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Mike Oldfield

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Mike Oldfield Amarok album cover
4.02 | 652 ratings | 64 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Amarok (60:04):

00:00 - Fast Riff Intro
02:32 - Intro
05:46 - Climax I - 12 Strings
06:18 - Soft Bodhran
07:20 - Rachmaninov I
08:35 - Soft Bodhran 2
09:29 - Rachmaninov II
09:56 - Roses
10:42 - Reprise I - Intro
12:45 - Scot
13:16 - Didlybom
15:00 - Mad Bit
15:56 - Run In
16:11 - Hoover
18:00 - Fast Riff
19:57 - Lion
21:57 - Fast Waltz
23:42 - Stop
24:33 - Mad Bit 2
24:46 - Fast Waltz 2
25:06 - Mandolin
26:07 - Intermission
26:23 - Boat
29:27 - Intro Reprise 2
32:07 - Big Roses
33:13 - Green Green
34:24 - Slow Waltz
36:04 - Lion Reprise
37:05 - Mandolin Reprise
37:47 - TV am / Hoover / Scot
39:50 - Fast Riff Reprise
42:22 - Boat Reprise
43:32 - 12 Rep / Intro Waltz
44:12 - Green Reprise
44:46 - Africa I: Far Build
48:00 - Africa I: Far Dip
48:46 - Africa I: Pre Climax
49:32 - Africa I: 12 Climax
50:24 - Africa I: Climax I
51:00 - Africa II: Bridge
51:17 - Africa II: Riff
51:34 - Africa II: Boats
51:52 - Africa II: Bridge II
52:10 - Africa II: Climax II
54:22 - Africa III: Baker

Total Time: 60:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / acoustic, classical, 12-string, electric, flamenco, sitar, bowed & Glorfindel guitars, bouzouki, bass, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, acoustic & electric pianos, organs (Farfisa, Lowrey, Hammond, Vox Continental), marimba, glockenspiel, bodhran, Northumbrian bagpipes, melodica, psaltery, Jew's harp, spinet, Pan pipes, violin, bongos, bass drums, timpani, synthesizers (Roland D50 & vocoder), tubular bells, assorted percussion & effects, co-producer

- Janet Brown / "voice" of Margaret Thatcher
- Bridget St. John / vocals
- Clodagh Simonds / vocals
- Paddy Moloney / Uillean pipes
- Julian Bahula / African musicians leader (choir & percussion)

Releases information

Artwork: William Murray

LP Virgin - V 2640 (1990, Europe)

CD Virgin - CDV 2640(1990, Europe)
CD Virgin - 2-45041 (1992 ?)
CD Virgin - 86007 (1992 ?)
CD EMI - 845658 (2000 ?)
CD EMI - 849388 (2000 ?)
CD Virgin - MIKECD15 (2000, UK) Remastered by Symon Heyworth
CD Caroline Records ‎- CAR49385 (2000, US) Remastered by Symon Heyworth

Numerous reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MIKE OLDFIELD Amarok Music

MIKE OLDFIELD Amarok ratings distribution

(652 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

MIKE OLDFIELD Amarok reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars As the warning stipulates "This record could be hazardous to the health of cloth-eared nincompoops" and this is certainly true. "Amarok" is yet another masterpiece from OLDFIELD. Once again OLDFIELD has put thousands of instruments and instrumental sections together in one very long but superb song. "Amarok" contains lots of the pattented OLDFIELD characteristics that we have all come to love and appreciate. The melodies are lush and very captivating moving through many different moods. "Amarok" has no constraints around it and obviously Mike was free to take this piece in any direction. Some absolute stunning symphonic rock moments which will make you shiver. This cd is perfect for those nights when you want to sit and stare out into the sky at the stars.
Review by lor68
4 stars Well how many re-recordings were performed here? Probably a lot and moreover such recordings were almost equal to those ones of "Dark Side of the Moon" by PINK FLOYD. Nevertheless, unlike these latter, the present album is the output of a one man band only, involved with the whole wide range of guitars. Another modern and essential issue!!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Unbelievable! 60 minutes of incredible music! There is only one song! The airs are never the same, always full of surprises! This music is EXTREMELY progressive! There are so many instruments involved: there are TONS of acoustic string, percussive and wind instruments, all perfectly matched with an advanced keyboards technology! Mike relies again on his famous sublime female vocalists of the 70's: Clodagh Simmonds and Bridget St- John among others: they produce TONS of catchy, addictive and graceful chant.

This is Mike Oldfield's best album! Right now, it is my 3rd all-time best record! You want to know what is genius? Well, listen to this album!! The music is very complex and it brings me many pleasant emotions. I can't ask for more! There are NO fillers! We almost can say: "The daydream guarantee is your cash refund"!!! This music is not for simpleminded people! You must have a certain intelligence to appreciate all this complex structure! If you listen it in your 200$ radio and dare to rate it 2 stars, then shame on you!!



Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Since day one (the day I purchased it), 'Amarok' is my absolute Oldfield fav album of all- time... and let me tell you that I am lost in love with such classics as his first four studio recordings. But the way he said goodbye to the 80s in 'Amarok' is simply astonishing beyond imagination. All the Oldfield ingredients are here: varied compositions, peculiar sensibility towards diverse folk sources (Celtic, Flamenco. African, Asian), exquisite treatment of electric sources (rock, blues), interesting use of special effects and weird stuff, of course excellent performances on all sorts of guitars, keyboards and other gears... and yet, Olfield manages to take these things to the most bizarre level ever. The way each section is connected through abrupt contrasts and cuts over and over again is cleverly designed to drive your aesthetic perception to a state of overwrought disbelief. Well, sometimes the transitions are smooth and perfectly fluid. Two examples: the link between the Dixieland ukelele portion and the dissonant banjo sequence; and the link between the Flamenco tour-de-force and the Greek party section, which softly leads to a calm, eerie piano section. But generally speaking, the name of this album's game is deconstruction. Finally, it all ends with the emergence of the three final African sections, where the invitation is clear: "dance and enjoy, release yourself from all the previous emotional tension". Once I read in an Oldfield-devoted web site this brief review on 'Amarok': "Happy? Happy!" - well, this simple statement summarizes my diagnose very accurately.

P.S.: A special mention goes to those weird multilayered guitar effects shaped as abrupt brass counterpoints, that appear now and then as unexpected flashes of lightning. Some of them were aligned in order to create a (deservedly obscene) Morse Code message sent to Virgin "dictator" R.B.

Review by richardh
5 stars The first Oldfield album since 'Crises' that I can listen to in it's entirety without getting bored.Someone described this as 'Tubular Bells one and a half' and they have a point.It follows in that same tradition and is basically a return to the instrumental side long suites that epitomised his seventies output.And it doesn't dissapoint.Mike has clearly learnt much from his foray into commercial music and is now able to enbue his music with a warmth that truly involves the listener.Whereas before you needed a degree of perseverance now the music just flows beautifully.Also Oldfield is prepared to be self effacing and not as much up himself as in earlier days when he was something of an 'upstart'.This is a mature and sometimes funny work that still displays all the man's immense talent.Highly recommended.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Just when you thought Oldield was sliding irreversably down the slippery slope after the nightmarish ' Earth Moving' album he returns in 1990 with this masterpiece. It just proves what a genius he is and I guess he has nothing to prove so if like with the Earth Moving album he was catering very much to ' cloth eared ninkompoops' as in the sleeve of Amorok quite evidently this time he is not. This is a 60 minute jumbled masterpiece from beginning to end. It is hard to define it as it is one song throughout and only after repeated listens do you find the genius at play.The guitar solo's are beautiful, the sound effects apt and humorous as he takes the piss on Virgin record mogul Richard Branson, but more importantly the work of music put to disc is a stunning achievment. Definitely along with Ommadawn and Incantations one of his top three albums.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A formula for success?

I found "Amarok" to be something of a disappointment. The usual ingredients are here, with each side (I have the cassette version) consisting of a single track, which moves through various moods and sounds.

Unfortunately, the composition as a whole is weak and disjointed. Oldfield sounds as if he has run out of ideas, and is merely composing by the numbers. The actual performance is, as you would expect highly competent, with the guitar work in particular being notable. The inclusion of female choral style voices also offers a pleasant diversion. There are however, too many jarring changes of tempo and sound, and too much noodling with superfluous effects.

Had this been one of Oldfield's first albums, I would probably have enjoyed it more, and rated it more highly. For me though, by the time of this album, Oldfield reckoned he had found a formula for making albums, and stuck to it a bit too rigidly. This was to some extent later evidenced by Oldfield's own attitude to his work in various interviews, where he indicated he had become bored with his own musical style.

While "Amarok" has many of the qualities you would expect from a Mike Oldfield album, the key one which appears to be missing is inspiration. When compared to albums such as "Tubular bells", "Ommadawn" and "The songs of distant earth", "Amarok" does not stand up well with its illustrious peers.

Review by Thulëatan
5 stars Oldfield's personal and creative history aside, looking at this album as a stand alone sonic phenomenon and not a reactionary or tongue-in-cheek move on his part, 'Amarok' stands as perhaps the greatest album ever made.

It's either this or 'Ommadawn'.

This sixty minutes (and it is sixty, not fifty) of music immerses the listener in a truly epic onslaught of the most diverse, multi-layered, intricately textured and exquisitely performed sounds I have heard on record. The depth is astounding (a very common response to this music is how much it can be scrutinised and yet continually reveal fresh subtleties) and presents a vast landscape of emotions and perceptions without even the faintest need for lyrics - Oldfield's mastery of every instrument he touches offers far more than any voice could. On good albums, there are always certain points where several factors of melody, harmony, timing, instrumentation and atmosphere combine in an extra special way, give that little something more, and a memorable moment is born. Every constituent segment of 'Amarok' is like this... so much attention and vision has been put into shaping each theme, each change, making it a rather challenging but supremely rewarding listen.

While the running length of this piece will intrigue some, the gentle sounds will suit some people as easy listening, and Oldfield's unmistakable guitar playing will impress your friends, 'Amarok' meets standards far above and beyond this as a serious masterwork of the musical artform.

A must for all mortals of worth - music doesn't come much better than this, and you've heard nothing like it before.

Review by russellk
4 stars By this stage in his career Mike OLDFIELD was struggling with his musical direction. There is no doubting his talent. Ommadawn and Tubular Bells are classic symphonic progressive pieces, and he proved he could write decent pop music during the 1980s. However, after two poor records (1987's Islands and 1989's Earth Moving), this album comes as a pleasant surprise.

Amarok features one 60-minute composition, harking back to his symphonic period. OLDFIELD enlists the help of people who appreared on his 1970s work, including Clodagh Simonds, Bridget St. John and, most notably, Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. However, Amarok is not one organic, beautiful whole in the way his first four albums were. It is a more troublesome beast, sitting uncomfortably on the boundary between familiarity and experimentation. Many of his touches are awkward or just plain silly. When he returns to his symphonic roots, as he does in the last twenty minutes of this work, he is once again brilliant, though arguably bordering on self-parody. In the end, the music suffers from OLDFIELD'S thin skin, and sounds like an effort to be all things to all people. When he decided to ignore his critics and write beautiful music the results were glorious, as he proved in 1993 with Tubular Bells II and again in 1996 with Songs of Distant Earth. What a pity he didn't make this the wonderful record it so nearly was.

Review by The Crow
5 stars Itīs difficult for me to talk about this album, because talk about "Amarok" is like talking about one of the most secret and beautiful parts of my life...Itīs just like when you have a secret that you donīt want to share...

But how can a single mind create music of such originality, quality and beauty? The Oldfieldīs fans we know that he is able of the best, but unfortunately he is also able of the worst...How can be this absolute masterpiece called "Amarok" between two mediocre albums like "Earth Moving" and "Heavenīs Open". Itīs something unbelievable, but this think makes this album shine even more brightly...

"Amarok" in my opinion is obviously the sequel of "Ommadawn". Its style is similar, with a lot of world music influences. But "Amarok" is more experimental and more original, and maybe even better...This album has no songs or tracks. "Amarok" itīs just an album itself, itīs a single piece longer that 60 minutes!!! Maybe some people think that the originality of this albums are just the noises and sound effects...Ok, itīs right! But these sounds are mixed with the music of such form that itīs impossible to imagine it separated! And everything makes a incredible mixture... But I also think that the great thing of this album itīs the great different parts and differents styles that it has, but that never fades the album integrity! You can hear flamenco, pop, celtic music, folk, african, symphonic, ambient, electronic...But Oldfield mixed it of such form that it made this album something really compact and with a very definited style! Itīs just incredible!!!

Donīt worry about you have heard about Mike Oldfield. Donīt care if you have not liked the Oldfieldīs music youīve heard before...Because if you have not listend "Amarok" yet, youīre missing one of the most original and unique albums ever recorded!!!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This twelfth studio album by Mike Oldfield represented his reunion with the producer whom produced Mike's debut album that mae him one of legendary musicians of the seventies, Tom Newman. As the debut album was a success, this album reached a position of no 49 in British Album Charts after it was issued in June 1990. The album comprises only one track that consumes 52 minutes duration. The music flows with a balance of folk music at the beginning, flamenco and ethnic sounds / world music. Mike seemed to repeat his success in Tubular Bells as well as Ommadawn. In fact, he ever mentioned that this album was a follow up of Ommadawn or even he called this album as Ommadawn 2. Mike used roughly about 30 instruments in this record.

As far as taste concern, it might not be the kind of album that I'm into it because it requires high level of patience in enjoying the music that to me sounds like elongated way too much. I find some boring parts of this album. My CD is a HDCD disc with new packaging and it has a warning at the back cover of the CD saying: HEALTH WARNING. This record could be hazardous to the health of clothe-eared nincompoops. If you suffer from this condition consult your Doctor immediately. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by OpethGuitarist
4 stars A hodge podge of intelligent and interesting sections, but ultimately fails to come together as a whole.

This album has some of my favorite moments of music, but it's very disjointed and doesn't build enough on what I would consider superior sections of the music. The beginning for one, is perhaps the highlight of the album, as the first 5 minutes or so are absolutely stunning in terms of quality and musicianship, especially when the Spanish flamenco-like dance pattern comes in.

Low spots like the repetitive "happy" drives me nuts. I can understand Mike's desire to make something virtually unsellable, but this basically spoils the wonderful backing music during these mock vocal sections. Overall, the album is better than Tubular Bells, but not as good as Hergest Ridge, which I consider the superior Oldfield work. If you're a fan of any kind of instrumental music or multi-instrumental efforts a la Gentle Giant, this is strongly recommended. However, I can't help but think that if a bit more thought was put into the release and less frustration with the recording company, that this could have been something much greater than it already is.

Review by fuxi
4 stars Back in the 1970s, the sounds of TUBULAR BELLS streamed through hundreds of thousands of incense-soaked boys' rooms. Other Mike Oldfield albums, most notably OMMADAWN, gave the impression that their creator was a man who would always keep astonishing the world, almost single-handedly, with kaleidoscopic rock symphonies.

But at the end of the seventies Oldfield's career took a strange turn. Although he still released a few "symphonic" albums (such as INCANTATIONS) they were just a pale reflection of his earlier work. He also started recording material in questionable taste (Abba-covers, Euro-disco) as well as catchy folk-rock tunes, with which he had a few minor hits. It seemed he could no longer be taken seriously as an artist - an impression that was confirmed by endless re-workings of TUBULAR BELLS, and by the bloated excess of the box set ELEMENTS, in which the first two discs (with early material) were much more striking than the remainder (full of more recent stuff).

Until about a year ago, I had completely given up on the idea I would ever hear anything interesting from Mike again, but positive reviews on Progarchives encouraged me to give AMAROK a try. After several spins I'm happy to confirm I'm thoroughly enjoying this album! It may not be Oldfield at his very best (the original TUBULAR BELLS still sounds more mysterious; side one of OMMADAWN leads up to a more exuberant climax) but it's definitely inspired from start to finish, and full of delightful tunes. The music takes so many unexpected twists and turns you'll find yourself gasping at the audacity of it all! There are lots of mischievous echoes from the man's earlier work and, in good old M.O. tradition, there's a truly zany finale. Warmly recommended to everyone who enjoys instrumental prog with folk-music leanings.

The only thing I don't understand is why the brilliant African drummers who appear on this album had to remain uncredited.

Review by Zitro
2 stars 1.5 Stars, rounded up because I don't get it and others do.

Simply unlistenable, despite excellent musicianship and some scattered moments which are pretty nice. Mike Oldfield plays almost all the instruments in Amarok, which is quite a complex album. That says a lot about him. If only this album didn't have over thirty minutes of auditory torture, then it would be something that I would enjoy.

The album starts on a great way, with complex acoustic guitar harmonies in a fast tempo. I love that acoustic showmanship, making the first two minutes of the album the highlight for me. Unfortunately, it changes into calm background music ruined by random bursts of ultra-loud orchestra clashes, electronic voices saying Happy, and other out of place loud bursts.

minutes 6-10 feature a pleasant section. The next four minutes are inoffensive, but unremarkable Oldfield-style playing. Unfortunately, minute 15 is lighthearted ridiculousness with beeps, awful quirky music and vocals saying something like What the in a way you can't take seriously. After a dull moment, the brilliant acoustic theme of the beginning brings relief to my ears.

Around minute 22 to 24, there is a quite progressive section which is not bad at all. Adventurous but without the unbearable quirkiness which unfortunately appears, including the h-h-happy? vocals. A someone minimalist and dull moment leads way to the nice background music around minute 3-5 which was ruined by the h-h-happy? vocals. Appearing without the annoying interruptions, it's quite nice.

So anyways, the incoherence (did I say that this album is quite disjointed?) and inconsistency in quality goes on for several minutes until a truly hideous part comes that you have to hear in order to believe it: a synth loop that is fantastically childish in a bad way combined with annoying vocal grunts.

After a few incoherent minutes in the mid 40s (min.) of the album, we get a nice section ruined by telephones, cheesy grunts and more. Anyways, there is a supposed climax which is just an overplayed vocal-harmony theme slightly louder. Then we get the h-h-h-h-h-h-hAPPY?. Fortunately, there is the real climax just before the ending, which is more bombastic and more remarkable.

I will give it a 1.5 stars rounded up because it must have taken a lot of effort to do and clearly many enjoy it and understand the album better than I.

Me? I just not only find it a chore, I also find it embarrassing to listen to Amarok when not alone and parts make me angry. So, my personal enjoyment is actually one star out of five.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars One of my shortest review for one of the longest track I know.

"Amarok" is a very good come back from Mike. Fully in his earlier and great style. This piece of music (difficult to call this a song) offers delectable parts but the start (six minutes) has some difficulties to lift off (happy?). And there are several other ones that aren't so brilliant.

One will encounter the "Ommadawn" mood regularly, but it is not to annoy me since I considered this album as his best one. There are lots of folk moments (even Flamenco is featured), but the whole work switches from mood several times without too much of a structure. The changes take place rather abruptly, but once you have gone through it several times, it is OK.

Bombastic parts are short but present and unlike most of his long pieces, I slightly prefer the second half of "Amarok" than the first one. Even if the "chant" during the last five minutes are not really shining.

Three stars for this good album.

Review by The Rain Man
5 stars Every now and then an album comes along which blows all the others around it out the water. In this case due to the nature of the music, this release went relatively unnoticed compared to the success of Oldfield's previous albums such as 'Tubular Bells'. But to those who did get into this gem; it is impossible not to be completely captivated by it. Released in 1990, Amarok is Mike Oldfield's 13th album. After a number of great albums; it is amazing how Oldfield creative juices just keep flowing. Amarok sees Oldfield step up a gear with great sounds which flow into one another creating an amazing musical landscape.

Sitting at just over an hour, Amarok is one long track which takes the listener on a musical journey unlike any other. Everyone has those thoughts in the back of their minds about holidays and dreaming of going on that once in a lifetime dream trip; For example trekking the Inca trail in Peru. Amarok is the musical equivalent and the most genius thing about it is that it costs a ten pound maximum compared to thousands of pounds trekking up the Inca trail is going to cost. Furthermore you can go on the journey again and again at no extra cost.

I was first introduced to Amarok by a friend who was to say the least completely obsessed with it to the point that it is his favourite album of all time and has been for many years. So when anyone is into album that much, I want to know why. After the first time I listened to the album there were two thoughts running through my head. The first was "yeah, this is ok; it's got some good bits in it". Secondly I realised I was totally exhausted just from listening to it. I have never experienced this before after listening to an album. But it's understandable as it is an hour long non-stop instrumental. Therefore it is heavy going and just sapped all the energy right out of me, due to the concentration required. The same thing happened for the next 10 or so listens. However at the same time, piece by piece, I was beginning to appreciate the album in its true splendour. By about the 30th listen, the bigger picture becomes clear and that's when you feel like you have completed the album so to speak. After this it's easy because I know what's coming next. I'm ready in position with my stick to strike the invisible tubular bell or have my invisible plectrum ready for another great guitar part. Even still the whole picture is yet to be completely deciphered but that is certainly the beauty of this album because the friend who I was talking about earlier is still finding new stuff and I dare to think how many times he has listened to it. But at the same time I don't blame him!

I think the key reason why this album is so good is because it is a really well thought out piece of work. There are numerous recurring themes throughout the album which give it a proper structure. In addition there is a very clear beginning, middle and end which can be recognised by the choir chanting style effects with 'sa, sa , sa' or 'ba, ba, ba'. I can assure you no sheep appeared in the making of the album, regardless of how you read the last bit! Seriously though it works really well and adds such freshness to the album. In saying that; I think bringing in the sheep would be a class idea for an Amarok spoof album.

The ending to the album is easily the best finish to an album I have ever heard and you could say it lasts for 15 minutes. You've got the appearance of the Tubular bells, a comedy interlude from Janet Brown and the usual phenomenal guitar playing some may even beginning to take for granted; but really shouldn't. The last minute especially is simply sublime. It is just a joyful, explosive and fitting climax to an awesome album

I have lost count of the number of times I have listened to this album, but I reckon it is at least 50. Still with every listen I seem to discover a different sound, theme or instrument. This is due to the sheer depth of the album; it is like an ocean where divers discover new species of fish and plants continuously. Unlike diving there is no risk of drowning here, although just don't try and hold your breadth for the duration! The attention to detail is unreal. So much so, this album would act as a great way to develop listening skills in schools. In fact there is so much to this album you could quite easily turn it in to a GCSE subject! Now that would be class. I have tried not to go into too much detail about the sounds and secrets of the album because I feel it is best for you to uncover them like I did. But I hope I have conveyed how much I like this album. Just in case ;-) ....THIS IS GENIUS!

Review by ghost_of_morphy
5 stars We've come a long way from Tubular Bells here.

Mike Oldfield has composed a long, VERY long, rock symphony here. You won't even notice it until you hit the 30 minute mark, but suddenly themes and ideas will come back to you again and again. Amazing. If you have the attention span to encompass sixty minutes of music, you will find this amazingly rewarding. This is truly a masterpiece. Five stars.

But don't bother listening to it if you can't devote an entire hour to it. This work REQUIRES your full attention for an hour. Fortunately, the quality of the music is so high that that is not an onerous request.

Review by MovingPictures07
5 stars This is one of the most unique and accomplished albums you could ever hear. It is quite possibly Oldfield's best effort, though that's hard to discern and really is irrelevant. Whether it is his best album or not, it still is one of the most amazing musical experiences I have ever had and should be heard by anyone who claims to be a true fan of music.

Only warning I give: If you're completely new to Oldfield's material and you are not willing to take a huge plunge, then you may not want to go with this album. Try Ommadawn, Hergest Ridge, or Tubular Bells first.

That being said, now onto the only track of the album...

1. Amarok- Constantly changing and absolute music genius. Easily one of the best tracks I've ever heard in my entire life. The proficiency of Oldfield with his instruments here is stunning: just look at those credits and listen to the song for yourself! The song never gets boring or repetitive, though it may take a few listens to grow on you simply because of its length (it took 4 or 5 for me). The beginning is amazing, the middle section is amazing, and the ending is even better: absolute perfection and everything you could ask from Oldfield in the span of one song. This also is easily his most challenging work, with so much to be discovered and analyzed. This experience never gets old for me and I find myself lifted to heights I've hardly ever been taken by any other album, and when certain sections come all you can do is smile. The boat piano section, the ending African drum section with the voices and then with Thatcher's appearance, the majestic guitar break after the first few minutes of the composition... This song is perfect and really expresses grounds that Oldfield had never covered with any other album. Flawless. 10+/10

If you have an open mind to music, get this album. However, as I said earlier, because of the depth, track length, and relative inaccessibility of this work in comparison to Oldfield's more well-known and representative works/masterpieces, this may scare off some newcomers. If you are acquainted already with Oldfield, then what are you waiting for? Even if you're not, it's so hard for me NOT to recommend this album.

Review by horsewithteeth11
5 stars The first time I put this album on was very revealing. It. Kicked. My. Ass. This is an album that has completely changed the way that I view music, and it's one of my top 10 albums of all time for a reason. While there may only be one track on the album, it's an absolutely amazing work of art that's incredibly multi-layered. Don't expect to be able to fully analyze the entirety of this album in one, two, or probably even three or four sittings. There's that much going on in it. Except for mostly some vocals, Oldfield handles pretty much all the instrumental work. There are so many sections within this song that I probably still can't count all of them and probably never will. And each section transitions to the next one so effortlessly and effectively each time The last 5-10 minutes are probably my favorite parts of the song. Listen for the Thatcher vocals, which make me laugh every time I hear them. Overall, this is probably my favorite Oldfield album, but if you're new to him, I'd recommend starting with Hergest Ridge and/or Ommadawn before moving on to this. Still though, I have to give this 5+/5 stars. Complete artistic perfection, and I can't think of too many other albums that stack up to this quality.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Cloth-eared nincompoops"

I love Mike Oldfield, but I've always found his personal health warning to the "cloth-eared nincompoops" to be a thinly veiled, childishly defensive preemptive strike against critics who may be of the opinion that they were listening to an artist short of ideas. An artist ripping off his own past glory as the basis for this somewhat contrived mess of an album. He felt the need to let listeners know that they might not be enlightened enough to follow him down the road he was about to take them. Not as effective as the standard rock musician line about making music to please myself, and if others like it, great, if not, that's great too. Mike opted for the preemptive insult instead--which I guess is an invitation for critics to be more frank than they might otherwise. Going a step further and comparing the oft-mentioned album covers of Ommadawn and Amarok (for people often consider Amarok an update of Ommadawn), one will notice that the Ommadawn cover shows an Oldfield at peace, rightfully pleased with the work finished I'm sure. The cover of Amarok on the other hand looks like a Mike Oldfield who just read an Amarok review written by one of his nemesis "nincompoops." He looks anything but pleased. But we move on to the all important music. Amarok is of course an hour long (tortuous) extravaganza (throw everything at the wall and see what sticks), a work that takes classic Oldfield musical sprites and arranges them in a "fresh and exciting" way (gimmick album.) You have a chaotic tapestry of bits glued together, guitar licks, keys, some vocals, lots of noises, odd instruments, and the kitchen sink. It's well done of course as is every Oldfield album, the artist being a fantastic musician as well as a studio wizard. I'm a huge fan of his earlier albums but found him occasionally floundering for substance in later periods. This is a monster regurgitation of past "impressions" gussied up to be something deep and profound when it is neither, a "weak and disjointed" composition as Easy Livin' notes. Being provocative and seemingly edgy does not always result in a great piece of music, acclamations I believe are sometimes given too easily to artists who do something "louder or weirder."

What absolutely does work here is the performance of Mr. Oldfield on his guitar. You will find these exquisite little snips of brilliance here and there, moments where you wish you were hearing Oldfield attempt another grandiose idea in another true epic composition. Then of course the moment crashes and burns in yet another pointlessly jarring noise (ticking clock or ringing telephone anyone?) or simply letting the brilliance die into another manic musical twinkie. For here ideas do not progress or evolve to states of developed bliss---instead they are born, scream briefly for attention like a musical toddler, and then die within the space of seconds or if you are lucky, perhaps a minute. It comes complete with a spoken-word ending which is cute on the first play and tiring by the 5th play. My opinion is certainly the minority at ProgArchives as many thoughtful reviewers compare this to masterpieces and great albums like Ommadawn, Hergest Ridge, or Incantations. For me Amarok is nothing but an occasionally amusing play for his ardent fans. A parody of Mr. Oldfield offered by the artist himself, giving it a great degree of authenticity, while not nearing the heights offered by his more thoughtful, original works. Even the caveman is back for an embarrassing cameo that feels as necessary as having Steve Martin host SNL one more time. Just as in cooking, a musician can attempt to impress with flash and presentation. It is far more difficult to slave over that stove, adding and tasting just the right ingredients for hours to create that special family dish that nourishes and stays with your gut. Oldfield's best offerings (and there are many) are the work of a wise old soul with a hunched back over a large cauldron of the finest stew you ever had, served with great crusty bread and some fine ale or vino. Amarok feels like the work of a first year pastry chef on their final exam for class---lots of oohs and ahhs but 30 minutes later you're still starving for some real food. Again, most find this album to be fantastic so judge for yourself. But be warned, a few of us see it as a mirage to be bothered with only after his 1970s masterpieces have been devoured, and then only with your heartburn pills.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars "Mike Oldfield's twelfth studio album "Amarok" reunited him with Tom Newman, the producer who had contributed to Mike's first album "Tubular Bells". The creation of "Amarok" was also similar to that of "Tubular Bells". Instead of using computers, Mike played almost everything by hand, using over 30 acoustic stringed and percussion instruments. The kaleidoscope of sound also includes Paddy Moloney of the CHIEFTAINS playing his uillean pipes, Zulu percussionists, a Margaret Thatcher impersonation by comedienne Janet Brown and the sounds of Mike himself brushing his teeth and stomping around the studio". That was from the liner notes.

Oldfield himself considered this album as sort of a Ommadawn II. In fact looking around the "Net" this is the hightest rated album since "Ommadawn". Although I honestly don't understand why. I am a Mike Oldfield fan but after many listens this still sounds like a mixed up mess to me. Actually Easy Livin says it well in calling this "...weak and disjointed". Finnforest's review is very enlightning and I certainly agree with his thoughts and rating.

The enjoyable moments are few and far between for me. 3 stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I shouldn't have ignored the signs of creative exhaustion that had been evident on so much of Oldfield's post-78 output. But still, I let myself be convinced by the multitude of voices who hailed this album as a return to form.

Let's start with some good points.

There are a couple of nice ideas here. In contrast to many other weaker Oldfield albums, he doesn't resort to the sound of the new-age fake world too much. Except where he goes in midi-keyboard mode, the music avoids the plastic feel of the Island disaster. More good news comes from the guitar front. After gathering dust for about 15 years, we can note a welcome return of the acoustic guitar. And I mean real acoustic guitar playing, not the straightforward chord guitar strumming of Moonlight Shadow. Scattered throughout the album there are a couple of tasty acoustic guitar touches, and even the electric guitar is allowed to play some more challenging material.

But let's not fool ourselves.

This track is a hodgepodge of sections that are seemingly randomly put after one another, there's little that develops into something grander. The segments segue into one another quite fluently but never build up to something. On top of that, there are few really compelling parts, both melodically and rhythmically this album falls a few miles short of the richness of the 74-78 albums. It also doesn't have any of the impassioned inspiration, nor the mood or the emotive touch of that period.

Piecing this puzzle together into one continuous 60 minute track must have been quite a challenge for Oldfield, but I would have much preferred if he had put more effort in the creative writing process then spending all time in front of the knobs, buttons and gliders of his doubtlessly fun-to-play-with studio equipment.

The fact that it is better then anything since Crises doesn't warrant much as his material had been really poor ever since. But second best album after Ommadawn on PA? I think I need a bit more convincing proof then the cut and paste job that I witness here to be able to support that claim.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well, people are generally happy about this release, agreeing on such a high rating. Let's add my piece then.

I'll tell you a little story. Don't worry, it will be short. I call it 6 minute long fairy tale, because it divides this long track into 10 pieces.

1)I'm not that happy about first six minutes, they don't offer anything of use for my taste. 2)Then Mike adds his trademark guitar arrangements and "Song" gets interesting. There are also "tribal" chantings towards the end. 3)From about 12:00, music starts as acoustic beauty, giving in into keyboard subtle sounds and then keyboards take two, but this time weird sounds.

I'm quite intrigued right now.

4)Starts almost instantly at 18 minute (about 17:56 ) with wild guitar (sounds like improvisation, only we know that Mike's doing it intentionally, which leaves just type of sound, not meaning - "to improvise"). The rest of "this part" is in this theme. 5)Continues with 4th's legacy, adding some distinct shredding in the beginning, however it turns into calm piano later, running just another of Oldfield's endless supply of original melodies. 6)Is in the name of choral singing & ethnic chanting tinged work again.

So far so good, journey continues (even I had to repeat song third time from this point to capture its essence).

7)Clocking at 36 minute, optimistic melody kicks back, combined with grunts from first part. Some experimentation as well. 8)Moving on to seemingly easier rhythms (that can surprise). Chants again, seems like Mike is fascinated by them. 9)Second to last section starts harshly, heavier sounds and unpleasant synth greets the unwary travellers. Chanting climaxes. Music shines and 10)Last part starts (after a while of tribal drumming) in the name of spoken word. Some variations and re-using of older ideas of previous sections. Not that good, again, the same as beginning.

4(+), as it is.

End of experimental review.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This is another album I've changed my mind about during the years. When I purchased it, few days after its first vynil release I was very disappointed: I didn't like the exhagerated high.volume of the orchestral accents. I found the techno-speech very disturbing also considering that in my home language it sounds like "BEE". It was coming to my ears like a sting, so I stopped listening to it after about 10 minutes and that album remained unused until last week when I decided to give it another try.

Well I still don't like the orchestral accents and the speech, but the remainng 40 minutes are pure Mike Oldfield's stuff, very intriguing with melodic parts alternated to more rocking parts. Said so, also the first 10 minutes wouldn't be bad if the two "disturbing" elements were removed.

What remains is a nice suite in the Oldfield style with some highlihts spreaded here and there during the suite. All this to say that what I would have rated very low until few weeks ago is now for me a good- but-non-essential album that doesn't add much to the very huge Oldfield's discography (non- essential for this reason) but good enough for 3 stars.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I might sound like a broken record by now, but I just can't understand why Mike Oldfield is as big as he is. By the time of this release he had already managed to neglect his '70s fans by playing a bunch of commercial New Age-flavored music all throughout the '80s and no one seemed to call him out for this. Then came a new decade and he suddenly shifted gear to the days of the past with the 1 hour long Amarok suite.

The early '90s was a tough period in Oldfield's career since he was just finishing off his contract obligations with Virgin Records and had a lot of pressure from the company to release another hit record. Among the biggest requests was a sequel to Tubular Bells which Oldfield felt reluctant to do, even though he did just that once he switched to Warner Music! So instead of all that, he chose to do exactly the opposite of what his record company wanted him to do and recorded a completely unmarketable 60 minute suite which could neither be released as a single nor was it radio-friendly since any stand-alone section of the album just didn't make any sense on its own.

But is it really as great as fans make it out to be? First off, let me state that, despite certain similarities, Amarok is not Ommadawn 2. Yes, both albums have some similarities but musically this release is miles away from the relatively smooth performance on Ommadawn. If anything, Amarok sounds more like a collection of short pieces that Oldfield most probably have gathered in his vault for some time now and finally decided to put together into one monster suite. Unfortunately this is exactly how this track plays like and no matter how much more time I'll spend on it, it will never lose this preconception of mine.

Even though I consider Mike Oldfield's '90s period a sort of new renaissance of his, Amarok is not an album that I can recommend to anyone but the already established fan base. The music here is way to abrupt and unstructured to hail it as one of Oldfield's best releases.

*** star songs: Amarok (60:04)

Review by lazland
4 stars It's 1990. The media, bless them, have long since declared prog rock dead as a doornail, and, unless you are Oasis, Blur, or some sort of similar fare, you will never ever get a look in. Anyone releasing a 60 minute long track, with the barest amount of voice, on one whole album simply has to be past his sell by date and completely and utterly irrelevant, yeah?

Well, no. Oldfield commenced the new decade with a piece of work that not only aspires to previous heights, but actually matches them, and it is absolutely no accident that this marvellous album features on our site's top 100 albums of all time.

There are very few people who can make a symphonic piece like this interesting. Oldfield is one of them. Aside from some drums, pipes, and voices, the man does it all himself, and how well he does it. However, it is his electric and acoustic guitar work that really shines here - actually, my opinion is that these instruments have always been his strongest points. He is also, by the way, a mighty fine banjo player, as evidenced here again. The solos on this album, when they burst out, are incredible.

This is a very upbeat symphony, from the strains of h.h.h.h.h.h.appy (yes, thank you!), right to the end, and, along the way, we get some very eclectic sounds, rightly described as New Age, interspersed with more traditional Oldfield fare.

This is not the sound of an artist resting on his laurels and assuming the inevitable sales from a loyal fanbase. This is the sound of a genuinely progressive artist reaching out, pushing the boundaries, and his own limits, to create a beautiful piece of work.

There will be a lot of people reading this who will only have Tubular Bells albums, or Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge at a push.

Well, push yourselves. Get this, because it is every inch as good, and, in some respects, more interesting in the moods it creates.

A very strong four stars, 4.5 in reality.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mike returns to his more adventurous, experimental side for Amarok. Just one hour long song. It almost sounds like an updated Ommadawn. Here Oldfield reunites with producer Tom Newman who produced Tubular Bells. Mike's most recent output had been very pop-oriented yet as late as 1987 he was still putting out 20-minute epics. Amarok is a very adventurous album for 1990. It must have took a lot of time and effort to record and mix this album.

Mike uses a wide variety of different instruments here. He even uses non-instruments like chairs and telephones to create sounds. Also lots of weird vocal sounds here as well. Generally the sections change quite often, never staying in the same place for too long. The louder parts really jump out at you. Don't try going to sleep listening to this. A very warm sounding dynamic recording. If this gets remixed/remastered in the future, I hope this dynamic range is not lost. The music is in many different styles including Celtic, African and flamenco.

The beginning is not as memorable as that on Tubular or Ommadawn. The ending isn't the greatest either. I like the voice throughout that says "happy?" Some people hate it, but not me. As usual, Mike's electric guitar playing is what stands out the most. There are some parts which sound reggae influenced which I like. The part around 10 minutes with the robotic voice and African sound is good. Love the bass tone used in this album. Before 14 minutes is a section similar to 'Sailor's Hornpipe' from Tubular. The music behind the teeth-brushing part is some of the best moments on the album.

Almost halfway you hear the chanted female voclas that come back near the end. Like the part with the Jew's Harp and 'caveman' vocals. After 42 minutes is one of the best parts; very reggae sounding with robotic vocals. Starting about 44:47 is the best section on the album. This section is excerpted for 'best of' compilations. Based around the female chanting and African drumming. Love the bass here and the 'caveman' vocals. At the end is a Margarent Thatcher impersonator. Probably the most pointless section of Amarok, it really sounds dated now.

A brave and bold musical statement from a guy who is more reserved and reclusive. This is a lot to sit through in one setting. Obviously some parts are better than others. A very good effort, I would give this a 3.5 but will round up to 4 stars because how many 60-minute songs were there in 1990 this good?

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars What do a giant wolf in Inuit mythology, a large truck manufactured by Volkswagen, audio software, a Spanish band, and Mike Oldfield's hour-long opus have in common? They are all called Amarok. And as this term has many definitions, so does that last entry contain a variety of musical styles and nuances. While Oldfield is noted for his eclecticism, this time he falls short in making that diversity work to his (and the listener's) advantage. The piece lacks compositional integrity- it is a hodgepodge of musical ideas thrown in a giant kettle; were this a culinary presentation, it would be a twelve-course meal where most of the courses don't work with what came before. This uninterrupted dinner is in need of several palette-cleansers, as it were. The transitions, when they exist, are uninspired at best. It is also a shame that Oldfield kept his cheap, thin guitar tone even though better possibilities were certainly available to him by 1990. Another thing of note is that there is a lack of bass presence throughout most of the work. Had Oldfield chosen a more acoustic approach (because, along with the African vocals, the acoustic guitar work is the best aspect of the album), crafted better transitions, and laid off the numerous upsetting electronic intrusions, he would have created a piece more or less on par with Ommadawn. But I suppose that's what sometimes happens when, rather than bow to the commercialism of a record label, one aims to piss it off- being purposely unmarketable does not automatically make one a musical genius at a given point in one's career.

"Amarok" The piece juxtaposes some fine acoustic guitar chugging with bizarre synthetic blasts and wet fart noises it could have done without. Those appreciating Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow might love the first several minutes were it not for those ear-splitting interruptions and the occasional mechanical vocal. The various synthetic bits become even more disrespectful, as though someone wanted to make fun of the worst 1980s technology had to offer. When the music is peaceful, it is good, such as the nine-and-a-half-minute mark, when the synthesizer lead, tribal percussion and guitars sound wonderful together- a pity it falls right into another mechanized vocal romp. Eventually things morph into a bright piano and banjo tune- cheerful and quite enjoyable. A quarter of an hour in, the music becomes downright cartoonish, with all manner of irritatingly whimsical sounds. One of the best parts of the piece follows- intense acoustic guitar and banjo provide a bed for soft lead musings that sound similar to Greg Lake's lead guitar in Tarkus. Soon, the piece adopts a flamenco style, with pulsating Spanish rhythms, and is eventually provided with more unwelcome synthetic detonations. Midway through, the music becomes breathy and celestial again, and then abruptly, I feel like I've died and gone to the circus. When things become tribal again, Oldfield's guitar tone hurts my ears- it shrieks and squeals in a way a guitar shouldn't. Light, Irish folk music later ensues. After forays into previously explored styles, Oldfield pauses, and returns to Jon Anderson-like African-inspired music, with a pleasant Xhosa choir courtesy of Jabula. The roaring vocal is distracting, reminiscent of the Piltdown Man from Tubular Bells (though thankfully more restrained). The actress Janet Brown (who passed only a few months ago) makes an appearance on this album, impersonating Margaret Thatcher. The glorious ending is indeed inspiring and remarkable- would that the whole piece were so stirring.

Review by Warthur
3 stars A reimagining of the approach of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn for the CD age, Virgin had been desperately hoping for a Tubular Bells II out of this one but what they got in the end was more reminiscent of Ommadawn than the other two of Mike's first three albums - the fascination with Irish folk music is back with a vengeance, in particular. Starting out with a more dissonant and chaotic section with heavy amounts of sampling, once the piece actually gets underway what we get is a 1 hour revisit of the Ommadawn concept which, whilst it isn't quite up to the high standard set by its predecessor, comes very very close indeed.

Close - but no cigar. The major problem with the work is that there's an air of insincerity running through it - whereas Ommadawn was infused with a sense of genuine musical exploration, here it feels like Oldfield is wheeling out a bunch of studio tricks for the simple reason that he can. It doesn't help that Oldfield goes out of the way to include an overt parody of Margaret Thatcher towards the end of the album in a failed attempt to put a new spin on Viv Stanshall's Master of Ceremonies performance in Tubular Bells - whilst the impersonator is rather good, in retrospect this rather dates the piece in a way Stanshall's interjection in Bells doesn't.

On top of that, there's the infamous hidden barbs directed at Richard Branson and Virgin Records that litter the composition for those who wish to seek them out, which leave a rather bitter taste in the mouth. Whilst individual parts of the release are quite lovely, the composition as a whole feels like it comes from a place of anger, petulance, and just plain bad feeling, and that rather poisons the proceedings in a sad and needless way.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars After a series of half prog-pop albums throughout most of the 1980s, in which the quality of the side long prog track declined with each release, MIKE OLDFIELD dispensed with the requisite magnum opus on "Earth Moving", the single worst album of his career. As if in reaction, he followed this with a CD consisting of one 60 minute track, "Amarok" which many saw as a return to form.

Mike even enlisted some old friends like PADDY MOLONEY of CHIEFTAINS fame, who had appeared on "Five Miles Out", and CLODAGH SIMMONDS ("Ommadawn"), to appease and convince long time fans that this was the real deal. Indeed, how could he miss the mark with so much going for him. But miss it he did, hugely, with what sounds like outtakes from his 1970s classics, each 30 second interval sounding fine on its own but diminished by its utter disregard for its neighbours. This is a slapdash goulash of deliberately undeveloped concepts that rarely impress even as much as the mediocre "Wind Chimes", its most recent predecessor at the time. It's intentionally schizophrenic, but rather than furnishing even virtual links it severs them. Even on the vividly disjointed "Taurus 2", there was rhyme and reason and yes, melody.

This isn't entirely lost, but even in the MP3 era, it's too hard to extract the 8 or so outstanding minutes - mostly those with tribal rhythms as a cross between "Five Miles out"and "Ommadawn" without improving upon them in the slightest, from their murky milieu. This is like the "on the rebound" album, where the second relationship is only better because it is so different, and it couldn't have been worse anyway. True, but not by much.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Though entering into this musical adventure with quite an open mind, I was very quickly disenchanted by the continuous appearance of tired old motifs that he had used up in his 1970 releases--but that's not all, Mike has gone a step further to try to mix in quirky, "humorous" samples and electro-rhythms that had been made popular with the entry of computer technologies in the late 70s and then became ubiquitous in the techno-crazed "New Wave" of the 1980s. Sadly, Mike is rather late to the game in this latter respect and, I'm sorry, but an artist cannot, in my brain, get away with the use of singularly unique ideas and/or motifs more than once in one's career: it's like parodying himself or, worse, cut and pasting old material into a "new" piece. Plus, I'm sorry, but this aimless, reckless meandering of brief themes feels more like treating us listeners as if we're lab rats set loose in some labyrinth/maze without any care whatsoever for the route he's set us upon as well as a total disdain for how we get to the end. I feel utter cynicism and laugh-in-the-face-of-danger hopelessness upon listening to this--a feeling that I have trouble escaping once I've finished. "How do I reclaim that hour that was so selfishly taken away from me?" Then, to think that I've done it more than once (years apart)--always willing to "forgive" and give a piece a second and/or third chance--in case I've "missed" something or in case I've "grown" ready to appreciate it! Maybe that's the joke Mike's trying to let us in on! "Create your own reality--stop relying on poseurs like me!"

Latest members reviews

5 stars CLASSIC OLDFIELD-DEFINITELY BACK TO FORM W/ONE EXCEPTION: NUMEROUS POINTS OF HUMOR! I listened to this cd at work the other evening and I remembered how I liked it, but I really felt that I never paid as close attention to it as it deserved, until then! It made me feel...ha-ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#1472259) | Posted by HarmonyDissonan | Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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 d ... (read more)

Report this review (#1133226) | Posted by ebil0505 | Monday, February 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There is no doubt about it: this is a very odd piece which provokes very mixed reactions and I'd say it's by far and away Mike Oldfield's least accessible album. When I first heard it I didn't like it and it only really got played because it was on side two of a cassette a friend had made for me ... (read more)

Report this review (#1048387) | Posted by benbell | Monday, September 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Master of originality, freshness, innovation. Personal style, unconventional. The music of Oldfield is unique, unparalleled. And with this album this artist confirmed his capacity to make singular pieces of music, nothing more and nothin less than 60 minutes of magnificent sounds and melodies in one ... (read more)

Report this review (#925070) | Posted by sinslice | Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First a bit of history. After the disappointing synth pop album 'Earth Moving,' Mike Oldfield felt like going back to progressive instrumental music with world influences. The record company he was with was pestering him about making a Tubular Bells 2, but he didn't feel like it at the time. Instead ... (read more)

Report this review (#557597) | Posted by Quirky Turkey | Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 5/10 Ommadawn, part two? Mike Oldfield returns to produce an album after a long period of pop-rock and synthesizers. During the the decade of 80 the creator of Tubular Bells is dedicated to making more commercial albums, in the spirit of that time. But he wanted to return to producing alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#523507) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album is totally over-rated. It is a bad remake of a once great reciepe, Bad ingredients ("happy", textes, phone rings ???), weak direction. I understand nostalgia of the great 70's era of Mike oldfield drive people to over-rate whatever has any, vague ressemblance to Ommadawn, but one must ... (read more)

Report this review (#324579) | Posted by franp | Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oh, how I hated this record... I can vividly remember the first time I listened to Amarok. I don't think I've ever been so irritated and disappointed by a record, before or since. I enjoyed the finale, but all of the disjointed themes and intentionally aggravating sounds (speaker-shattering orc ... (read more)

Report this review (#271189) | Posted by EvilNight | Thursday, March 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oh Mike Oldfield you reclusive genius. You first did the impossible by becoming a huge hit with an album consisting of two 25 minute instrumentals, then you made the truly inspired "Ommadawn," began a descent into the musical abyss along with the rest of the prog world during the horrible 80s and ... (read more)

Report this review (#241014) | Posted by TheCaptain | Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Astonishing. Sensational. Fantastic. Other-worldly. This is the first review I have written on progarchives after many happy months of browsing and researching, and listening to the products of its great catalog of artists and albums. Amarok by Mike Oldfield was the sudden impetus of what I fel ... (read more)

Report this review (#187881) | Posted by fragilelambtongues | Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's hard to really describe the feelings I have when listening to Amarok. The first time I gave this album a spin it was overwhelming. So many things going on, so many changes in styles, it was hard to take in for a first listen. I hated the album without giving it a chance. A week later, I dec ... (read more)

Report this review (#181146) | Posted by Cool Top | Saturday, August 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is 60 minutes? Seems more like 10 to me. This is my first review, and I was compelled to write this after once again listening to Mike Oldfield's Amarok. Despite the five star rating, I am normally a tough music critic, which speaks volumes for the quality and sheer brilliance of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#178238) | Posted by Ahal89 | Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10 Masterpiece Well, this is definitely an earned change of mind, considering I previously scored this album much lower...Mike has earned this masterpiece score by pounding this into my ears recently non-stop! I have now listened damn good and hard to this one, because I initially thought ... (read more)

Report this review (#146936) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First of all.. If you havent got this album go straight to shop / online and purchase NOW!!!! (you wont regret it). This album I am currently playing for the first time and straight away I love it.. There is so many different styles in there (folk, rock, celt, flamenco, classical, etc) which u ... (read more)

Report this review (#139764) | Posted by Frippertron | Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As Mike says himself, this is in a way an Ommadawn 2. It picks up on the World music allusions that Ommadawn made, and still contains the buoyant symphonic edge. However, Amarok is much more experimental than Ommadawn. It is also a bit more electronic, modern, and precise. It shifts, evolves, swif ... (read more)

Report this review (#133956) | Posted by Shakespeare | Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an unbelievable record. Released in 1990, it is hard to believe something so incredible could be put out, where everywhere, music was at it's all time low point in terms of quality. The same holds true for Oldfields output at the time, with albums like Earth Moving and Islands precedin ... (read more)

Report this review (#101444) | Posted by OGTL | Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is what it happens when an artist is a hundred percent commited to create a good musical composition instead of paying attention to record companies' demands or commercial input (in this particular case the main reason was Mike's anger towards his record company). This said, I don't kn ... (read more)

Report this review (#100344) | Posted by shyman | Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Amarok is probably Oldfield's most serious yet adventurous project from the after 70s era. It is definitely interesting and intriguing, Original and unique. The general style is naïve, influenced by folk, flamenco and such. Occasionally the mood is pastoral, but this serenity is interrupted fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#89574) | Posted by ShW1 | Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Happy ? Happy ! Depending on my mood, this is sometimes my favorite album of all time. Having said that, this album isn't for everybody, or for most people for that matter. This is Mike Oldfield at his most complex, most inaccessible, and dare I say... maddest. This album is exactly 60 minutes ... (read more)

Report this review (#84538) | Posted by Thyme Traveler | Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars By far MO's most adventerous and mind expanding album. Here he pulls out all the stops. A thrill a minute for (almost) exactly one hour. As usual Mike plays most of the instruments himself. And again, as usual, his guitar playing is the standout. I don't know how he gets the sound he does from ... (read more)

Report this review (#81817) | Posted by Mcgraster | Friday, June 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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