- Audio CD (24 Oct. 1995)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Disky Communications
- ASIN: B0000072NV
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,950 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Top customer reviews
However, the sound on this lp is closer to Jeam-Michel Jarre (ok, that is really over simplifying thing). The track Crises takes up side 1. It is electronic for the most part. Perhaps the lyrics are too repetitive and could have been cut down by a minute. Side 2 has the hit, Moonlight Shadow as the opening number. However, the highlight on side 2 for me is one of JON ANDERSON' s greatest vocal moments (omg, how I love him in Yes, ABWH and with Vangelis). Foreign Affair is a pleasant, if disposable pop tune. Taurus 3 has no resemblance to part 1 or 2 (QE2 and Five Miles Out respectedly). Shadow On The Wall features Roer Chapman, vocalist in Family) which is quite a rocky number for Mike.
And in case you think the word 'genius' gets banded around too easily, go check The Songs of Distant Earth. For all his issues, the man is blessed. Thanks, Mike - for coming up with music to dream to.
Looking back over 30 years, I can see why the teen me thought this was Oldfield's best album. Besides Moonlight Shadow - which I still can't get enough of - and Shadow on the Wall, the first side is genuinely one of the best things he has done. Gone now are the bagpipes, bongos etc - much as I enjoy them. We're stripped back to the instruments Oldfield can really play: keyboard and, especially, guitar. Simon Philips' drums lend the punch that was lacking from the 'rock out' sections of earlier albums. The whole thing is taut and focused - unlike some of his pieces it knows where it is going - and comes to a successful climax courtesy of those drums.
So I'm giving this five stars for old time's sake - in spite of the three filler tracks on side 2 (as was). They feel like the work of a bored rich man who frankly doesn't know what to do with his time, in or out of the studio. Anyone like to come for a helicopter ride?
And given that there isn't enough inspiration to go round, I probably shouldn't complain that at 35 minutes-ish the album is a couple of numbers light. But it is.
First to the remastering; we definitely have more volume this time round and so the music jumps from the speakers. To be fair though, my hi-fi does have a volume control and the boosted sound comes with a compromise. Yes you may catch a few more details but they were there already if you listened carefully enough. I think this a more cluttered mix. Everything is loud so there is no dynamic to the sound. Previous releases had space and subtlety, a major strength of Oldfield's. Crises seems to have become a victim of the so called loudness war.
Some may prefer the remastering so what about the music? Well of course it's great. There are nods to Tubular Bells, but they're not too obvious. This is perhaps Oldfield's most synthy work from this era but as always the melodies come first, if nothing else Oldfield is a master of the catchy tune. Since Ommadawn we'd always been treated to some very interesting percussion work with every release and with Simon Phillips on board we get an onslaught of power drumming and it's great.
The extras don't really cut the mustard for me this time and again we've been denied a classic b-side with the exclusion of Rite of Man. We're given the 12" versions of Moonlight Shadow and Shadow on the Wall of which the Oldfield faithful will already have. The unplugged mixes of these songs are little more than interesting though it's great to hear the banjo on the latter track really brought to the forefront. The redeeming feature of the whole release however, is the tremendous live disc. Instrumental tracks Taurus I and II and Crises are rocky, playful and inventive, they are worth the money alone. The songs don't fare so well in my opinion but it's great to hear an improvisational edge to Oldfield's soloing and of course Roger Chapman joins in on Family Man, well he had to didn't he!?
I must add a footnote about a much more recent album I know some of the Oldfield faithful are discovering. It's called Mohribold and was recorded by Andrew Taylor (google it!). If you like Crises or any of Mike's early albums you will love Mohribold and with such little new music coming from the old maestro we all need a fix of something to fill the hole where a new Oldfield album should go!