Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

Pages: (6) < [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... >

[ Track this topic :: Email this topic :: Print this topic ]

Topic: REVIEWS of Man On The Rocks, Post your review and/or read others here< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
scienceguy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 55
Joined: Aug. 2012
Posted: Mar. 04 2014, 07:08

I thought it would be a nice idea to start a thread wherein everyone can post their reviews of Man On The Rocks and/or read other peoples' reviews.  :)  

To get the ball rolling, here's my review: ;)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Buy The DELUXE EDITION for the INSTRUMENTAL VERSIONS!

INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM: 5 STARS!

VOCAL ALBUM: 3 STARS

If like me you are a die-hard fan of Mike Oldfield you will probably favour his instrumental compositions more than his vocal tracks, which to date (thankfully) have typically been limited to few and far between.  

Without a doubt Oldfield’s primary talent lies within his unrivalled ability to compose absolutely amazing complex, multi-layered, progressive instrumental compositions; wherein, he is akin to a modern day Mozart.

Mike’s sporadic attempts at vocal songs over the years have misfired more often than not. The reason being that in most cases (with the odd rare exception) the vocal quite simply does not work very well and in fact is distracting to the extent that it significantly lessens the wonderful immersiveness of Oldfield’s music.

So I was very dubious indeed when it was announced that this album would comprise purely vocal songs… Could it be that in this instance the vocals might work and not prove to be such a distraction? Unfortunately, in my opinion, the answer is NO. As previously, I find that the vocals significantly lessen the wonderful immersiveness of Oldfield’s music. So, as far as the VOCAL ALBUM goes it is a disappointed 3 OUT OF 5 STARS from me.

That said, THANK YOU CAROLINE MONK (and of course Mike) for ingeniously deciding to release a DELUXE VERSION with a SECOND CD comprising ALL OF THE SONGS AS PURELY INSTRUMENTAL TRACKS!

The INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM is absolutely AMAZING!!!

I repeat… The INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM is absolutely AMAZING!!!

Personally I am of the view that without exception all of the tracks on this album sound much, much better without the vocals. In fact, I rate the Man On The Rocks INSTRUMENTAL Album to be 5 OUT OF 5 STARS (with the VOCAL album scoring 3 STARS).

In my opinion, the Man On The Rocks INSTRUMENTAL Album is as good as The Songs Of Distant Earth, which many (including me) have considered to be Mike’s best work of the past 20 years. No kidding! The Man On The Rocks INSTRUMENTAL Album really is THAT GOOD! There is not a single bad track on the album (how many other music artists can you say that about?); and as with The Songs Of Distant Earth the best way to listen to it is to sit down, relax and simply play the whole album from start to finish.

Without a doubt, Oldfield is back on top form. The Man On The Rocks INSTRUMENTAL Album is Oldfield at his best.

So, if like me your preference is ‘Classic Oldfield’ you should most definitely buy the DELUXE EDITION and listen to the INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM on CD NUMBER 2.

Hell, even if your preference isn’t ‘Classic Oldfield’ you should STILL definitely buy the DELUXE EDITION and listen to the INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM on CD NUMBER 2.

That is where the real treasure lies!

In my opinion, without a doubt the INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM is far, far superior to the VOCAL ALBUM. The absence of vocals allows Mike’s music to fully shine in all its majesty. It is absolutely AMAZING.

I am very much hoping that with what will indubitably be an extremely positive response to Man On The Rocks that Mike will decide to compose more new albums; wherein, I would ask (pretty pretty please with a cherry on top) that purely INSTRUMENTAL VERSIONS of all the new tracks be included again (if they are not instrumental already) even if included as a SECOND CD as part of a DELUXE EDITION as it was here.

Well done Mike! Absolutely fantastic work!
Back to top
Profile PM 
Navaira Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 481
Joined: Jan. 2005
Posted: Mar. 04 2014, 13:00

http://www.thesevenincher.com/?review=mike-oldfield-man-on-the-rocks

Mike Oldfield doesn’t have to make music. It is a known fact that he is beyond rich; it is proven once again by the lyrics of his latest album, Man On The Rocks. It is also known that it was Virgin Records that made him produce pop songs to please the radio rather than “passé” long instrumentals. So why is his first record in six years an album of eleven songs?

Oldfield is clearly feeling he has something to say here. It is, however, sometimes hard to say why that is, and what exactly does he want to tell us. While “Sailing” is a plain lovely ode to the joys of, well, sailing (as a non-millionaire I don’t have a private yacht, so I’ll take his word for it) and “Moonshine” is just a gorgeous, nostalgic song for the friends some of whom — like Kevin Ayers — are now gone, some plainly hurt. “Irene” — a song about the hurricane — is a rather oddly major key bluesy song that informs us “she’s comin’, we’re runnin’! she’ll wreck ya, and you betcha” Is this really the best he could come up with when describing a natural disaster that killed at least 44 people?

Luke Spiller, who is a singer for an up-and-coming band called The Struts, provides vocals on all of the songs. This, unfortunately, is not a good thing. While Spiller is a great vocalist, Oldfield’s songs end up sounding somewhat same-y when sung by only one singer. Albums like Discovery, Crises or Earthmoving greatly benefited from having more vocalists involved. It is also quite odd at times to hear a voice of an obviously young man singing lyrics very clearly written from the point of view of a 60-year-old — “Moonshine” being a good example. The result is sometimes unsettling to the point of mild irritation, although I can’t really clearly point a single reason as to why that is.

The production and playing on the album, on the other hand, is stellar — as evidenced, especially, on the instrumental version (available as disc 2 of the deluxe edition). It is the instrumental disc that is the ultimate selling point here. Oddly enough for a record conceived as a full vocal effort, vocals seem to distract from the songs rather than enrich them; lyrics, which fall on the wrong side of amazing, distract from the fantastic guitar playing. On the instrumental disc it is truly Oldfield that shines. With a few exceptions (“Minutes”) the songs sound complete enough without somebody singing on top of them. In a way, the difference between the two discs serves as an additional explanation of the title.

Apparently Mike is already working on a long instrumental piece as his next release. I must say that Man On The Rocks hasn’t quite satisfied my appetite for new Oldfield music, but it has definitely made me curious what is there left in maestro’s big bag of secrets. While his quality control might seem a bit weaker after those six years, his playing and ear for catchy tune hasn’t gone anywhere.

The final score is 3/5 — that would be 2.5/5 for the “actual” album and 4/5 for the instrumental versions.


--------------
http://www.raygrant.com :: My album 'Exorcism' is out on iTunes now
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Bell Boy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 108
Joined: June 2009
Posted: Mar. 04 2014, 16:12

Not for me.....

30 years a fan.....

Ive never had to fight so hard to keep away from the STOP button......

The album is back its case and will never be played again…..
best forgotten.
Back to top
Profile PM 
TOBY Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 1557
Joined: May 2002
Posted: Mar. 04 2014, 16:33

After another play through I think sadly I won't find much reason to play it again. Although I will give the instrumental versions a dabble. Haven't listened to them yet. Its not that its an awful album, I can see why people might like it, but this sort of AOR/MOR just isn't for me these days at all. If it was just slightly more gritty or edgy or experimental rock then I think I'd probably like it more, to be fair though I wasn't expecting it to be. Its just very by the numbers soft rock. I agree there's something slightly over the top about Luke Spiller's vocals, they're a bit over performed and generally generic. I didn't buy the version that has Mike singing, I'd be quite interested to hear it, just to see if it makes any difference. I'll see if it appears on Spotify.
Back to top
Profile PM 
InsideOfYou Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 33
Joined: July 2010
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 02:12

I got it today, on vinyl. Very pleased with the album! Fine, melodic songs with an uplifting sunny vibe, some deep issues sensitively explored but not bleak or depressing...Luke Spiller does a great job on vocals, Stephen Lipson's production is just right, with nods to Tom Petty, U2 and Queen keeping it highly accessible yet there is plenty of Mike's signature and authority across the album.

I'm finding it hard to dislike - aside from Amarok, this is currently my favourite Oldfield album since 1984's Discovery. I give it a 8/10 (Amarok is obviously in a different league, and a straight 10). Nice one Mike!

Haven't heard or got the instrumental versions yet.

Vinyl Pic
Back to top
Profile PM 
lordlucan Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 20
Joined: Dec. 2002
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 02:53

Quote (TOBY @ Mar. 04 2014, 16:33)
After another play through I think sadly I won't find much reason to play it again. Although I will give the instrumental versions a dabble. Haven't listened to them yet. Its not that its an awful album, I can see why people might like it, but this sort of AOR/MOR just isn't for me these days at all. If it was just slightly more gritty or edgy or experimental rock then I think I'd probably like it more, to be fair though I wasn't expecting it to be. Its just very by the numbers soft rock. I agree there's something slightly over the top about Luke Spiller's vocals, they're a bit over performed and generally generic. I didn't buy the version that has Mike singing, I'd be quite interested to hear it, just to see if it makes any difference. I'll see if it appears on Spotify.

Some of the demos are better, I think.  I much prefer the way Oldfield sings "Nuclear", while Spiller is vastly superior on "Sailing".
Back to top
Profile PM 
scienceguy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 55
Joined: Aug. 2012
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 03:54

Quote
Not for me.....

30 years a fan.....

Ive never had to fight so hard to keep away from the STOP button......

The album is back its case and will never be played again…..
best forgotten.


Quote
After another play through I think sadly I won't find much reason to play it again. Although I will give the instrumental versions a dabble. Haven't listened to them yet...


Quote
Haven't heard or got the instrumental versions yet...


I strongly recommend that you check out the INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM on CD2 of the DELUXE EDITION. ;)

IMO it is much, much better than the VOCAL ALBUM… the VOCALS are both distracting to the extent that they significantly lessen the wonderful immersiveness of Oldfield's music, and they add far too much repetition of the primary melodies. In my opinion, this adds a HIGHLY REPETITIVE (and hence pretty annoying) quality to the music tracks that is quite simply absent with the INSTRUMENTAL versions.

Without the VOCALS all the tracks sound very different indeed… the INSTRUMENTAL component comprises the same 'Classic Mike' progressive multilayered instrumental structure as his past purely instrumental albums; and when the VOCAL is removed this allows Mike’s incredible instrumental music to shine in all its majesty, unimpeded by the highly repetitive and distracting VOCAL track.

MOONSHINE in particular stands out as being significantly better without the vocals. In fact, ALL the tracks sound significantly better without the vocals!

Personally, I find the INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM to be absolutely amazing and as good as The Songs Of Distant Earth, which I consider to be Mike's best work of the past 20 years.

As with that particular Magnum Opus, IMO absolutely the best way to listen to the Man On The Rocks INSTRUMENTAL Album is to sit down, relax and simply listen to the whole album from start to finish… Try it, you won’t regret it… It's a completely different experience as compared with listening to the VOCAL ALBUM... It's AMAZING! ;-D

This is why the VOCAL Album (CD1) has been permanently exiled to my cupboard, where it will reside gathering dust indefinitely. Whereas, I am going to go and play the whole INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM (CD2 of the DELUXE EDITION) again right now… It’s FANTASTIC!  :)
Back to top
Profile PM 
Priabonia Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 201
Joined: July 2011
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 04:29

Quote (Bell Boy @ Mar. 04 2014, 21:12)
Not for me.....

30 years a fan.....

Ive never had to fight so hard to keep away from the STOP button......

The album is back its case and will never be played again…..
best forgotten.

Sadly that sums up my reaction to virtually every album after QE2...

--------------
https://www.youtube.com/user/PriaboniaMusic

www.soundcloud.com/just-before-dawn
Back to top
Profile PM 
Bell Boy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 108
Joined: June 2009
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 04:34

I forced a 2nd play out of loyalty and yes….
Its the vocal that is the problem.
The vocal is what will connect us to the music…. and its down to taste.
In a indie pop band Luke would be great, but singing this NO!!!!
A moustache on the Mona Lisa…>!!!!!!

We should all realise how good Maggie Reilly was and important a part in MO song based music…..
That velvet emotional tone… that is what is lacking.
I would pay good money to hear her sing these songs…
We would all be hailing this as a great album….
NOt embarrassingly putting the album away to forgot it…..

Shame…..but nice to see that Mike can still play though.

P>S!
At 4.15 on song 4 there is a horrid edit/timing issue..between the guitar and snare….OUUUCHH!!!!
Back to top
Profile PM 
mikeythewaterboy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar. 2009
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 05:15

Actually very pleasantly surprised at how much I'm enjoying this album.
Yes the instrumentals are excellent! But I may be in minority that I prefer the vocal versions. Never going to be a classic, but a perfectly good soft rock album.
Good album for listening to whilst driving!
Back to top
Profile PM 
cAveMan Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 53
Joined: Sep. 2005
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 05:39

For people who praise "instrumentals" so much ... those are not even instrumentals. They're the same as regular tracks, but with vocals muted. They're basically karaoke tracks...actually that's exactly what they are.

Anyhow, since I'm already here I'd like to post my order of tracks from best to worst:

1. Dreaming in the wind
2. Castaway
3. Nuclear
4. Chariots
5. Man on the Rocks
6. Irene
7. Moonshine
8. Sailing
9. Minutes
10. I give myself away
---
356648. Following the Angles - wtf is that
Back to top
Profile PM 
scienceguy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 55
Joined: Aug. 2012
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 07:50

Quote (cAveMan @ Mar. 05 2014, 05:39)

Quote
For people who praise "instrumentals" so much ... those are not even instrumentals. They're the same as regular tracks, but with vocals muted. They're basically karaoke tracks...actually that's exactly what they are.


Sorry, but yes, they are indeed (by definition) INSTRUMENTAL tracks; and personally I am of the view that no they do NOT in fact sound like KARAOKE tracks ;)

IMO they work excellently in their own right as progressive instrumental tracks without sounding like KARAOKE... IMO this is because the instrumental base comprises multilayered progressive instrumental music with similar structure as past purely instrumental (Classic Mike) tracks, within which the primary melody is included INSTRUMENTALLY. Whereas, with KARAOKE the primary melody (as provided by the VOCAL component) is typically missing completely. ;)

Personally I am of the view that with the VOCAL versions the vocal track adds more of the primary melody on top of the already richly layered progressive INSTRUMENTAL component, not only right from the start of the track, but also repeated again and again (and again) throughout the track... In my opinion, this results in there being far too much repetition of the primary melody to the extent that it
becomes annoying, destroys the progressive nature of the instrumental component; and consequently the track sounds considerably better without it.

Personally, I think the INSTRUMENTAL Album sounds amazing! Of course this is just my opinion, so if you don't share the same view then let's agree to disagree? :)
Back to top
Profile PM 
GusFogle Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 196
Joined: July 2011
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 10:35

I think its a slippery slope defining the music on this album as "progressive" just because it has a few overdubbed keyboard/rhythm guitar melodies. Harmonically the album is not progressive at all. Progressive means making progress right? Pushing the boundaries, paving new territory? I'm not hearing anything like that so far.

By the way, that wasn't a criticism, just an observation. My review is still forthcoming. I am forcing myself to listen to the album 5 times all the way through before deciding how I feel. Maybe the 5th time I'll hear the "progressiveness" of it  :p
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Covenant Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 117
Joined: Jan. 2009
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 11:25

To all who have a problem with Luke's vocals not fitting the 'feel' of the intention of the words.

Get the demo versions.
Mike's vocals are a little rough on some, but for the most part I personally think there was no real need to have them re-recorded. With a little work and production they could have stood by themselves... for the most part.

Now - that said - I really like Luke Spiller's voice (damn him! ) with NO word of hype he has the same timbre and certain vocalisations that are exactly like mid 70's Freddie Mercury. (It may be deliberate, but my word it WORKS! )

If there is any justice, The Struts will make it big, the man can sing... that cannot be denied.
Back to top
Profile PM 
scienceguy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 55
Joined: Aug. 2012
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 11:45

Quote (GusFogle @ Mar. 05 2014, 10:35)
I think its a slippery slope defining the music on this album as "progressive" ... Maybe the 5th time I'll hear the "progressiveness" of it  :p

The music and melody evolves and builds with ever increasing multilayered complexity as the track progresses = PROGRESSIVE  ;)

Hell, for most tracks the primary melody does not even appear until far into the track!

Take the INSTRUMENTAL version of CASTAWAY for example... This is a perfect example of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC... See how the track starts, where it is mid-way and where it ends up... are you seriously telling me you cannot see how it is PROGRESSIVE? :O
Back to top
Profile PM 
GusFogle Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 196
Joined: July 2011
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 12:35

Maybe we just have differing views on what constitutes "multi-layered complexity". I am getting really reminded of "the Emperor's new clothes" here.

It is great that you are able to enjoy the music so much. I'm just not hearing these progressive aspects.

Close to the edge by Yes? That's progressive. Karn Evil 9 Impression 2 by ELP? That's progressive. Amarok by Mike Oldfield? yep, its progressive in many respects. I just don't see where Man on the rocks sits among the likes of those.
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Kevy Canavan Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar. 2014
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 13:17

Hi.
I'm a long time reader, but this is my first post.


I'd definitely agree that much of this album stands up better without the vocal. Some of it even sounds as if it was convieved as an instrumental album, and the vocals were added later.
This is not however true of the track sailing, which I think would have worked as the only vocal track on the album (much like man in the rain)

There's perhaps another couple which might have worked better with another vocalist, perhaps Jon Anderson

Irene could have been left off altogether, it's fairly weak

I intend to make my own mix tape of the album, consisting the definitive versions from the three discs.

All in all, not a bad album, but not a great one, or one that seems completely thought through - but isn't that exactly what we've come to expect from Oldfield. He's always been off kilter

Hopefully his next album will be a long instrumental piece like Amarok, Ommadawn and Tubular Bells.


--------------
Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Bass & Keys on Tom Newman's TB with the Children of Ireland. (Piltdown man section)
Back to top
Profile PM 
knife edge Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 77
Joined: May 2003
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 13:27

Quote (scienceguy @ Mar. 05 2014, 11:45)
Quote (GusFogle @ Mar. 05 2014, 10:35)
I think its a slippery slope defining the music on this album as "progressive" ... Maybe the 5th time I'll hear the "progressiveness" of it  :p

The music and melody evolves and builds with ever increasing multilayered complexity as the track progresses = PROGRESSIVE  ;)

Hell, for most tracks the primary melody does not even appear until far into the track!

Take the INSTRUMENTAL version of CASTAWAY for example... This is a perfect example of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC... See how the track starts, where it is mid-way and where it ends up... are you seriously telling me you cannot see how it is PROGRESSIVE? :O

Sorry man, but you don't know what means and what is progressive music.

Try to listen to Yes, ELP, Genesis, King Crimson and others.

This is not progressive music, this is just well played base rock-pop tracks without vocals and melody line.
Back to top
Profile PM 
Olivier Offline




Group: Super Admins
Posts: 1849
Joined: Nov. 1999
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 14:01

Quote (scienceguy @ Mar. 05 2014, 08:45)
Quote (GusFogle @ Mar. 05 2014, 10:35)
I think its a slippery slope defining the music on this album as "progressive" ... Maybe the 5th time I'll hear the "progressiveness" of it  :p

The music and melody evolves and builds with ever increasing multilayered complexity as the track progresses = PROGRESSIVE  ;)

Hell, for most tracks the primary melody does not even appear until far into the track!

Take the INSTRUMENTAL version of CASTAWAY for example... This is a perfect example of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC... See how the track starts, where it is mid-way and where it ends up... are you seriously telling me you cannot see how it is PROGRESSIVE? :O

You're a troll or confusing buildup and progressive. At the risk of stating the obvious, totally unrelated: progressive = innovative, buildup = louder and louder
Back to top
Profile PM 
scienceguy Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 55
Joined: Aug. 2012
Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 14:30

Quote (Olivier @ Mar. 05 2014, 14:01)
You're a troll or confusing buildup and progressive. At the risk of stating the obvious, totally unrelated: progressive = innovative, buildup = louder and louder

Excuse me? How in what universe does my arguing that the album is absolutely brilliant define me as being a troll???

I think Mike's new album is absolutely brilliant. You don't? Well good luck with that, but my arguing that the album is absolutely brilliant most certainly does not make me a troll. Does it?

I guess my understanding of the definition of TROLL differs from yours just as much as my understanding of the definition of PROGRESSIVE ;)

Personally, I consider PROGRESSIVE music to incorporate a positive evolution of the music which may or may not involve BUILDUP... so NO I am NOT confusing it with BUILDUP.

Let's agree to disagree OK? :)
Back to top
Profile PM 
100 replies since Mar. 04 2014, 07:08 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track this topic :: Email this topic :: Print this topic ]

Pages: (6) < [1] 2 3 4 5 6 ... >






Forums | Links | Instruments | Discography | Tours | Articles | FAQ | Artwork | Wallpapers
Biography | Gallery | Videos | MIDI / Ringtones | Tabs | Lyrics | Books | Sitemap | Contact

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net