Mike Oldfield: Trip from Cosmos to Ibiza

September 1, 1996
Jordi Saladrigas
El Dominical (Spain)

From the corner of Ibiza where he is looking for himself opposite to sea, the boy that 23 years ago made himself a millionaire, playing those famous 'Tubular Bells' has released a new album. 'Voyager' is a bucolic compendium with celtic sounds into the mystic filter of Mike Oldfield, an opus designed to be a top into pipes symphonism (transl. note: I do not know if that word exists, hmmm...).

When the name of a man starts to travel in the space, his life changes completely. That is what happened with Mike Oldfield, who has a comet travelling in the space with his surname. One fine day an astronomer with cosmic musical taste found a celestial body without a name and decided to call him like his idol. In that cosmic baptism, Mike Oldfield got a spacial and special breath for his own.

The comet travels and Mikes does too. The galactic rock with material impulse and the British musician with an irrepressible necessity to live out of England: "It is a cold country, where rains very much and people suspect about people". For many years, Oldfield (Reading, 1953) travelled as a physical movement, and that kinetic force moved and lived in Los Angeles, Switzerland and south of France. Now, he understands the trip like a internal search, like an expedition to navel of his own, to see the complete cosmos and be in communion with it, and he has selected Ibiza like a central court for his own introspection.

"I want to explore each part of the meaning of be a human being. I like looking for into me, learning out from me, travelling in the sky, in all the planet, exploring everything. It is not only travelling to different places, it is also exploring different mind states, inside and outside of music, in everything".

Mike has finished to show a part of this silent and infinite mind trip in the ten songs from Voyager, an ethereal and relaxing album, humid and pastoral like those celtic sounds he confines, full of floating guitars and synthesized pipes. An album released last Monday, playing in each soap and organic products shop in your town ward. To know the story of this new musical trip we travelled to the voyager. To arrive to Oldfield, his external solid one and his gaseous internal one later, it is not easy, because the human being Mike lives separated, and his spirit, absorbed in thoughts and lost.

Oldfield has selected for his new life a corner of unreal beauty in the south of Ibiza, where he swims, he walks in the sun, he meditates, he walks in the sun, he meditates and he swims, into a psalmody of repose that if it does not relax itself, it does with exhausting repetition. As well as this, these days Mike takes care about the construction of his new house, a chalet with 600 quadrate meters into a field with 16000 ones and in front of a such a noble and pacific sea that fishes swim as dead ones to unmake voile. Before to reach the balcony, where you can see all Formentera (translator note: another Balearic Island, smaller than Ibiza), the voyager Oldfield finds repose in "Las Brisas de Ibiza", a little hotel with an airing name and exquisite arab design, that looks at quiet sea from the another side of the bay. He receives us with bathing suit, with oxygened hair, liquid look and absent presence, as near to leave floating looking for itself. Mike has a corner and nasal talking that often lose itself and stops without warning, but progressing with calm, maybe influenced with somnolent advance of life in this place, where nothing seems to move and where waves are into a silent law.

Sit down in his inmobility, the voyager speaks about his new voyage, another voyager: sometimes a no voyage.

Mike Oldfield: Now I travel to the inside, with different states of mind, with help from meditation and Tai Chi. Before this one, I was always thinking, always worried. Now I have learned to stop my thoughts, and in that state my mind is into a complete peace. No anxiety, no worries. Suddenly you feel everything around yourself and you discover so many things happen... Tai Chi is the same but at the same time you discover your mind, you discover your body, you manipulate it, it is a spiritual massage, ha, ha. (Oldfield talking breaks itself with these unexpected laughs from maybe a unknown dimension of his mind. But he returns it there quickly and he returns to known world to talk about Voyager).

The album was an idea of the company. I had one album more in my contract and they said: "Why not to do an album with celtic music?". For me celtic music is easy, is my natural way to play because I am a half Irish. I said: "Puff, no problem, a celtic album". It was easy, a pleasure. As well as this, when I was doing it I was learning meditation and Tai Chi and it is a relaxed album. Usually my music has many ups: piiiim! piiiiim!, but this album is quieter, it is like a beautiful photograph.

Jordi Saladrigas: Since you were a child, music was for you what you named a virtual reality.

Exactly. I was born into a family full of problems, my mother was ill the most of the time and I was unhappy as a human being. Then I escaped and I find a refuge in the music, inside of the music I feeled happier and protected. That world finished being a realer one for me. It was good for a time, I did a lot of music, indeed my older albums are still selling, then I do not have to worry about money in all my life. But really it is not good, confine and hide yourself is not good. Then I have to try to learn from myself. Now music is not a necessity, it is a pleasure.

Tai Chi, meditation, it must have been a part of an evolution. Where do you started and where are you now?

I like that word: evolution. In a evolution you know where you started but not where you will finish. I started with a lot of confusion, a lot of insecurity, with Tai Chi and meditation I learned to destroy pressures, to relax. I am very happy doing nothing.

What a pleasure. Enjoy, you can.

Yes, it is great. Nothing of nothing.

'Tubular Bells' success, did you enjoy, did it surprise yourself, did it oppress yourself?

I was confused, I did not like attention. I desired being invisible, be in the shadow, and I was the centre of attention. Then I went to live in the mountains in Wales, and I disconected the phone. But anyway they arrived there, ha, ha.

When did you noticed you could use the success for your benefit?

When I looked at the life. You can judge the people around you, and I had few friends. And my friends were not happy. My career was destroing itself, I was unhappy, I drank a lot, my health was bad, I could not to sleep. I said to myself: "This is not a life, I have to find the meaning to do a search of inside of me". And I learned about our mechanisms, about the experiences in childhood can influence the adult life, I discovered into relationships you try to show your childhood in very strange ways. With psychoanalysis I explored myself and then not to do those ones. I explored other ways, spiritual ones, to conduct my life, until I found a little of peace (his debt with psychoanalysis, and allied one due to the fortune he got with "Tubular Bells", and his debt with cosmos that gave him that fortune, Oldfield paid it creating Tonic, a organization in London that he pays for people that need psychotherapy).

You life now seem quite a comfortable one. Is there something worrying you?

Nothing. Nothing important. Little things, little details. And I have a different philosophy now. I feel everything that I feel I have created it. I selected it happened, then nothing is a mistake. Indeed if something wrong happens to me I try to learn with experience. I am into a spiritual way that I have made. With that attitude you can see perfection of life, not the problems.

Are you worried about problems of the Humanity?

I think that if I have this philosophy, everyone can have it and do the same. I think it is a good philosophy, it creates a lot of love and responsability to be a positive force. (Oldfield lets journalists the opportunity to know his new house, a mansion with rural feeling, with dust at the end of dusty ways. The "tour" includes only go/come back trip and a stay in loneliness of an empty balcony, because in the house, Mike dissapears with his girlfriend Miriam (blonde, smiling and silent like an apparition) to dive, to swim in his pool, to meditate in the shore of water. Then, visitors have to see the sea, suspicting the waiting is a rite prepared by Oldfield to initiate them in the meditation. The mussel Oldfield, sea voyager, submarine, returns to waters and leaves out from his shell).

The feeling in your music inspires very much in nature.

I love to be in a beautiful place. To be in a dirty city does not inspire too much, although when you are creating you are inside of your work and then creating a different reality. For me, work is already not so important. Now I want to learn to do nothing. I am starting. A little step to a little step.

What is the way to learn to do nothing?

It is about to unlearn. These buttons control ourselves, we have to open, to put off, until nothing happens around ourselves. The strange thing is when nothing happens, many more things happen than when many things happen. (Into Mike's balcony nothing happens, then he dives, he swims and he meditates, his ocasional - but not casual, nothing is casual - partners see the quiet sea with the hope to start to unlearn, or learn how much is happening without it apparently happens. The road to knowledge is long).

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net