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Nearly but not quite.
on 6 August 2012
Treading a path through Oldfield's musical career has always been like walking through a mine field so a bit of guidance can be called for.
Ommadawn is perhaps Oldfield's crowning glory and an album a lot of the Oldfield faithful prefer to Tubular Bells and I agree. Sadly though Oldfield has tinkered a little too much with the mix on this release, sadder still it's likely to stay this way. The basic problem is this; the end of part 1 is a thundering crescendo, one of the finest, most dramatic, emotive and exhilirating pieces of music ever written, it rises from the preceding music and knocks you clean over, well it did before the levels were all balanced out anyway. Now the whole piece seems to sit at the same level and it's lost it's dynamic force. Part 2 fares slightly better in the remix but the irish folk section featuring Paddy Maloney (of the Chieftans) now sounds so cheesy with all that extra reverb, it used to sound raw and earthy.
All is not lost though; the original mix is available with the deluxe edition of this release, so if I were you I'd spend just a little extra and get that one instead.
I feel I must also point lovers of Ommadawn in the direction of an album I recently found called Mohribold. It's by an emerging artist called Andrew Taylor who surely must have listened to Oldfield's early masterpieces in great detail. Whilst retaining his own flare and style, Mohribold has the texture of those early Oldfield records, something a lot of Oldfield fans really want to hear since Mike went new-age techno on us!