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Music of the Years
on 14 February 2014
With the imminent release of Oldfield's 2014 release; Man on the Rocks, I find myself drawn to his other most recent release now 6 years old. For those fans of old like myself, Music of the Spheres is a (very sweet) treat. Finally, Oldfield shakes off his frankly dreadful techno-chill phase and goes classical!!!
Harbinger, the albums opener, heralds this as another work in the Tubular Bells series. At first this grated with me but hang in there, the nods to Tubular Bells are only occasional. I find it helps to make sense of Oldfield's entire back-catalog if you see it as one big piece of music with plenty of variations on a theme along the way. I'm sure some of those grand old masters of classical music used to do this throughout their careers, Viv Aldi for example, before he set up that supermarket chain.
Joking aside, Music of the Spheres features some truly beautiful moments, it is clearly Oldfield's most rewarding work for many, many years. The only negative for me is that at times it does stray into Hollywood film-score territory. With so much of that in our lives already is this unnecessary? I might have preferred those saccharine cinematic passages to instead have been pieces more challenging to the ear of a listener matured by years of Oldfield's grander moments.
Plus....for those who yearn for a return to the sound of those early classics; Ommadawn, Hergest Ridge, Incantations and the like, an artist by the name of Andrew Taylor has come to your rescue. Look up his recent Mohribold album, many of the Oldfield faithful seem to be talking about it.