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Mike Oldfield - Hergest Ridge CD (album) cover

HERGEST RIDGE

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.93 | 527 ratings

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Walkscore
5 stars Oldfield's Third-Best Album.

This is a very strong musical composition, rooted more in English folk music traditions, and slower and more mature than Tubular Bells. This one did not live up to the expectations of fans of Tubular Bells when initially released, and thus so got some bad press, and even Oldfield has said he got a bit bored recording this one (and since then has said it is not his 'favourite' album, which, I think, must be Ommadawn). Nonetheless, this album is really excellent. Like Tubular Bells and Ommadawn, this is one single composition constructed over two sides of a 45-minute vinyl LP, and like those albums involves constantly shifting and weaved-together melodic themes. It takes the listener on a musical journey, and makes an original statement. Also, like those other two, this one ends by breaking with the rest of the music and presenting a distinctly different piece (in this case, an almost-heavy metal repeated distorted-guitar version of an English/Irish jig, thus both keeping with, but also breaking with, the Sailor's Hornpipe ending of Tubular Bells). One thing I particularly appreciate on this album is the excellent guitar playing by Oldfield, of which later albums (from Incantations onward) would have too little. His guitar playing style is really unique - one of the few guitar players you can pick out instantaneously based on his style. I also really like the melodies here, which use non-traditional notes (major 2nds, 6ths, major 7ths) as key bases of the melodic lines, which is one reason why I would call this album 'mature'. They stick in one's mind for eons. Once again, this marks Oldfield as a major original composer. This album makes up, for me, one of the 'trilogy' of 5-star Oldfield albums (with Tubular Bells and Ommadawn). While slightly weaker than Tubular Bells, it is still great. But you have to like slow music to like this album, which thankfully I do. I give it 9.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 5 PA stars.

Walkscore | 5/5 |

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