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




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Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 15:24

Quote (scienceguy @ 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? :)

These threads about MOTR being progressive (ah ah) are the funniest I've ever read in a forum.

RIP progressive music.
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Nezzico Offline




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Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 17:08

In my opinion, MOTR is just a beautiful pop-rock album , commercial, easy listening, straightforward - call it what you want, that can not discourage me from loving it . Mike is a man with so many musical faces, now it makes little sense to expect anything specific - whatever we would like to hear now. I think, Mike is moved by his own intentions, and that is the only way it works right.

This time he has risen in the time machine , typed in 1983 and composed songs again , as he has stopped at Moonlight Shadow . But in real life he is now 60 and has left some more experience behind , which he wanted to use in his music. This gives rise to so great songs, like the title track "Man on the Rocks", "Castaway" or "Nuclear". Nuclear is a song, which shows, that the seperation from Fanny must hit him really hard. "Following the Angels" is a counterpoint to that - a lullaby style, like for (his) children - not untypical for Mike - which ends with great emotions again in a wonderful gospel feeling. But just because life has its good sides , I personally like a sunny rollicking song like sailing, we just should feel fun and not think to much in some moments.

"Dreaming in the Wind" is just a dream of a Oldfield-song. The guitar may ride free here again - as well as in many other parts of the album - and that's one of the great strengths of this album.

The songs "Moonshine" and "Minutes" had been unspectacular at first, but it was precisely these tunes I was always humming to myself, again and again. What I like in these two songs is the warmth and harmony they convey.

The collaboration with professional musicians and a good producer has really paid off. And Luke Spiller has the bandwidth of the songs
passed with flying colors. Thank you all for this great, great joy!!!
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GusFogle Offline




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Posted: Mar. 05 2014, 17:51

If Man on the rocks is progressive rock, then Nena's 99 luft ballons is technical death metal.

Note: Listened to the vocal version 3 times so far. My initial impression was that several of the tracks, such as Moonshine, are quite cheesy. I liked that one better the 2nd time around. And the 3rd time through I appreciated a few more of the tracks a little more. Full review to come in the future.
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scienceguy Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 05:24

Quote (knife edge @ Mar. 05 2014, 15:24)
These threads about MOTR being progressive (ah ah) are the funniest I've ever read in a forum.

RIP progressive music.


Quote (Olivier @ Mar. 05 2014, 14:30)
You're a troll or confusing buildup and progressive. At the risk of stating the obvious, totally unrelated: progressive = innovative, buildup = louder and louder


Quote (GusFogle @ Mar. 05 2014, 17:51)
If Man on the rocks is progressive rock, then Nena's 99 luft ballons is technical death metal.


Since I have clearly offended you and other fans of PROGRESSIVE ROCK and other PURELY PROGRESSIVE music and since nobody appears to wish to honour my request to 'agree to disagree', to (hopefully) put an end to the entirely uncalled-for condescending sarcasm (and wholly inappropriate Ad Hominem name-calling), let me clarify matters.

Firstly, to the clearly very passionate fans of PROGRESSIVE ROCK and other PURELY PROGRESSIVE music (who are clearly outraged by my using the word PROGRESSIVE) I apologise if I have caused any offense by describing the INSTRUMENTAL component of MOTR as possessing PROGRESSIVE characteristics (which it does); wherein, this is precisely what I said:

Quote
...the INSTRUMENTAL component comprises the same 'Classic Mike' progressive multilayered instrumental structure as his past purely instrumental albums


So, did I in fact state that I consider INSTRUMENTAL MOTR to be PURELY PROGRESSIVE? NO I did NOT.

I have stated that INSTRUMENTAL MOTR has "the same 'Classic Mike' progressive multilayered instrumental structure as his past purely instrumental albums"

So are Oldfield's past purely instrumental albums ALL PURELY PROGRESSIVE? NO they are NOT. Some are, some aren't, and others are only partially PROGRESSIVE in nature, in that they possess some but not all of the characteristics of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC, as in this particular instance.

Therefore, please kindly note that my perspective is NOT that INSTRUMENTAL MOTR is a PURELY PROGRESSIVE music album. I have never in fact said this.

I repeat, I am NOT stating that INSTRUMENTAL MOTR is a PURELY PROGRESSIVE music album... I AM stating that it possesses some (but not all) of the characteristics of PROGRESSIVE music.

What I have actually done is use the word PROGRESSIVE adjectivally to describe the structure of the INSTRUMENTAL versions of MOTR as being similar to that of 'Classic Mike' INSTRUMENTAL compositions as part of my (continuing) argument why I consider them to be very good indeed in their own right as INSTRUMENTAL music tracks; and why they do not come off as sounding like KARAOKE despite simply having had the VOCAL track muted.

In the spirit of maintaining crystal clarity, the specific characteristics of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC that I consider INSTRUMENTAL MOTR to possess include as follows:

1) Longer songs;

It could be argued that this is applicable to some, but not all of the tracks; however, the fact of the matter is that 7 out of the 11 tracks are between 5 and 7 minutes in length, and this is most certainly significantly longer than the typical vocal Pop/Rock song.

2) Lengthy instrumental passages;

Lengthy instrumental passages are clearly present throughout INSTRUMENTAL MOTR

3) More complex instrumentation.

INSTRUMENTAL MOTR includes a wide array of ‘not-just-typical-band-type’ instruments, including the strange and unusual. This includes: Piano, B-3, Keyboard Synthesizers, Whistles, Violin etc. mixed in with the guitars and drums, thereby contributing to the PROGRESSIVE sound. Note MOONSHINE for example, where this is particularly prominent.

And finally:

4) More complex conceptual ideas.

Note the unusual, clever, but highly effective way in which some of the various instrumental layers are introduced and combine together in extraordinarily effective complexity (as per with many past ‘Classic Mike’ purely Instrumental musical compositions)… take CASTAWAY for example. Note how the INSTRUMENTAL track starts solely with singular strange sound and how it then progresses thereafter, building in complexity in a highly unusual way. Etc. Etc.

So there you have it. INSTRUMENTAL MOTR most certainly possesses no less than 4 out of 6 of the characteristics that define music as being PROGRESSIVE.

Is it PURELY PROGRESSIVE? NO it is NOT. And I have never stated that it is.

Is it NOT PROGRESSIVE in any respect? Again, the answer is NO.

INSTRUMENTAL MOTR possesses some, but not all of the characteristics of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC. 4 out of 6 of the characteristics of PROGRESSIVE MUSIC to be exact.

I hope that clarifies my perspective on this matter for you and why and how I have used the word "PROGRESSIVE" adjectivally to describe INSTRUMENTAL MOTR. :)
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seventeen64 Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 05:29

Listening right now through my first time. If I could place it in feeling to any album out there, it seems as chilled as David Gilmour's On An Island, without the slightly darker/pink floyd overtones.

Not sure on the Luke vocals, but like others here I really like it overall. I think in mikes' back catalogue there was definitely room for something like this. It'd be interesting to see him tackle something as heavy as Linkin Park used to get lol  :D


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TheMann Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 06:15

oh yes!!

How surprised I am, how much better this is than I ever was anticipating!

Don't get me wrong; he wrote some amazing songs in the past. People keep mentioning Moonlight Shadow, which I never liked, although Crisis is a legendary album. I really liked Five Miles Out, Discovery, hated Earth Moving, but loved Heaven's Open. Probably because this is live music, played by excellent musicians. It makes such a difference..

Man On The Rock is wonderful! First of all: it is INSPIRED! Not that tired programmed chill-out we have seen so many times now ... Great playing!

How fresh Moonshine is, I love the drums and base in the second section; MOTR title song is epic. Castaway blows your head off, when Mike delievers his unexpected electric guitar burst; Dreaming in the wind is fantastic, Nuclear is heavy as hell, Chariots too, actually every song is high quality, with the exception of the silly Sailing which I really hate.

It is so telling that Sailing was released first ... it is the world against me, sort of...

Wonderful to see Mike playing in a fresh and inspired way. I actually liked his singing too on the Demo versions, giving the songs a certain Bowie quality ...

A difference between MOTR album and most other MO pop songs is exactly this: it is not pop, and it is darker. I am not saying that this is to be prefered, but it is a difference; compare Nuclear to Innocent, kind of ...


Btw, as a side note, Music of the Spheres is still holding up very well in my opinion (despite its cheezy title); one of his best ever. (Probably my no.1 ever)
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TheMann Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 06:22

The debate on "progressive" is so meaningless here.

The songs on MOTR have a tendency to develop, and there is generally some little breaks and twists that make them less straigthforward than things like "Man In The Rain"...

Progressiv is just a word
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KtheC Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 08:58

Love the instrumental cd, as far as the vocals go, I find that I greatly favor Mike's vocals over Luke's, not that there is anything wrong with Luke's, I just think Mike's style fits the songs better.
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El Mystico Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 11:15

I love the album. I think it is his best for years.
But, no way does it fit with the Wikipedia definition of progressive: "Bands abandoned the short pop single in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz or classical music in an effort to give rock music the same level of musical sophistication and critical respect.[4] Songs were replaced by musical suites that often stretched to 20 or 40 minutes in length and contained symphonic influences, extended musical themes, fantasy-like ambiance and lyrics, and complex orchestrations."
Fine to have different opinions on whether we like it. But I doubt you'll find many arguing this is progressive.
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knife edge Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 13:19

Relistening to the "similar" Earth Moving... I have to admit that the arrangements in EM are a lot more "progressive" sounding than MOTR, and... saying that EM seems progressive compared to MOTR I think I've said all.
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GusFogle Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 13:24

I'll agree with that. While Earth Moving, like Man on the rocks, is still firmly footed in the plastic pop arena, the synth arrangements on Earth Moving ARE a lot more complex than anything on Man on the rocks. "Holy" and "Far Country" are excellent examples.
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scienceguy Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 13:33

Quote (El Mystico @ Mar. 06 2014, 11:15)
...no way does it fit with the Wikipedia definition of progressive: "Bands abandoned the short pop single in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz or classical music in an effort to give rock music the same level of musical sophistication and critical respect.[4] Songs were replaced by musical suites that often stretched to 20 or 40 minutes in length and contained symphonic influences, extended musical themes, fantasy-like ambiance and lyrics, and complex orchestrations."

THAT is the WIKIPEDIA page for PROGRESSIVE ROCK, which I have NOT at any point whatsoever been talking about.  ;)

MOTR is not PROGRESSIVE ROCK and I have never stated it is.

Quote (knife edge @ Mar. 06 2014, 13:19)
Relistening to the "similar" Earth Moving... I have to admit that the arrangements in EM are a lot more "progressive" sounding than MOTR, and... saying that EM seems progressive compared to MOTR I think I've said all.

I am not saying it is PROGRESSIVE ROCK or any other type of PURELY PROGRESSIVE music... I am saying that the progressive elements (of which there are only a few, as you have astutely observed) are the reason why many of the INSTRUMENTAL MOTR tracks do not sound like KARAOKE but work very well in their own right as INSTRUMENTAL tracks... THAT is the point, and the ONLY point that I have been and am trying to make :)

That said, this particular point pales in significance as compared with the ABYSMAL MASTERING issue that MOTR suffers from, so it has kind of become a non-issue anyway... ;)
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knife edge Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 13:44

Quote (scienceguy @ Mar. 06 2014, 13:33)
That said, this particular point pales in significance as compared with the ABYSMAL MASTERING issue that MOTR suffers from, so it has kind of become a non-issue anyway... ;)

I agree completely.  :)
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equinoxe Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 14:55

I think none of the tracks on Man On The Rocks can be considered as progressive rock at all. This album is just soft rock with some harder tunes. Taurus 2 is a good example of progressive rock but not MoTR, not Castaway (however this is the track i like most from the new album). If you want to listen to progressive rock, listen to King Crimson and albums like Lark's Tongues In Aspic or Red. :)
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El Mystico Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 15:52

Be fair; as he's pointed out, he isn't talking about Prog rock. I'd misunderstood. He's saying the instrumental component is 'progressive'. He then defines progressive as 1) Longer songs;Lengthy instrumental passages;3) More complex instrumentation. 4) More complex conceptual ideas.

Now, frankly I've heard Fleetwood Mac songs with lengthy instrumental passages and more complex instrumentation, so still would disagree. But compared with, say, Spice girls, yes, it is more complex.

But his key point is that the instrumental CD is more than karaoke - it is sufficiently interesting and rich to be worth listening to in its own right. And that's a valid opinion.
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Blind Faith Offline




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Posted: Mar. 06 2014, 20:02

This album is very pleasant to listen to. This is not an expert opinion. I just finished a run of the vinyl. Sounds very good.

From my point of view, a man of our age and that rich is very happy to do what pleases him. It sounds and looks like he is having a lot of fun doing it.

:p
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equinoxe Offline




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Posted: Mar. 07 2014, 02:14

Quote (El Mystico @ Mar. 06 2014, 15:52)
Be fair; as he's pointed out, he isn't talking about Prog rock. I'd misunderstood. He's saying the instrumental component is 'progressive'. He then defines progressive as 1) Longer songs;Lengthy instrumental passages;3) More complex instrumentation. 4) More complex conceptual ideas.

Now, frankly I've heard Fleetwood Mac songs with lengthy instrumental passages and more complex instrumentation, so still would disagree. But compared with, say, Spice girls, yes, it is more complex.

But his key point is that the instrumental CD is more than karaoke - it is sufficiently interesting and rich to be worth listening to in its own right. And that's a valid opinion.

Yes! It's all about relativeness and comparing, when we walk away from rigid terms. When you compare Castaway to Lark's Tongues In Aspic it's not progressive at all, but when you're comparing it to the Spice Girls, then...yes it's more progressive than Spice Girls. And in all the respect, i really like new Mike's album. It's just that, this album doesn't need to be "progressive" music so i could like it. I think, Mike's music is not the matter of "progressivity degree" but the emotions getting from his guitar playing and composing. He is capable of making simple tracks, which are sounds very complex, but it's like a combination of anger mixed with romantic tranquility at the same time, an ambivalence which makes his music so emotional and beautiful.

Backing to MoTR, i like much more the instrumental disc, because the sound just flowing around, non disturbed by modern vocalist. It's remaind me more of the old Mike Oldfield music, something like short instrumentals connected into one longer instrumental piece, so i like to listen to it in this way.
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Tati The Sentinel Offline




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Posted: Mar. 07 2014, 06:31

Quote (El Mystico @ Mar. 06 2014, 19:52)
He then defines progressive as 1) Longer songs;Lengthy instrumental passages;3) More complex instrumentation. 4) More complex conceptual ideas.

If you listen to some of the stuff Prog Magazine (formerly Classic Rock presents Prog) say it's progressive from the new bands out there...they don't fit in the description at all.

I'm still listening to MOTR to write a proper review. Defo not a prog rock album,nor even progressive pop (e.g. The Alan Parsons Project or Supertramp's work; Alan himself did consider the APP is progressive pop). In my view it's AOR/MOR well-crafted pop-rock - I've been enjoying it a lot,especially the demos due to their very personal lyrics nature.


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"But it's always the outsider, the black sheep, that becomes the blockbuster." - Mike Oldfield, 2014

"I remember feeling that I'd been judged unfairly and that I was going to prove them wrong." - Peter Davison, 2011
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Tati The Sentinel Offline




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Posted: Mar. 07 2014, 06:44

Quote (KtheC @ Mar. 06 2014, 12:58)
Love the instrumental cd, as far as the vocals go, I find that I greatly favor Mike's vocals over Luke's, not that there is anything wrong with Luke's, I just think Mike's style fits the songs better.

Sailing's demo is so Amber Leaf-turbocharged - his voice oscillates between his normal speaking voice and his singing voice too much for my taste.

On the other hand...Castaway,Dreaming in the Wind and Chariots (this one is a winner - the song about his divorce) are top class on his singing skills  :cool:


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"But it's always the outsider, the black sheep, that becomes the blockbuster." - Mike Oldfield, 2014

"I remember feeling that I'd been judged unfairly and that I was going to prove them wrong." - Peter Davison, 2011
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Platinumpty Offline




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Posted: Mar. 07 2014, 08:12

I think the album's a real grower.  It's simplicity is often its strength and I'm giving it a week or so before I post a review in order to let the songs "settle".  

For now though, I'd say it's an album that show's MO coming back to musical life, a transitional record between what came before and what's to come.  

Don't expect miracles and epic transcendance - it's more of a bubble bath for the ears.
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