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The "Marmite" of Oldfield albums!!
on 6 June 2016
A hugely underrated album from Mike Oldfield that pushes the boundaries...
I am sad to say that this one passed me by - I heard "excerpts" on a really bad "Best of" album put out in 92-93 prior to his departure from Virgin records (whilst they could still raid his back catalogue) it had a kingfisher on the cover for some reason - who knows why? I was not that impressed by what I heard, but to be fair to me it was all out of context and a jumbled mess...Virgin didn't know what they had here, that's for sure!
The history/story of this album is one of legend, after being sick of Richard Branson ripping him off for 25 years and not paying him fair royalties for his HUGE back catalogue of works (making an absolute fortune for Branson-how do you think he has his millions?...yes that's right M.O.), Mike wanted out! He still had to deliver one last album for Virgin before jumping ship to Warner (to record TB2) and he decided to get one over on RB. This album is like a person walking around a 2nd hand record shop (what we call vinyl "diggers" who seek out gems that are unheard/forgotten about in the annals of time), or somebody looking at their CD tower/shelf/stand and remembering all their favourite pieces from each of the albums they see. Musically it jumps around all over the place, never stopping in the same place twice. It really holds the listeners interest as there is so much complexity and diversity on show, it is clear that Mike is a master of his art...the art of writing, playing and producing truly beautiful music. As a result it was totally unmarketable as Virgin wanted/needed singles, but this album is 60 minutes long and one track...good luck with that!
With me its most certainly a case of "Better late than never" and it is a shame that I didn't experience it 1st time around, but it was quickly followed by TB2 and Songs Of Distant Earth which are 2 of my personal favs so no worries there, but it really stands up as an album in it's own right and I think deserves far more praise than it received upon release. Most definitely the "Marmite" of Oldfield albums.