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76 Reviews
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget what you think you know about Mike Oldfield...
...and buy this.
OK, so I *am* a big Mike Oldfield fan, but having said that, of all his albums, this is probably the one most likely to appeal to non-fans. So go ahead, buy it, and have your preconceptions challenged.
It is, quite simply, superb. I saw a TV ad for this album when it came out in 1994 which showed about 20 seconds of track 2 - 'Let There Be...
Published on 16 Sep 2003 by mordantrich

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments
This one has really taken on the status of "guilty pleasure". I can sympathise with all the low rating reviews - it does all seem rather too easy, and when I first bought it I was initially disappointed. Over time it grew on me, and it does have a "chill-out" factor as others have mentioned.

There are times when there doesn't seem to be much going on, but you...
Published on 29 Oct 2009 by C. JONES


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Oldfield albums ever!, 2 Aug 2001
This is a really good album from Mike. The album exudes an esoteric atmosphere that really complements the sci-fi setting. A brilliant album, second only to Tubular Bells II which for me is far better than the original but then that was a different era!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book too, 8 Jun 2006
By 
A. Johnston (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was lucky enough to have read the Arthur C Clarke novel of the same name before this CD came out; although being an Oldfield fan (admittedly via Tubular Bells) it was the title rather than the artist that made me get it when it came out, and I'm very glad I did.

The music is very atmospheric and does demand to be listened to in one go, and in my opinion needs a bit of concentration on the part of the listener to get the most out of it. The tracks follow the path of the book closely so it helps to visualise the album as a film soundtrack. It makes it much more atmospheric.

If you like the album, read the book then listen again - you'll hear it in a whole new light.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty personified, 18 Jun 2012
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Every now and then you listen to an album that is truly beautiful from end to end, more than a collection of songs or tunes, a masterpiece constructed in its entirety, one album I have in mind is Oceania by Vangelis, an album that gives you such a peaceful feeling just by its exisitence.

Songs of Distant Earth by Mike Oldfield is also such an album, it is hard to pick out individual tracks as the album must be listenned to throughout and judged on its enirety. It would be easy to dismiss parts of it as dirivetive Oldfield, but that is missing the point, yes some of it does sound a little like Voyager or Tubular Bells III but I do not see that as a bad thing, he has taken those themes and expanded on them wonderfully.

What Mr Oldfield does here is take you on a journey throughout the natural world and the world of mankind with excellent soundbites on it such as the reading of Genesis 1:1 from the Apollo capsule combined with exquisite composition. If I had to pick out any tracks as 5 star they would be "Let There Be Light" which as an opening track (well almost) is a stunner, I was hooked from this point onwards when I first listenned to it) and "Only Time Will Tell".

It is an album to just sink into, play it loud, close your eyes and just drift away, to quote the eagles, it leaves you with a peaceful easy feeling and won't let you down. Brilliant stuff
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes - I like it, more than I thought I would!, 11 Jun 2011
By 
Ben Bottle (Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Songs Of Distant Earth (MP3 Download)
With so many other reviews this is probably unnecessary but being an "early works" fan; this one struck a chord for some reason - and no pun intended!
After "Incantations", Mike and I drifted apart, so to speak. but for some strange reason, this record really appealed.
It is quite gentle and very atmospheric; I found it relaxing yet uplifting. Mike guitar work is as lovely as ever, but effectively subtle with lots of various synth backfrops and soft percussive support.
Yes - TSoDE, was an oasis in a barren landscape for and my relationship with Mike's music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album named after a great book, 27 Dec 2011
By 
Mr. D. P. Toney "Pork Sword" (Studley, Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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I was not a fan up until recently, & was happily surprised with the album. As I grew tired of popular music & its desperate need to be over produced to appeal to the chart heads &decided to go backwards in time, like I did with books, to discover 'real' music made from pure enjoyment...with money taking a backseat.

Anyway, I have keyed into Instrumental music more & more on my listening journey as it is a challenge in itself, it has to be a work of art for the ears to grab you, so I believe the artist goes way past the extra mile. From here I was recommended Mike Oldfield. So far, so good & this album is a progression in his career, where great artists seam to be able to beat stagnation MO has aswell. Its amazing with Artists such as Daft Punk that you can here influences from MO

I would recommend this album & if you have not delved back into MO's past then I would recommend that also.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 15 Nov 2009
By 
Al-13 (Newcastle,UK) - See all my reviews
This is a remarkable and hugely enjoyable album and I just can't seem to stop playing it. On every listen something new seems to stand out, such is the number and variation of themes.
The tracks seamlessly blend into one another without any discernible break and the album has to be listened to in it's entirety, as it's sum total is much better than just individual sections.
The instrumentation and production are excellent and the music just flows from beginning to end.
It's best listened to on headphones in seclusion with the lights dimmed. Let the music wash over the mind and relax. This is new age chill-out music at it's best and will take the discerning listener to another world, temporarily at least.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost the best ?, 24 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. Michael Smith (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Inspired by one of my favourite Arthur C. Clarke novels (same title of course)it provides an almost perfect audio translation of the book's settings. I would, of course, recommend anyone to read the book as well, by way of comparison, but also to dispel any thoughts that the section called "Tubular World" is just Mike not having any other ideas.

It's full of "trademark" Oldfield sounds - that his fans know and love. The music is beautifully crafted and although each segment has been given a title, you simply can't play separate "tracks" or you will end up feeling as though you've missed out. It is a work that will demand that you play it in its entirety ever time.

It could have been expanded, as a few segments were left off the final cut and were available as singles at one time. Not quite enough for a full double CD, which is a pity.

Referenced here as "chill out" music, but I defy anyone not to stop what they are doing around the house and actually listen. It is an attention grabber. If its playing in your Elevator, then it had better be one like that in the book - that travels to the stars, because you will not want to get off until you've heard it all.

TSoDE is definitely one of Mike's best works, and may only be forever eclipsed by "Amarok," which is the musical Temple at which devout Oldfield fans worship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration from beyond..., 14 Sep 2003
I can't say I was a collector of Mike Oldfield music before I heard this. Yeh, sure I'd heard of Tubular bells a generation ago - who hasn't?... Then one day I tuned into a German channel "37" Bayerischer Fernsehen or something, which was playing an overnight session (think it still does?) called "Space night Earth Views II". two of the pieces caught my attention whilst shots of earth from space were on the screen... One was called Hibernaculum and the other Ascension; Imagine my suprise to find they were both on the same CD, namely this one!
This completely sold me on the whole new age Genre' really, so my recommendation is Buy this if you like Mike Oldfield, and BUY it if you like new age stuff like Enigma, Deep Forest, etc. It's made me a convert, and it really stood well on the German channel showing shots of Earth from space as it was playing - Check it out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transendental music to chill out to, some awesome sounds., 6 Nov 1999
By A Customer
Music that goes hand in hand with the Arthur C. Clarke Sci-fi book by the same title. Clarke's book conjurs pictures in the mind but the CD really makes these a reality. It erie, yet its the most tranquil and relaxing peice of music I've listened to. When you want to chill this is the one. You'll come out the other side refreshed and ready to kick ass. I keep hearing new things in it all the time so you won't get bored of listening to it again and again. Just remember to turn it off as you can get lost in the rythm.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments, 29 Oct 2009
By 
C. JONES "CJ" (Swansea, UK) - See all my reviews
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This one has really taken on the status of "guilty pleasure". I can sympathise with all the low rating reviews - it does all seem rather too easy, and when I first bought it I was initially disappointed. Over time it grew on me, and it does have a "chill-out" factor as others have mentioned.

There are times when there doesn't seem to be much going on, but you could easily say that about the early parts of Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". Once you lower your expectations, it all becomes quite enjoyable.

Like most Oldfield it is an instrumental album, with a number of linked tracks featuring synthesisers, guitars, a chorus and some incidental background noises. "In the beginning" uses the bible-reading from the Apollo 8 mission, which sets up the album's lofty aims. From here we travel through a collection of fairly simple themes, and some fairly spaced-out slower sequences, to finish with some moderately cheerful African singing.

I suppose to some extent Mr O has enough of a pedigree not to have to impress anyone, and may well have been making the music he wants. This is certainly non-commercial, and in my view has more merit than the more recent "Music of the Spheres", which to me reads as a Tubular Bells too far, and a cynical attempt on someone's part to clean up in both the classical and "New Age" camps.

I can't rave over "Songs", but I can't dismiss it either. It still comes out of my collection from time to time after a decade or so on the shelf,and suits a variety of moods.
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