The Millennium Bell Review - musicINSTINCT

November 22, 1999
Leo Jux
Evening Mail

Precision-engineered for beauty, these tracks range from snowflake delicateness to busy attempts at magnificent splendour. A little lightweight at times, especially the often tinny drums, for a celebration of a millennium of music. 

Mike travelled some way around the world for inspiration for this album and baring that in mind, only god knows where the idea for "Mastermind" came from, which is basically a James Bond theme tune with one cheesy sample – perhaps he was in Russia needing some light relief at the time. However, in the scheme of things, the overall sound works and is still very listenable, which applies to all tracks. Moving moments are sporadic, but they are present: - "Peace On Earth", the opening track, is hypnotically beautiful, as is "Liberation", with enchanting delicacy and an irresistible Christmas feel. 

The awful, thin, quivering electric guitar of Tubular Bells fame returns to ruin some of the songs. Mike has yet to produce a consistently beautiful album – there’s always a distasteful instrument or cheap sensationalist mantra-like vocal to make one cringe in the middle of being awed, which is a real shame. If he knew how not to ruin the beauty of his songs, they’d be faultless. 

Fairly standard Mike Oldfield Stuff.

Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield