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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly sublime. [UPDATE}
Incantations (Remastered)

Incantations (2011) is both a joy and frustration to me. What it may do is lead some to re-assess this album.

Back in 1978 it was Mike's fourth album and the next in an increasingly complex set of albums, though with diminishing sales.

Nevertheless, I remember that there was a degree of expectation amongst fans...
Published on 25 July 2011 by M. Yon

versus
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars so called "deluxe" treatment
**EDIT**

It looks like Universal are going to sort out the glitch after all:

Thank you for your email regarding Mike Oldfield's Incantations.
The new re-master of Incantations is faithful to the original analogue master tape. These tapes included an edit point at 12:37 on Part 4 of Incantations which can be discerned as a small jump in the...
Published on 25 July 2011 by Cudsie


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heading For Gitche Gumee, 2 Nov 2013
This review is from: Incantations (Audio CD)
I never fail to take this album with me when visiting family on the shores of Lake Superior. I usually put it on just as I hit Hwy 17, the music mirroring the Canadian landscape as we approach those legendary shores. There are some wonderful themes here, and while they may outstay their welcome a little (the condensed live version on Exposed may be more immediately appealing), they are never less than engrossing, with Maddy Prior's contribution an inspired choice. Is it his best? Probably not (I listen to Five Miles Out and Crises more), but there is no better album of Mike's at evoking what it was meant to.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So beautiful it literally makes me cry, 2 Oct 2008
This review is from: Incantations (Audio CD)
I love the whole album, but it is the last 5 minutes of Track 4 (what was side 4 of the double LP) that is the truly outstanding part. The rest of Track 4, and arguably the whole album, just builds and builds to the incredible climax when Maddy Prior's voice comes in. It is just so beautiful, it literally brings tears to my eyes. In more than 30 years of listening to music (this being one of the very first albums I bought), there are only a handful of tracks that can do that.

Don't just listen to Maddy, however. You have to listen to the whole album to get the full effect of Maddy's bit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldfield's finest album ?, 21 Oct 2013
By 
R. David (france) - See all my reviews
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Very good and thorough edition of this Mike Oldfield Classic... the discs are filled with bonus tracks and various demos and mixes of the period (including Guilty). Great work at the time, great work nowadays. This album is as good as Ommadawn to me (which means a lot !) - one of Oldfield's finest moments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, but Buyer Beware!, 26 July 2011
By 
Sordel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Please read Cudsie's review of the deluxe edition if you want to know about some of the corners that have been cut in producing this. If you are hot to expand your Mike Oldfield collection after the frankly superb editions of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn, be prepared for some disappointment. If the main draw for you is the DVD 5.1 sound, then to be honest, you may do better to skip this edition completely. The 5.1 mixes on this DVD are of material that you are going to listen to twice or three times, that's it. And the second CD is nothing special either.

That said, Incantations is my favourite Mike Oldfield album and, although there are disappointments here, there are some serious pleasures in this set. The video footage of the Exposed-era live performance of Incantations is something that I have not previously owned, and it is very good indeed; in fact, it makes the DVD worthwhile on its own, although the video promos for "Guilty" and "William Tell" are also both good.

The extras are mainly of curiosity value, but the "Piano Improvisation" is very good and some of the cheerful additions, such as the "Pipe Tune" or "Wreckorder Rondo", may appeal to you, even given that they are slightly out of keeping with Incantations itself. The dry remix of "Guilty" is, for me, a complete failure, sounding oddly recessed and lifeless, and "Diana - Disiderata" would be alright if it didn't have a Hawking computer voice reading a poem over it.

Overall, then, the things added to this album to make it deluxe probably just about merit the title. BUT: the remastered Incantations is actually not that good. I've listened to it side by side by the first generation CD of Incantations (which, by the way, cut over three minutes from Part Three!) and I actually think that the new version is worse. It's as though in de-hissing the original recording they have removed some of the original detail. For comparison, listen to the start of Part Four, where the guitars and harp seem recessed on the Remaster. To its credit, the remaster is no louder than the original, but neither is it any better: you might expect something more than a treble cut for the money.

I'm giving this edition five stars because the album is that good and I don't want to throw a fit just because there are some drawbacks. This is not the best that this album has sounded sonically, and the extras are not worth a premium price. Consider old masters as an alternative if you just want the album.

[Edit: (12 August 2011) There may still be copies of the remastered disc one around with the glitch on track four, but I just wanted to report that Universal replaced the faulty disc with no problem, and I would assume that people buying the deluxe edition further down the line would have nothing to worry about.]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why oh Why do we get this?, 25 July 2011
A wonderful piece of music has been almost ruined.

The new remastered version on CD1 is excellent quality but not that much better than the 2000 edition. CD2 reworkings why mess with something that was already great I just don't get it and their nothing special.

DVD of the live 1979 concert is nice to have but not worth buying the set just for that.

Fans of this album just want the best quality of the original music and unlike the other reissues where on the whole Oldfield succeeds, this is a very poor failure.

ALL WE WANTED WAS THE ORIGINAL MUSIC IN 5.1. NOT THIS.

VERY, VERY DISAPPOINTING. DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY HE HAS DONE THIS, IF HE COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO DO IT PROPERLY THEN HE SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT AT ALL.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way before its time and an enduring masterpiece., 11 Feb 2001
By 
Timothy Gibson (Singapore) - See all my reviews
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Mike Oldfield is the master of breaking new ground and has unfortunately received little attention for it. I have been a fan from the start of his career and this album remains one of my favourites (after the unbeatable Ommadawn). It takes you on a magical journey where music and poetry blend into a landscape of beauty. Maddy Prior's haunting vocals from 'Hiawatha' add greater depth and meaning to this fantastic album. Mike at his best.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars most disappointing reissue of 2011, 10 Aug 2011
Having bought all the excellent 5-star reissues of Tubular/Hergest/Ommadawn 2cd/surround-dvds,unlike those 3 albums,this one does not have the much anticipated 5.1 surround sound mix of the album,but instead includes a still-available stereo concert video of incantations(from the 'exposed' dvd) and a few badly judged pointless Rerecordings of some parts of the album.Added to that,the digipack packaging is flimsy and cheaply printed compared to the previous Universal reissues..... What a major disappointment!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars remastering has been kind to this old favourite, 2 July 2008
By 
Thameshour (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Incantations (Audio CD)
I sought out this cd especially for the Hiawatha poem sung by Maddy Prior which features on tracks 2 & 4. On the original 1978 album this was an especially beautiful and memorable part of the album, especially the version on track 4. The melody develops in gradual layers, growing into a holding space promising the lovely song to come. Maddy's singing also grows gradually to a crescendo that's just a joy to sing along to. The song seems perfect: minimalist in its repeating melody while very moving in its layered development, and closed in perfect time.
This "new" version has not been annoyingly tampered with, if anything the slight tweaks make it even more pleasing to the ear. Incantations is not a perfect album, it has its weaknesses (tedious underdevelopment of potential on track 1 hence 4 stars) but to hear it again is a lovely trip down memory lane.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You may not get the "fixed" version, 17 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Incantations (Audio CD)
Let me start by saying that this is a great album. An absolute classic for any Mike Oldfield fan. And with the remaster/re-issue, this seemed like the perfect time to get the CD of a long-forgotten favourite.

But my decision to buy it now was influenced by the amendment to a previous review. The editing flaw on part 4 has been fixed by Universal in response to complaints (and full marks to them). So I was expecting to get this fixed release. But I didn't.

In truth, had it just been there (as it was on the original) I'd have lived with it, but knowing it has been sorted on new copies means that every time I hear it, it jars. So I'm returning it. I may try again in a few months, in the hope that the repaired version will have made its way into the stocks.

I actually bought the CD from one of Amazon's agents, so in fairness, Amazon may have already replaced the older stock. But we really should have more transparency here, both from Amazon and its other sellers. Just selling off old stock with a fault that has now been repaired is not good practice, and is bound to aggravate customers.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime. A subtle, tempered and light touch remastering., 12 Aug 2011
By 
Robert Day - See all my reviews
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Having seen the negative reviews on this remastered version of Incantations, particularly in respect to the glitch in Part 4, I waited till I received the 'corrected' version. Like others I was sorely disappointed after waiting in eager anticipation of this release of one of my favourite Oldfield recordings.

I received the corrected version today and am so pleased to say it is perfect, without a glitch to be heard. Furthermore, I am extremely happy with the remastering. As others have said, it is warmer sounding than previous CD releases. To me it is the closest to the sound of original vinyl release in 1978 and it stirs recollections of the joy I used to feel listening to it all those years ago. It is wonderful. No detail is lost and every instrument and voice has its place clearly defined and apparent in the mix. Further, distortions apparent even on the original vinyl pressing are now gone.

The remastering is subtle and tempered, almost invisible when listening and leaving just the splendour of the music to experience - which is surely how it should be. This is all too often not the case with other remastered releases. It may possibly be for this reason that others feel disappointed. The remastering is so carefully done.

For me, the remastered Incantations in this package is glorious.

Disc 2 is a nice to have and very enjoyable. It's not what I primarily bought the deluxe edition for so do not feel quite so emotive about it as others who did. I feel the same for the surround mix of parts of Incantations. I've never been a fan of surround mixes so cannot feel disappointed here.

As with previous remastered releases in this series my recommendation is you should buy this remastered version of Incantations. It is great value for money and hopefully like me, you will experience the joy that repeated hearing of this recording can bring.
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Incantations
Incantations by Mike Oldfield (Audio CD - 2011)
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