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Topic: Amarok - The best of Mike Oldfield< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
DoomHammer Offline




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Posted: Dec. 07 2000, 05:46

what do you think about Amarok? I think, this is Mike's best album
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Posted: Dec. 07 2000, 07:44

Oh my god! Not another "Amarok is gods gift to music".

Sorry, but all "Amarok" proves is that Mike can throw together any old piece of junk and have it swallowed whole by this clique of fanboys willing to overanalyze it for all its (not) worth. No wonder he thought he could get away with The Millennium Bell.

Amarok is:

-Incoherent: it jumps from one piece of music to the next without any rhyme or reason. There is no real unifying theme to hold these disparate elements together. People go on about the tracks in TB3 and TMB not "flowing together" yet lavish praise on this? What gives? Don't forget that this is supposed to be one continuously flowing instrumental yet it is very fragmented.

-Bombastic: Bits of this are little more than sound effects cranked up really loud, and there are these bursts of guitars that come in in the middle of a theme for no reason whatsoever

-Meandering: Need I say that this is LOOOONG and quite unneccessarily so. If he had broken this up into tracks it might have been more bearable, but as it is we have to sit through all the dreck to get to the good bits. AHHHHHHHH!

-Pretentious: Mike in interviews at the time said that computers were a cancer killing music, and that this was "true" and "pure". What a load of crap. Let us not forget that this guy is now using computers and sequencers with nary a second thought and has been busying himself designing a virtual reality project.

I'm sorry to everyone who thinks amarok is genius but to me it just seemed like Mike cobbled a few tunes together and pissed them all against a wall in the hope something would stick.

There I've said it. No doubt you will all harass me and say that I don't understand it properly but this is my opinion and you cant take that away from me.
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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Dec. 07 2000, 17:36

It's all odd...Mike was doing things in Amarok deliberately to annoy people at Virgin. Part of the effect of it jumping so quickly between themes and ideas is that it's very hard to pick out one segment of it that will worrk on its own, making singles virtually impossible (ok, so some editing could maybe sort that, but I doubt most companies would be bothered to get someone to do that). This is perhaps also partly why it's in one continuous piece, rather than broken into tracks. Things like bursts of guitars coming up in the middle of a theme for seemingly no reason is probably again a sort of part of this - just as the listener is starting to relax, out jumps something that half scares the crap out of them...

It being one piece kind of adds to the "either like it or don't" thing that's attached to it...you either sit and listen to it for a whole hour or you don't listen to it at all.

I think really it's there because Mike wanted to do it (perhaps there was also an influence from Tom Newman there though) and some strange part of his character came through into the music while he was making it...I certainly like it for that reason, but like many other albums of his (and indeed of other artists) for the same reasons...
I see similarities between Amarok and Music from the Balcony...yet many of the fans who hate MFTB love Amarok. It's almost like one gets hyped up, and people take someone else's opinions instead of forming their own (but let me make it clear now...I'm not in any way saying that if you think Amarok is Mike's best work, you can't form your own opinions and have taken someone else's).

Whether it is pretentious or not, and whether it is indeed 'true', 'pure' and whatever other adjectives Mike or anyone else would care to describe it with is open to debate (and a big one at that...). Certainly there are albums out there which to me feel more pretentious than Amarok did...Amarok feels extremely honest in comparison to the music of some artists. Mike being pretentious about it...I don't know...you could call him hypocritical if you were in a nasty mood, maybe, but peoples' ideas change. He'd been using computers fairly heavily in his music since he bought his first Fairlight, so it isn't so much of a suprise that he went back to them fairly quickly after Amarok (although maybe he didn't intend to...). We could also still argue about the effect of computeers on modern music (I'd be tempted to argue that it isn't the computers but the users, but that's something quite different...).

Hmm...so...my conclusion...That TUBULARMAN is right...and that DoomHammer is right as well...make of that what you will...
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Man In Rain Offline




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Posted: Dec. 19 2000, 03:51

Tubularman, if you want to listen to a 'coherent long instrumental' please try En attendant Cousteau (Waiting for Cousteau) by Jean-Michel Jarre. I think you will be deeply satisfied. And I think that if Mike just wanted to 'cobble a few tunes together and piss them all against a wall in the hope something would stick' he wouldn't have used all those instruments, just a syntethizer and some samples.
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Posted: Dec. 19 2000, 08:24

See, I knew you'd all be mocking me just cause I have a different opinion to all you people.

Thanks for insulting me Man In The Rain.
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Pacha Daddy Offline




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Posted: Dec. 19 2000, 10:39

Not to flame you, Tubularman, but I think that ALL opinions here are valid. Musical taste varies greatly, and we recognize that. In attacking MitR for his opinion, you're doing essentially that which you're accusing him of doing--insulting his opinion.

He likes it, you don't. It's that simple.

Pax, all.
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CarstenKuss Offline




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Posted: Dec. 19 2000, 16:40

Funny you say that, Korgscrew! I tried it: Took a theme from Amarok (Lion) and turned it into a very 'commercial' 4-minute piece. Because I liked the tune. You can find it at http://reach.to/amarok . Now, is this blasphemy, or what? - Carsten -


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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Dec. 21 2000, 19:59

I actually took a listen to that a while ago Carsten and had a lot of fun listening to it smile

I like playing with themes like that as well sometimes, so I could see where you were coming from with that idea. One thing about Amarok is that its many themes provide a fair amount of material for pulling out and playing with like that...there are also some very creative ideas and techniques used in there...
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Pacha Daddy Offline




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Posted: Dec. 30 2000, 14:05

My turn now, and I have to throw my hand in with the folks who like this album. A lot. I'm in the midst of my first listen (about 17 minutes in) and I'm already taken with the depth of sound, the bits of experimentation, the freshness of it all. It's still very distinctly Mike, twiddly bits and all, but very (pleasantly) unusual.

Ah, shattering glass into an acoustic riff...very nice.

Did someone say (somewhere) that the original album notes had it broken down into named bits? Can anyone post those?

Off now to enjoy the rest...
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Dec. 30 2000, 19:01

PD, you can find the sleevenotes right here on Tubular Web. Click on Discography from the main page, then on Amarok.



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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Dec. 30 2000, 19:10

Ahem...I meant...click on ALBUMS then on Amarok. smile

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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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Pacha Daddy Offline




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Posted: Dec. 30 2000, 21:52

Thanks, Ugo!
And I have to say, having now listened to the album straight thru twice, it's high up on my list. I love the dissonance, the experimenting, the layering of sound. Mind you, I can understand why people wouldn't like it, but I'm very much into ambient music, and I also believe that every sound is inherently musical (my son loves when I "play" parts of the local wooden playground as a percussion instrument), so this album works for me.
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yaco Offline




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Posted: Feb. 26 2002, 02:04

re: computers and music.

probably amarok doesn't have much 'sequencing' in it, but i'm sure it has been edited / mixed on a (quite powerful) computer... you can hear it all over!

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music is dressed silence
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Pikalcazar Offline




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Posted: Feb. 26 2002, 13:28

Mike said, one time, he took all the Tubular Bells and compressed it to 200 mili-seconds! to use it as a rhythm. Now, the question of $1 million is, where's Tubular Bells 200 mili-seconds-version?

Greetings.
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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Feb. 26 2002, 18:09

With reference to Amarok being mixed on computer...

The album was recorded to a Sony 3348 digital 48 track recorder and mixed on a Harrison Series X, which is a digitally controlled analogue mixing desk. The desk, which Mike used from the late 80s onwards (until replacing it with the digital Neve Capricorn in the early 90s) offers the same kind of mix automation facilities found in modern computer based mixing software (in fact, the Harrison's 'brain' essentially is a computer, just a specialised one).
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timshen Offline




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Posted: Mar. 15 2002, 12:37

I find it hard to see how Amarok was supposed to be a follow on from Ommadawn (except maybe the use of the same drummers with the same rhythm as Ommadawn and a similar guitar solo) - they are VERY different. Ommadawn still ramians my MIKES NO.1 - Amarok is climbing higher in my opinion each time I listen to it. As i've aid elsewhere, it is the most difficult Album to like at first but is the most 'growing-on-you' of all his albums.

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raven4x4x Offline




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Posted: May 18 2002, 03:48

Amarok isn't the BEST album in my opinion, but it certainly is his biggest, his grandest, probably his most important, if you get what I mean. I certainly like Amarok a lot, but it does have a very distinctive feel that con be overwhelming if you're not familiar with it. That said there are some nice musical bits which are very musical. The Africa sections are of course pure evil (in a good way).

Oh, and by the way TUBULARMAN, I hardly think that Man In Rain was insulting you by suggesting something to you, and offering his own opinion. I can certainly understand that many prople wouldn't like Amarok (my mum being one), and after all, it is Mike's lowest selling album. I remember when I first listened to Amarok I just thought "What the hell is this?" but I soon got to like most of it at least. It really is a mad album.

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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: May 18 2002, 17:35

The Ommadawn connection is, according to what Mike said once, that he started off with the same ideas in hand that he had when making Ommadawn. The original plan was to produce a sequel to Ommadawn, but he ended up going in a different direction...


The links are more in the background to the albums than in the music itself...

Still, alongside the African drummers, there is also Clodagh Simmonds and Paddy Moloney, who of course both appeared on Ommadawn and also William Murray (who played percussion and co-wrote the lyrics to 'On Horseback') who took the cover photograph and wrote the story in the inside of the original Amarok cover booklet.
The cover is also a reference back to Ommadawn - Mike looking through a wet pane of glass...even the slight reflection on the glass is duplicated. The title also provides a link, with both Ommadawn and Amarok being nonsense words derived from Irish Gaelic (though Amarok could have come from elsewhere...take a look in the discography on this site for more about that).
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timshen Offline




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Posted: June 05 2002, 03:33

Thanks Korgscrew for that clarification on the Ommadawn-Amarok connection ;-)



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theweightless Offline




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Posted: July 03 2002, 18:04

cool bits here and there... ???

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ASMK
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