very relaxed mood. While the music is pleasant, it borders in places on easy listening. I couldn't help but picture Oldfield in full Hank Marvin mode, smiling at the camera with each relaxed note he picks out on his guitar.

While Mike sticks mainly to his various guitars, there are a large number of guest artists who contribute percussion, pipes, whistle, fiddle etc. There are many familiar themes included, the tune to "She moved through the fair" for example was used by Simple Minds on their "Belfast child" single. Some tracks which are listed as being "traditional" are actually 20th century compositions, duly adopted and interpreted by Oldfield ("Women of Ireland", is an example). "Dark Island", is one of those melodies which sounds entirely familiar, but I am at a loss to put a name to it. The track is bizarrely interrupted mid-way through by a burst of Handel's "Sarabande".

I'm not sure if it's just coincidence, but "The hero" has similarities to Mark Knopfler's wonderful theme music to the excellent film "Local hero" (set mainly in the North of Scotland). "Flowers of the forest" borrows heavily from a traditional Scottish fishing song called "The Mingulay boat song" to the extent that the "vocals" all but sing the original lyrics. The sound of the pipes here further emphasises the Scottish origins.

Oldfield's musicianship if of course exemplary, but there is little, if any, of the complex structures and intricate guitar work of his other albums. He's working well within himself here. No criticism is intended, it is refreshing to hear him adopting a more straight forward approach (as he did on some of his instrumental singles). Indeed, given the way he has introduced Celtic influences to many of his works, "Voyager" is really just a logical progression for him.

From a prog perspective, this album is not particularly strong. From a more general point of view, it is an enjoyable, easy to listen to diversion.

I have the cassette version, which has the tracks in a completely different order for some reason. It doesn't seem to be to do with balancing the side lengths, as there's still a long gap at the end of side one! "Mont St Michel" becomes the last track and the others all shuffle about. This is probably a more satisfactory ending to the album as the track is a longer more structured piece, with heavy orchestration. It sounds a bit out of place in the context of the rest of the album.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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