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Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog

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Mike Oldfield Return to Ommadawn album cover
4.07 | 427 ratings | 16 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Return to Ommadawn, Part I (21:10)
2. Return to Ommadawn, Part II (20:57)

Total Time 42:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / acoustic, classical, 12-string & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, mandolin, harp, bouzouki, banjo, grand piano, spinet, Farfisa organ, ARP 2600 & Solina synths, bodhrán, glockenspiel, accordion, marimba, gong, tubular bells, producer

Releases information

Artwork: Rupert Lloyd with Phil Smee

CD Virgin EMI Records ‎- CDV 3166 (2017, Europe)
CD + DVD Virgin EMI Records ‎- CDVX3166 (2017, Europe) Bonus DVD-v with full album mixed in 3 audio formats: 5.1 - DTS 24/48, 5.1 - Dolby Digital AC3 16/48 and Stereo - LPCM 24/48

LP Virgin EMI Records ‎- V 3166 (2017, Europe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy MIKE OLDFIELD Return to Ommadawn Music

MIKE OLDFIELD Return to Ommadawn ratings distribution

(427 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MIKE OLDFIELD Return to Ommadawn reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Eclectic Team
5 stars I have been waiting for this album for so long, only two listens in but its a real return to form for Mike Oldfield. Two long pieces wholly played by Mike and a return to primarily acoustic instruments. Lots of pastoral and Celtic feel. There are occasional references back to the previous masterpiece, Ommadawn, but this is essentially a completely new work in the style on the classic Hergest Ridge to Incantations period. Also nice to see a return of bouzouki, mandolin, harp and glockenspiel, though it is primarily a guitar & bass album heavily featuring his definitive tone. This may be my favorite album by him since Amarok. It ebbs and flows, has peaks and valleys, it a beautiful album. Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of his classic period.
Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars Return to Ommadawn rearranges Mike Oldfield's top 3 albums with a look to the top 1 spot of its conceptual predecessor

It is just inspiring to witness such a phenomenon with a legendary artist who produced plenty of mediocre albums recent years and now returns with a shining continuation of his sacred trademark after all these years and decades. I think Return to Ommadawn easily assumes the second place in Mike Oldfield's discography with its balanced refinement and grace of the sound and transition between the parts of both compositions. The mature energy and the particoloured harmony stream from the whole album. The Celtic folklore influence is beautifully blended with Mike Oldfield's typical progressive / new age / classic guitar style in an extremely intensively emotional whispering and weeping manner. The flow of the compositions is excellent. Each part interrupts exactly where it should. These are some of the components where Ommadawn II prevails over Ommadawn I. Of course, the rough youthful beauty of the simultaneous combination of all parts' ideas at the end of the first composition of Ommadawn I is unachievable at that age, but the passion here prevails. Personally I can't stop listen to this amazing album. Strongly recommended to all romantic warriors...

One of the best albums of the decade.

Potentially the best crossover prog album of all time.

Expressiveness at top level.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Mike Oldfield is back with another swerve in his career, having already encompassed everything from prog, pop, electronica and folk. This "Return to Ommadawn" is shocking because the ace in the hole was deliberately kept waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Now , I enjoy pretty much all of his work, save a few albums that were not up to snuff, but loved the otherwise lambasted "Light and Shade", as well as "Man on the Rocks" (I prefer the instrumental option though). But this look back to the past was quite the move, a suave waltz into bygone days, and choosing the decidedly folkier "Ommadawn" to boot! Another "Tubular Bells" would have been a tad overkill but this splendid recreation is pure ear candy of the highest order, restrained yet highly melodic with a distinct Celtic vibe, crowned by magnificent edifices of sound, crystallized instrumental playing, incredibly technical but also seemingly effortless. A purity of tonalities , always an Oldfield characteristic, precise picking on both acoustic and electric guitars, sunny mandolins, swooning harp, smiling bouzouki and cowboy banjo, as well as a variety of understated yet symphonic keyboards. Oh, I forgot, chunky up-front bass all over the place!

The title track in two movements? Err...yeah, its prog! The constantly following melodies are blended, repeated and elevated by a slew of twists and turns, brief intermezzos and various panoramic sonic scenarios to create this perfect symbiosis of beauty and creativity , expertly attractive and wanting to be listened to again and again and again. His lead forays are some of the best, most intense and exhilarating since, well? forever. There is a smooth and silky authority in Michael's mature musical vision which is extremely apparent all over the grooves, with not a wasted moment. The final 4 minutes of the first movement is just plain ridiculous, a genius piece of soloing, if I ever heard one! Then killed off by an Andalusian sunset, warm breeze in the air, exotic flowers and lush fruit aromas. The second movement is a sunny ride into the Highlands, with occasional brooding foggy mists shrouding the horizon, a vivid and positive adventure that possesses both melancholia and hopeful joy. The opening acoustic guitar performance is a beauty to witness, helped along by a gentle choir in the background, a pearling piano and a surreal sense of serenity. More cinematographic music will not be made available in 2017, it's just a prodigious soundtrack that ebbs and flows, soars and dives , veers and careens like no other.

Some pundits are already garnishing this work with a heap of stars and endless praise, probably stunned into existence by the sheer surprise and the overt quality of the music. It's phenomenal art by any standard. The first major release in 2017 might end up the best in 2017, in December. Great proggy covert art as well.

5 forwards to the past

Review by Warthur
4 stars Return to Ommadawn could almost be subtitled Return to Vinyl, given that it sees the welcome return of the "two sidelong suites" structure of Mike Oldfield's early albums in a manner which, if it isn't intentionally chosen to be amenable to vinyl issues, is at least convenient for that purpose.

But fear not - this isn't just a matter of Oldfield grabbing 40 minutes of his latest warblings, slicing them in half and shovelling them out the door. Instead, the album is a thoughtful continuation of the general compositional and performance approach of Ommadawn, and your feelings about that album will likely affect how you feel about this one. You still have the Celtic percussion and acoustic guitar, you still have the soaring guitar solos, you still have the wistful atmosphere. You don't have a happy children's song about a horse to round things off, mind, though you can detect a few gentle lifts from "On Horseback" as the second half comes to a close.

Given how tepid and uninspired Oldfield's occasional rehash of Tubular Bells had become, I was a little worried about this one, but I am very glad to report that it's a genuinely strong sequel to Ommadawn that will enchant fans of that album and put off anyone who was turned off by it. This is clearly no cheap nostalgia exercise, but the culmination of a creative process that Oldfield is genuinely invested in. (He's been toying with the idea of a sequel album like this for a while, and nearly went there with Amarok before that project evolved into the weird hate letter to Richard Branson it became.) This return to Oldfield's classic early approach may be nostalgia-inducing, but it's appropriate for a sequel to such a nostalgia-tinged album as Ommadawn in the first place.

Review by russellk
4 stars Well, this album is an unexpected and wholly welcome treat.

MIKE OLDFIELD has been prog rock's premier melody maker for getting on towards half a century, ever since 1973's Tubular Bells. His combination of long-form, folk and new-age inspired work captured the hearts of a generation. With the advent of disco and punk, however, he put the long- form works aside and made poppier albums for the next twenty years (with a few glorious exceptions). Then, after the millennium, he began to fade away.

Until this. Like the title says, it's a return to his 1975 masterpeice, Ommadawn, IMO the best of his catalogue and, quote simply, the best single prog rock piece ever written. So I might have had a few expectations when I (belatedly) found out this had been released.

The album is good. Remarkable, even. It is certainly structurally similar to Ommadawn, with Part One beginning with an extended acoustic introduction based on a simple celtic tune, followed by a rhythm-based crescendo into a typical Oldfieldian guitar-laden climax. Part Two is a little more pastoral, but no less beautiful, if in places almost cloying in its sweetness. I'm fairly certain the vocals from the original Ommadawn have been sampled and re-used, and certainly the children's vocals from 'On Horseback' make a brief appearance. As with Ommadawn, OLDFIELD plays virtually all the instruments with breathtaking virtuosity.

At this point my personal joy at this wonderful gift has to take second place to the pragmatics of a review. This is a wonderful thing, but it isn't essential, not to progressive rock music and not even to Oldfield's canon. It's a return, after all; a going-back, a regression. So, as beautiful as it is, I'd counsel those new to OLDFIELD to sample something from his first four albums, or perhaps Amarok. This can be an additional purchase if you like what you hear. But, for me, this is up with THE ORB's latest as the record of 2017.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Though full of new music, as opposed to some of the re-hashing send-ups Oldfield has released over the years, this one is a beautiful little reminder of just how awesome those mid-1970s albums of Mike Oldfield's were.

1. Return To Ommadawn (Pt.1) (21:10) many old themes, riffs, and weaves rendered anew and with great recording clarity. (9/10) 2. Return To Ommadawn (Pt.2) (20:57) a couple nice melodic riffs overextended and underdeveloped. (8.5/10)

Total Time 42:07

Line-up: Mike Oldfield - acoustic, classical, 12-string & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, mandolin, harp, bouzouki, banjo, grand piano, spinet, Farfisa organ, ARP 2600 & Solina synths, bodhran, glockenspiel, accordion (6), assorted percussions (marimba, gong, tubular bells)

A solid 4 star album; a very good progressive rock album--a nice, fresh take on the Ommadawn style and themes with very clear recording and solid performances.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I wish Mike Oldfield hadn't called this album, Return to Ommadawn, as it has you comparing the two albums. Ommadawn has masterful pastoral melodies/riffs and beautiful floating choruses that drift down over the top of the instruments. This album could have been composed around the same time as O ... (read more)

Report this review (#2420217) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Friday, July 17, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Return to Ommadawn is truly a magnificent return for Mike Oldfield. I hesitate to call it a return to form, per-say, as he has repeatedly demonstrated over the course of his career that his focus is on more than just progressive rock, but it really is a great album harkening back to his work from th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1946327) | Posted by tempest_77 | Sunday, July 8, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars *Almost* four stars. While Mike Oldfield has made many sequels to Tubular Bells, it took him 42 years to make the first official sequel to Ommadawn, his masterpiece. In many ways, this is the album we have been waiting for Oldfield to make for almost this long. It is structured into two 21-m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1718314) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, May 6, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After several listens of "Return To Ommadawn", I am very surprised with the high level of positive reviews here. I don't think it is a bad album at all. The sound itself is excellent. The instruments are very well played. The classic Oldfield sound is definitely there. But what is missing to my ... (read more)

Report this review (#1705424) | Posted by snelling | Sunday, March 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #46. Mike Oldfield is back! You know, the extremely talented musician who recorded some real masterpieces in the past, like Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, etc. So, after a series of rather unsuccessful albums, (that had nothing to offer really), he decided to surprise us with ... (read more)

Report this review (#1692903) | Posted by The Jester | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Mike you beautiful son of a gun. After all this time you come back and manage to create a strong contender for best album of the 2010s. "Return to Ommadawn" has got to be the most genuine, beautiful and passionate piece of music out there. Every few minutes is a different emotion, from hope to tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1692276) | Posted by TheCaptain | Sunday, February 12, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm no experienced reviewer so I will keep it short. Return to Ommadawn is really great. Honestly that's the best way I can put it. And I'm not trying to undersell it, it truly is really great! It is not quite the masterpiece it's "prequel" is, but the high moments on this record are very convin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1683989) | Posted by focusedon | Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hey Mike you did it right this time ! This is not a full return to Ommadown actually; reminescences of the Distant Earth songs are lying there obviously. But hey, now for sure you got rid of your 90ies and new millelium errances and deliver pleasure and dream again ! Curiously, the overall to ... (read more)

Report this review (#1683783) | Posted by franp | Monday, January 23, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars From Mike discography i've listened to Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn, from these three albums my favorite has to be Ommadawn really, so beautifully made, has a incredible natural feel to it, one of my favorite albums for sure, but when i see the score and reviews from later albums i can ... (read more)

Report this review (#1683065) | Posted by andreol263 | Saturday, January 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The long-awaited sequel to Ommadawn (even though Mike previously stated Amarok was a sort of Ommadawn II) is finally released. This is the first album consisting of side-long tracks (can the term still be used when albums aren't released on vinyl anymore?) Mike released since 1978's Incantatio ... (read more)

Report this review (#1682625) | Posted by Replayer | Friday, January 20, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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