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Topic: Expectation vs Reality< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
lordlucan Offline




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Posted: Jan. 20 2017, 08:30

Expectation:  Return To Ommadawn will be the best thing Mike Oldfield has done since Amarok.

Reality:  Return To Ommadawn is the best thing Mike Oldfield has done since Amarok!

Oh yeah!  I am quite possibly the least disappointed human being alive right now!  This album is fantastic!
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Thulagaari Offline




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Posted: Jan. 20 2017, 08:59

I everyone

I have just returned from a beautiful walk in the English countryside whilst listening to Return To Ommadawn for the very first time on my headphones.
Wow!
What can I say to you!
Firstly the setting was perfect. It’s a very beautiful winter’s day here with frost and blue skies and bright sunshine.
I walked across the rolling Cotswolds hills with fine views across in the distance to the welsh borders where many years ago Mike Oldfield lived at The Beacon and recorded the first Ommadawn and in another direction I can see the tiny village of Througham Slad where he then moved to record Incantations.

So this was the perfect place with the perfect weather to listen to the new album.

What can I say about this album- its perfect too!

There are parts that took me back to the day I first heard Ommadawn in 1975 and hints of Voyager, Amarok and Hergest Ridge too.
But this is no remake, it’s a brilliant fresh composition which after one listen has me totally hooked.
It’s one listen and I love it particularly part 2 which is breathtakingly beautiful just like the view itself from where I have walked.

Enjoy this incredible album everyone and congratulations Mike on such a wonderful record.

Best Wishes

Adrian
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Beaconman Offline




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Posted: Jan. 20 2017, 16:59

Expectation was extremely high here, with a touch of trepidation..I really wanted Mike to shine and didn't really know if it would cut it.
Reality is I'm really impressed. It's a beautiful, simple, well crafted work of Oldfield magic.
Played on my Bose sound system in its spiritual home here at the Beacon whilst looking out over Hergest Ridge, what can i say...... Bravo Mike
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originalbob Offline




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Posted: Jan. 24 2017, 14:08

Really not quite sure to make of this one as yet on the first listen. Certainly nowhere as powerful as the original version or the 'lost' version. It seems to be a mishmash of elements left over from  Tres Lunas, Amarok and other bits which I can's quite identify as yet?

A new Mike Oldfield album? Yes. Always welcome. Originality and showing the inventiveness of the early albums? I'll reserve judgement for the time being.
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originalbob Offline




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Posted: Jan. 24 2017, 14:12

Oh, and a very anti-climactic ending to Part One- what on earth was he thinking of?
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knife edge Offline




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Posted: Jan. 25 2017, 07:10

Quote (originalbob @ Jan. 24 2017, 14:12)
Oh, and a very anti-climactic ending to Part One- what on earth was he thinking of?

Probably the same thing he was thinking when ending Ommadawn Pt1 the Lost Version.
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qjamesfloyd Offline




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Posted: Jan. 25 2017, 09:40

Why does the ending have to have a climax? if Mike thought it should end with one, he would have done that, as it doesn't end with one, Mike has done it correctly.

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hellegennes Offline




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Posted: Jan. 27 2017, 21:10

Quote (knife edge @ Jan. 25 2017, 07:10)
Quote (originalbob @ Jan. 24 2017, 14:12)
Oh, and a very anti-climactic ending to Part One- what on earth was he thinking of?

Probably the same thing he was thinking when ending Ommadawn Pt1 the Lost Version.

Actually, the ending of Part One plays a lot like the ending of that first version of the original Ommadawn's Part One (except for the conversation bit, of course). It's like Mike wanted this time to go ahead with what he had originally in mind for the ending of Part One of Ommadawn.
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TubularUSA Offline




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Posted: Jan. 31 2017, 15:34

My copy just arrived to the U.S. on 2/28 and listened to it for the first time today.  I've had similar first thoughts as were mentioned in this thread.  Some of the music made me think of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, Voyager, and definitely Amarok.  And this is all in a good way, as there is nothing recycled.

I would go so far as to say I actually enjoyed the album more than Ommadawn.  It's not chillout music, but it's more palatable to the senses.  There is nothing Mike could have done better on this album IMO.  I felt like I was listening to an album created to be released with his other masterpieces in the 1970's, aside from this being of higher fidelity from a modern production.

My ears have not been able to pick out a memorable "jingle" to hum like some of his other works yet, but I'm hoping that will change with more listens. I'm very pleased with this album.  The instruments sound great.

- BTW I'm relieved there are many positive reviews in here, aside from the expected naysayers
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The_Islander Offline




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Posted: Jan. 31 2017, 19:14

I remember the original Ommadawn in 1975. This is a excellent album.
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drewdale Offline




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Posted: Feb. 07 2017, 16:30

A fantastic Album. And IMO the best work since TBIII. Certainly the best album MO has done for an age. For many years Ommadawn has been up there as one of my favorite MO albums (along with Hergest Ridge, Incantations & Amarok) This album marks a welcome return to form and I hope he continues to create albums consisting of Two tracks. It would be great if MO was to revisit Hergest Ridge in the near future and perhaps even Side One of crises spread over two parts. Now that would be awesome.
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Craig Evans Offline




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Posted: Feb. 15 2017, 04:45

I am very pleased to say that Return To Ommadawn is musically, Mike's best album since Amarok and at least up there with the big 5 of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, Incantations and Amarok.  However I am a bit disappointed that all of the electronic organ and synth sounds are VST software emulations.  When I saw the original instrument list back in 2016 I was hoping that Mike had returned to using the classic analog organs and analog synths of the 60s and 70s. I guess Mike really has abandoned analog synths and organs for good.

On the other hand I am also very pleased to hear a new SG guitar which until hadn't been heard since the "Lion Reprise" bit of Amarok in 1990.  Mike's trusty PRS guitar has also returned after having last been heard on 2005s Light and Shade!  :)


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Marky Offline




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Posted: Feb. 15 2017, 16:06

Quote (originalbob @ Jan. 24 2017, 14:08)
Really not quite sure to make of this one as yet on the first listen. Certainly nowhere as powerful as the original version or the 'lost' version. It seems to be a mishmash of elements left over from  Tres Lunas, Amarok and other bits which I can's quite identify as yet?

A new Mike Oldfield album? Yes. Always welcome. Originality and showing the inventiveness of the early albums? I'll reserve judgement for the time being.

Really not quite sure to make of this one as yet on the first listen.

Nothing. Make nothing of it on first listen. Don't review any of Mike's work on first listen. If I did that, I may as well like anybody else.
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Priabonia Offline




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Posted: Feb. 19 2017, 07:03

Someone has finally ripped this on to Youtube, so I can give it a listen (and before I can be accused of "stealing", I've bought Mike's first few albums at least three times - vinyl, original CD and remasters) and Incantations even more...the original with shortened Part Three, the revised complete, the remaster...so I am far from feeling guilty). Anyway, I digress...

...I am typing as I am listening, halfway through Part Two, and frankly this album is an embarrassment, such embarrassment compound by the title, as it bears little comparison with the original album apart from some instrumentation and

[aaagh, the Michael Flatley bit has just come on!]

snippets from the original shoehorned in to give it some legitimacy. No structure, no development, no soaring heights, no emotional depths. Trite mandolins, badly played penny whistles, the simplest of tunes (just simple, without the charm of the "simple" tunes on the original, and the same old same old guitar solos that could have been cut and pasted from any of the last ten albums. It sounds like a middlingly competent tribute from someone from the Facebook tribute page.

Just about to listen to Part One (I clicked on Two first), so will be back if my opinion changes.


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Priabonia Offline




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Posted: Feb. 19 2017, 08:01

Nope, nothing to add...off to listen to some Rob Reed instead

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TOBY Offline




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Posted: Feb. 20 2017, 16:20

Hideo Kojima is evidently a bit of a fan of Mike's. I don't know why I find that so wonderfully bonkers, but I do for some reason. Finding that out has really made my day.


https://twitter.com/hideo_kojima_en/status/833239052241350656
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First_Excursion Offline




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Posted: Feb. 21 2017, 02:27

Quote (Priabonia @ Feb. 19 2017, 07:03)
...frankly this album is an embarrassment... same old guitar solos that could have been cut and pasted from any of the last ten albums.

Yeah the expectation was low. The reality was predictably underwhelming. In fact more so given the hype about Mike back to roots and basics and revisiting the approach he abandoned a very long time ago.

I don't mean to be such a bitch but Mike did set a very high standard once upon a time and as much as I'd love to; I can't pretend that this comes anywhere near close to that standard.

The whole thing sounds like there was more urgency about getting it to completion than there was focus on returning to a more contemplative and playful mindset. Like it's just going through the same motions that have become habit since around TBII, rather than bravely and indifferently exploring new ground. I was surprised how soon after Mike announced his plans that he announced it was finished. That didn't bode well already.

Perhaps there was a big high for Mike in all the social media attention he received after the MotR release and it left him craving more of that. Certainly in the past he was much more aloof. He didn't seem to give a rat's arse about attention from the fans. I'm sure some of you remember Tom Newman's disappointment when Mike wouldn't drag himself away from the pub to attend a nearby convention.

It used to be for Mike, much more about creating great, really original music than stardom and chart position. Sigh. Not everyone ages gracefully.
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Priabonia Offline




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Posted: Feb. 21 2017, 04:31

Harsh (but fair!) review by Darren Lock here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naIye0nQB5o

Can't disagree with much of that...


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hellegennes Offline




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Posted: Feb. 21 2017, 07:33

Mike once said that he considered Amarok early on as a successor to Ommadawn but it's nothing like it. I can't see how anyone can view Amarok as being remotely connected to Ommadawn.

Also, criticism that starts with "Didn't like the cover" can't be a serious review of anything (be it books, movies, music). I feel that it suits the music perfectly, but don't care at the same time.

I think that a lot of this is due to nostalgia goggles. I don't see him making any musically valid point. RTO is quite similar in form to Ommadawn and it holds very well as a unit. The themes build up and are reused in variations throughout the album the same way as in Ommadawn. The two parts of RTO seem much more of a unit than the two parts of Ommadawn.

The only valid criticism is that it's true that it's under-produced, but that's what Mike wanted himself. He wanted a more deconstructed form, much more free, nonchalant, rough.

And enough with the complaints about the nylon guitars and the screeching sounds. Has no one ever listened to Amarok?
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qjamesfloyd Offline




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Posted: Feb. 22 2017, 04:14

It seems to me that a lot of the negative comments are coming from Mike's fans, reading tweets, etc of people not on fan sites, and they are really loving this album, so the question is, as hard core fans, are we expecting to much from Mike and just not listening to the album as if it was the first time you heard any of his music? I am still loving this album :)

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