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Mike Oldfield - Amarok CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.06 | 539 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

lazland | 4/5 |


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