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Topic: Voyager - the anti intellectual album< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Jesse Offline




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Posted: Aug. 26 2007, 09:34

This might well be the case...
I read so many reviews stating that too little happens to catch the listener's attention. Other's comment Mike wasn't pushing himself.

Having listened to it a lot, I can only say that appearently some people fail to listen or apreciate atmosphere. Flowers of the Forest....that is a tune that sounds to me as if it came straight from Heaven. Ofcourse, Mike didn't compose that one himself ;)

but still..the whole album is about atmosphere. And i'm not talking new age atmosphere (the sort that just is annoyingly trying to sooth you into sleep), but real Celtic emotions.

I wonder it a lot of people just listen to music thinking:

1. how many complex chord changes are in it.
2. how many roaring solo's
3. how different is it from other artist's?
4. is it cool to like this?
5. does it sound like the artist pushed himself to the limit?
6. is there a dynamic feel to the sound?

and then add all that, to make a final judgement.

But the album is great to me, while it would score very low based on above score. Instead it goes to the heart ;)
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larstangmark Offline




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Posted: Aug. 26 2007, 14:38

Music doesn't have to be 100% original, but it has to catch my attention at least a little bit. Voyager is not a favorite album for me, but I think it's OK in parts. Same thing with guitars.

Now that you bring up the subject I have to make my opinion clear; Mike Oldfield doesn't make intellectual music. He's far removed from the academic fraction of art-rockers, and I'm very grateful for that. It's just music. A child can enjoy it as much as someone with a PhD. There's nothing to understand in Mike's music. There's no course you have to take before you appreciate Mike's music. Personally I don't enjoy intellectual music very much. I'd rather read a book.

I'm not so sure about Voyager being anti-intellecual. Mike came across as a bit career-conscious at the time, but it's not anti-intellectual. The Faces were anti-intellectual. Rod Stewart still is. Oasis also.


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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: Aug. 27 2007, 13:45

Anti-intellectual? I don't know, but it's an interesting train of thought, particularly if also applied to MO's other works. There're already discussions on "Surrealism" and "Romanticism" - why not "Intellectualism" as well?

I am fond of Voyager. It's pretty and undemanding. Sometimes, beauty is all I require from music. I love to have this playing while I'm relaxing. Well, most of it, anyway. There are a couple of pieces - the best ones, I think - that are too stirring to be soothing: "Wild Goose Flaps Its Wings" and "Mont St Michel". It took me several listens to appreciate "WGFIW". It conveys a fascinating ambience - Asiatic through guitar (which sounds sorrowful) and percussion (which is effectively spare), and Celtic through flute(?). "MSM" stands out for being the only orchestral piece. Its aggressive Romanticism was surprising at first. Of course, it's not the first time I'd heard Romanticism in MO's music, but I think an orchestra is best able to fully express such qualities, allowing for unrestrained lushness.


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"I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty
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bee Offline




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Posted: Aug. 27 2007, 19:59

I think it depends on what you think music actually is - just a collection of sounds chosen and linked together in such a way that they form something memorable, or has it got something else woven into it, does it convey a meaning an idea, or a message? If you believe music is a language, I'd say you have to have some kind of intelligence to understand that meaning, just as you do with the spoken word.

However, there are times when I listen to music and it's a pleasant, feel good & right for the moment experience - nothing more. Uncomplicated. At others, and less often, certain music seems to have access to parts of 'me' that I'm not normally aware of. And it's not only Mike Oldfield. Someone here once said ( I forget who right now, sorry ) about listening to music that it could isolate you, make you feel so alone and insignificant and another time make you feel connected to utterly everything in the universe- extreme states but I think perfectly expressed. With Voyager I feel that I can do other things whilst it's playing, it is soothing. But you can also listen to it in a dark room and really concentrate, it is so beautiful. My real favourite is Women of Ireland. But also Dark Island and Mont St Michel.

Sometimes we might hear more in something than was intended, but that's O.K. That's good. It shows you are stretching your mind, using your intelligence. And the person who wrote the music or played it in such a way as to inspire you has shown you another way of looking at something. There's no right or wrong in this, it's a highly personal affair. You don't have to be intelligent to appreciate music, but if you can open your mind there are infinite realms of wonder ahead.


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larstangmark Offline




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Posted: Aug. 28 2007, 07:53

Quote (bee @ Aug. 27 2007, 19:59)
At others, and less often, certain music seems to have access to parts of 'me' that I'm not normally aware of.

It's the same for me, but I see that as a spritual experience rather than an intellectual one.

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Mark E Smith
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Jesse Offline




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Posted: Aug. 28 2007, 11:08

what I mean is that people tend to underapreciate, or not recognize the spiritual quality/message/origin of the albums voyager and The Songs of distant earth...while they are absolutely in love with complicated guitar solo's, or dynamicly played complicated pieces, that feel bland to me spiritually.

It happens more often...people who are very involved in music theory, seem to lose the touch with the actual spirituality. Man I think it's so unfair that there's no better words to describe it.
Maybe it's better to say that the universal meaning or origin of a piece is not it's chord progression, nor the complicated arrangement..it's something deeper beyond the notes.

And voyager is pure beauty to me, maybe that is all there is to say ;)
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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: June 15 2008, 16:05

Quote (Jesse @ Aug. 28 2007, 11:08)
And voyager is pure beauty to me, maybe that is all there is to say ;)

Having just listened to this album after many weeks, I'm again struck (though that's an inappropriately violent word for such a gentle experience) by the beauty. You're right, Jesse, Voyager doesn't have the flash of rockin' guitar solos, or the intensity of an Ommagasmic release, but it's highly valued in my collection for its aesthetic and soothing qualities. Like a gentle hour-long massage.


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"I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty
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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: June 15 2008, 16:40

I feel kind of uncomfortable with Voyager because Celtic music is one thing I definitely don't know anything about. So, if I want to learn about Celtic music, should I do it with a commercial pastiche such as Voyager, or with an actual Celtic album from an actual artist who devoted all his life to understand and deliver it the way it's meant to be? It is a beautiful album, no doubt about it, but I'm not wise enough to tell if it's just an artificial, "pretend" beauty or if it's the real thing.

My other problem is that, well, is this a "Celtic" album or a "Mike Oldfield" album? Because, really, I can't call it both. If this were to be a "Mike Oldfield Celtic" album, then I would expect him to put his own, personal, unique twist into the music; and frankly, I don't hear it. I hear the guitar tone that goes "dooong dooong doongily-dooong" all around, but is Mike Oldfield really entirely defined by one or two guitar tones? I hold this album in comparison with, say, Rei Momo, in which David Byrne takes many kinds of Latin-American music rhythms and absorbs them fully, with gusto, while maintaining everything that makes him so exciting. I'm sort of lost with Voyager, really.

As for the "anti-intellectual" talk, I'll abstain from that one. I don't think "atmosphere" alone is enough to make an album a good album. It's often necessary, but not sufficient.


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Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
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ommadawn69 Offline




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Posted: June 15 2008, 17:00

I agree with you Sir M. I have heard the debate before with regards to "is it a celtic album or a MO album?". I listen to celtic albums, have been since I was a kid and when I heard this album there was some traces of a "celtic" feel to it, but not something I would say clearly Mike had done a celtic album. You can't really just throw some Irish musicians together like Davey Spillane and Sean Keane and think it is a celtic album. Albeit, it is a good album, I love the atmosphere of it, but I do feel the lack of Mike's "personal touch" to it. Maybe he was aiming for a celtic album, who knows really.
All I care about is that I like it, it is a good album. But to say it is a celtic album, I guess it depends on the listener.  :)


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Sweetpea Offline




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Posted: June 15 2008, 19:41

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ June 15 2008, 16:40)
It is a beautiful album, no doubt about it, but I'm not wise enough to tell if it's just an artificial, "pretend" beauty or if it's the real thing.

I'm not wise enough, either, Sir M. That's not important, for me, though. Perhaps, when Jesse describes Voyager as an "anti-intellectual album", he means it not as an inherent quality in the music, but as the most suitable approach from a listener's standpoint? There are times when I appreciate something more when I tackle it from a different angle, whether intellectual or emotional, objective or subjective. I think it's a testament to MO's talent that his works are often rich enough to reward deeper study. I feel that Voyager, however, may not be one of them. And I don't mean that as a criticism. I've said before that sometimes all I require is beauty. And listening to "Mont St Michel", at this moment, I'm perfectly satisfied with what it is.

Quote
If this were to be a "Mike Oldfield Celtic" album, then I would expect him to put his own, personal, unique twist into the music; and frankly, I don't hear it.

Sir M, you've made me realize that I hadn't really thought of that. And now I'm wondering if that is good or bad. Good, because it's a lovely album regardless of stylistic expectations. Bad, because - darnitall - we want Mike to be Mike, since it's the Mikeness that makes the music so special, after all. Errr.. and now I've totally lost my train of thought.


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"I'm no physicist, but technically couldn't Mike both be with the horse and be flying through space at the same time? (On account of the earth's orbit around the Sun and all that). So it seems he never had to make the choice after all. I bet he's kicking himself now." - clotty
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Dirk Star Offline




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Posted: June 15 2008, 20:32

Well my feelings were that with this album Mike was attempting to do more than just a few Celtic cover versions.I can see Sir M` point about he maybe expected Mike to put more of his own "personal twist" on it so`s to speak.But I actually felt he wanted to get at the true heart and history behind the pieces themselves.As well as a kind of feeling for the landscape they came from somehow.Maybe in the process of that Mike was reluctant to do too much deconstruction you know I think he shows the music tremendous respect.It`s a difficult one but I certainly don`t see the album as a pastiche or artificial.

Obviously there are going to be sections of music where Mike tends to take over a little bit.Wild Goose Flaps It`s Wings is maybe a good example of that.But imo it still fits perfectly well into the Celtic Theme itself.And not simply because it`s got a tin whistle on it,you know it`s a lot deeper than that.I feel like I`m right there up in the highlands or something with that track.Kind of looking around myself somewhere on the mountainside trying to take it all in.In my limited experience of going up mountains the atmosphere tends to be a little bit different up there.It make you think differently as well.Not to mention the effect the view can often have upon you.

Maybe it`s easier for me because I`ve listened to absolutely tons of Celtic music over the years.And perhaps more crucialy a lot of Celtic/crossover type albums as well.For me the good sign of a truly successful "crossover" or "fusion" type album is something that sounds greater than the sum of it`s seperate parts.Without it sounding contrived or awkard in some way.Or where your perhaps sitting there listening to it and picking out which sections are from one "genre" and which ones are from the other etc.Imo if that happens to any great extent it somehow loses it`s integrity for me.With this album I don`t think I really noticed that at all.It`s almost effortless in fact.Maybe that`s part of the problem for a lot of people?He made it sound too easy.Like he`d knocked the thing off in a couple of weeks or something.The thing is though if this album did`nt have Mike Oldfield`s name on it.It would surely have as much right to be filed in the Celtic/Folk section of your local music store as people like Runrig or Capercaile or Clannad.Absolutely no doubt about that to my mind.

Obviously Mike has shown his Celtic/folk influences right from day one on Tubular Bells to some extent.So when this album was released it honestly did`nt come as much of a surprise to me.I think I even welcomed it at the time when I read of it`s release.Given Mike`s wealth of experience and talent at that point.And his whole love for that type of music anyway.I dare say it was probably a relatively easy album for him to make.Mont St Michael aside,he did`nt really seem to be pushing himself too much that`s true.At the end of the day half of the tracks were already written for him of course.But by the same token there`s not one track on this album that I dislike.He made it sound easy partly because he`s so good at what he does is what I`m trying to say.My only real criticism is that although I do like Mont St Michael I find it a little bit jarring tagged on at the end of the album.I kind of feel like I`ve gone from being inside and a part of the Celtic landscape itself.To somehow being plonked down back at home again watching a big movie adaption of it all.Half expecting Mel Gibson to drop in with a rousing faux Scotch voice over at any given moment.Or even Russ Abbott perhaps?.. :p

See what I think is really great about this album is that Mont St Michael aside it works perfectly well as kind of background music or easy listening.And that`s fine I think.To be honest that`s all I really want sometimes.But on the flipside of that just try turning it up a few notches,or get it on your headphones loud.Not those Ipod/walkman headphones though,forget about it.Neither good to man nor beast them things.It`s got to be quality loud right inside your eardrums.Never mind the neighbours or whether you`re going to hear them tell you you`re tea`s ready when your sat there in the care home sometime in the future.Get it cranked up there while you still can.Apologies for bordering on the thicko/patronising here.But I tell you what... It`s pretty stirring stuff you know.
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Tati The Sentinel Offline




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Posted: June 15 2008, 21:50

Voyager is an OK album for me,good to relax before getting to bed...and having sweet dreams with Mike - me remembering the cover -  :laugh:

At least it's much better than Millennum Bell.


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arron11196 Offline




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Posted: June 16 2008, 06:25

I was recently having a discussion about this with a friend of mine, met from these very hallowed boards.

We both came to the same conclusion; unlike some of Mike's works, it's more easy to listen to. "Intellectual" or not, I don't know many people that you could grab off the street and like say, Ommadawn Part II or Incantations. Most of them wouldn't last more than 3 minutes, so that's what I mean here.

With some of mikes' music, you seem to need some stamina. It took me quite a long time to "get" Ommadawn, and even longer to "get" Incantations... but I'm glad I put in the effort.

Cue Voyager. Mike has stated in Changeling that he used music for a long time as an escape from the troubles of the world... and for a long time, perhaps until the late 80's, it was still necessary to focus on the music to escape quite intensely.

I think what happened is, Mike just reached the point where he could start to handle life and his past more easily. Through the 90's, I see this change in Mike's overall style, but still maintaining that experimental nature that he's always had. Because he may not have needed to "bury" himself in the job as much as before, It became more about "lets try this out" and not "escape!" - which is why I think Voyager doesn't sound particularly intense or overbearing like Incantations can do - it's meant to be a relaxing "easy to listen to" album, because that's more how Mike was feeling at the time.


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Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: June 16 2008, 07:51

Now that you mention "intense" and "overbearing", I remember tracks like The Hero and Flowers of the Forest that, matter of fact, do get considerably intense and overbearing... in a bad way. I guess it's just my pet-peeve of "if it doesn't need a climax, DON'T do a climax" which affects most of Mike's post-1992 work. But personally, that's not really my problem with it - my questions are about how relevant the album is within the realm of Celtic music, the realm of Mike Oldfield's music, and even the realm of music in general.

Is that much of an "intellectual" approach to the album? I don't know... I approach pretty much every album I listen in an intellectual way, and it works for me; it doesn't "kill" the enjoyment in any way.


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Harmono Offline




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Posted: June 16 2008, 10:15

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ June 15 2008, 22:40)
If this were to be a "Mike Oldfield Celtic" album, then I would expect him to put his own, personal, unique twist into the music; and frankly, I don't hear it. I hear the guitar tone that goes "dooong dooong doongily-dooong" all around, but is Mike Oldfield really entirely defined by one or two guitar tones?

He certainly isn't entirely defined by a few guitar tones. But I do think there are more than just a few immediately identifiable "oldfield-tones" on Voyager. I'm talking ofcourse about the way he plays the guitar. There's all those Hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, ornamental triplets, the way he plays with his nails and ofcourse his trademark electric guitar sound. It's just pure MO, I guess that's the Oldfield part of Voyager, and it's there on every track.

Quote
So, if I want to learn about Celtic music, should I do it with a commercial pastiche such as Voyager, or with an actual Celtic album from an actual artist who devoted all his life to understand and deliver it the way it's meant to be?


I would say that the Celtic spirit is there, but the music is played and arranged in that Oldfield way, not in traditional Celtic/Irish
style.
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arron11196 Offline




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Posted: June 16 2008, 14:07

Lol, of course it should be ... when have we ever seen him do anything but his own thing?

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Arron J Eagling

Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

(insert the last 5 mins of Crises here)
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Harmono Offline




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Posted: June 16 2008, 16:52

What do you mean Arron, what should be?
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: June 16 2008, 22:21

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ June 15 2008, 16:40)
I feel kind of uncomfortable with Voyager because Celtic music is one thing I definitely don't know anything about.

Sir M, I wouldn't worry too much about the "Celtic" tag. It's an artificial label that has really arisen in recent years. Think about it: can you really expect there to be an absolute homogeneity in music created in places as far apart as Ireland and Scotland? (I'm not being funny, here - go back a few hundred years and you have a lot of isolated communities and styles of music that sprang up in isolation.) You'll never come up with a "definition" of Celtic music, just as - elsewhere on this site - I said a la Wittgenstein you could probably never come up with a definition of a horse. I think all that needs to be said is that there are genuine folk pieces on this record, and that the record is very pleasant to listen to. I don't think Mike aimed at more than this.
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Alan D Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 03:29

About the 'Celtic' tag ... Generally, Voyager is a long way down my list of MO albums, except while driving among the Scottish Highlands and islands. At those times, Voyager becomes the best of all albums to listen to - yes, better even than something more obviously authentic, like Capercaillie. That the music should so closely match the mood of the landscape is pretty telling, I think.
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Dirk Star Offline




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Posted: June 17 2008, 05:55

Quote (Alan D @ June 17 2008, 08:29)
About the 'Celtic' tag ... Generally, Voyager is a long way down my list of MO albums, except while driving among the Scottish Highlands and islands. At those times, Voyager becomes the best of all albums to listen to - yes, better even than something more obviously authentic, like Capercaillie. That the music should so closely match the mood of the landscape is pretty telling, I think.

Well that`s exactly the same for me Alan I`m completely with you there.Few years back I had Voyager on repeat going along that steep road to Applecross (Bealach na ba) then along the west coast overlooking Skye and onto Torridon where we were staying at the time.Just indescribable really for me.I can even remeber specific musical moments to specific points on our journey that day.Like leaving a little marker there to remind me somehow.And then stopping off at almost deserted beaches along the way and it was ridiculously hot that day as well.You just wanted to stop every five minutes but it was like a wrench to leave the music.But then you`d just think well I`ll look forward to it coming back to the car.So we`d just kind of run riot with the kids for a while and then off we`d go again.Just really magical that day.There`s one beach along that road past Applecross that has this steep bank of sand coming out of the rockface.And we all just kind of rolled up and down it for about an hour or something.It was the middle of summer and there was like three other people there or something.Luckily for me Voyager is one of the few Mike Oldfield albums that my wife likes.If I`d had Tubular Bells on repeat for instance she probably would have rolled down that bank and into the ocean.And then waited quite happily for the blokes in the yellow helicopter to show up.
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