First off the bat my review is for the 2013 Deluxe Edition. Now I'm guessing most listeners coming to this release will already be familiar with Mike Oldfield's Five Miles Out so is this remaster worth the spend out? Well actually yes.
By the time Oldfield came to record Five Miles Out recording techniques and studio gear had improved a great deal since he started his career. It is from this point onwards in the Oldfield cannon that I always thought the remastering process wouldn't offer very much over the original releases. Well I was wrong, this release sounds absolutely tremendous. There is such definition and clarity and the bass is so round and warm. It sounds great loud too, those crunchy distorted power chords sound like they're gonna come straight out of the speakers.
Musically, Five Miles Out is a real highlight in Oldfield's career. There are so many twists and turns and so many beautifully interwoven layers. Oldfield was riding the crest of a very creative wave, there is so much energy on offer here. Many of the passages are actually quite heavy in a heavy rock sense but the number of styles presented is baffling. Five Miles Out is a unique album and the title track is perhaps one of the most unique, idiosyncratic pieces of music I've ever heard, it's just so strange yet familiar!
On to the extras; the live disc is stunning. There are some very playful and deftly executed versions presented here. The highlight for me is the crowd joining in with Five Miles Out while the band actually slip into a reggae vibe led by some amazing organ. I didn't think I could sit through yet another rendition of Tubular Bells but the version here is so different and creative. The other bonuses are worth the lay out too; we've had Waldberg (The Peak) several times before but again the remaster is so good that it sounds like a new track. As for the demo version of Five Miles Out (the track); very, very interesting, I'll be listening to that for a long time to come. I'm sorry to say I can't offer a review of the 5.1 mix as I'm not set up for it.
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 Five Miles Out or any of Mike's early albums you will love Mohribold and with such little music coming from the old maestro we all need a fix of something to fill the hole where a new Oldfield album should go!