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Mike Oldfield - Ommadawn CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.30 | 1355 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Oldfield's some-would-say superior follow-up to the commercial blockbuster 'Tubular Bells' achieved the mean feat of somehow being as good - both technically and musically - as it's record-breaking predecessor. Of course, this time around, there was no epoch-defining supernatural Hollywood shocker to help promote the album, yet somehow it doesn't matter. Whilst 'Tubular Bells' featured an insanely-catchy introduction seguing into some delightfully zany, classically-informed, cod-instrumental prog-noodling that marked the youthful Oldfield out as a genuine talent, 'Ommadawn' showcases a harder, more mature side to it's creator, with elements of celtic folk, symphonic rock and hues of abstract, almost jazzy playfulness making up the album's two gargantuan tracks. Certainly, this is no movie soundtrack, yet neither was 'Tubular Bells' really. Overall 'Ommadawn' is a stronger album - moodier, darker, tougher - and certainly it's a more favoured one in general for the prog-rock community, with less repetition, an occasional bucolic candour and a more inquiring instrumental scope that sees Oldfield increase even more his arsenal of different sonic gadgets. Although successful, it(funnily enough) failed to match the commercial feats of 'Tubular Bells' yet still proved a big seller. Ever the musical hermit, it seems the camera-shy and fame-loathing Oldfield's major influence for 'Ommadawn' was the countryside he would disappear into so as to avoid the acidic glare of publicity - that, and, although this is said through gritted teeth, the constant prodding and coaxing of Virgin Records owner Richard Branson. Full of strange, almost mystical moments and a warm core overlapped by strange, byzantine rhythms and soundscapes, this is an indulgent yet absolutely fascinating piece of music the encapsulates so much of what is interesting about the progressive rock genre. A very, very good album, this is arguably Mike Oldfield operating at his youthful apex.


stefro | 4/5 |


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