A lot of people didn’t believe in Mike Oldfield anymore. For them, the young Mike Oldfield, the exceptional compositor of the great “trilogy”: Tubular Bells (1973), Hergest Ridge (1974) and Ommadawn (1975) seemed definitly “lost”. But after a great return for the Olympic Games of London ceremony and, sadly, some intimate tragedies, Mike Oldfield decided to come back in a music without artifice nor electronics tricks. An “old fashioned” music. And so, two years ago, it seemed that a sequel of Ommadawn, perhaps the most emblematic album of its young period, would be the best option. At this time, Ommadawn was also made during some tragic time. The album served as a purgatory to the pain, as a musical resilience. Obviously, the great fan of Mike Oldfield could say that Amarok (1990) was already a sequel of Ommadawn. But if the spirit and the initial will were there, never things been really formalized. This time, the title Return to Ommadawn leaves no doubt.
Four decades after the first episode, it is with a charming grace that Mike Oldfield undertakes to suspend time around two twenty-minutes pieces in a classic vinyl style. And once again, this incredible musician plays a myriad of instruments: acoustic ones (guitar, mandolin, Banjo, bouzouki, harp), percussions (bodhran, African drums) and celtic flutes. The compositions are full of delicious themes, sometimes very (too much?) naïves, who escape the violence, the organic and seminal brutality of the first Ommadawn. So, we could regret the lack of madness, this disturbing tones that bewitched us and sent us into an incantatory and purgative trance. Here, all is luxury, calm and voluptuousness. Like the return after the battle. Soothed.
Without surprise, music spin around the universes of Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn (of course), Amarok, QE2 and Voyager. The epic is sometimes lacking in breath but regains its roots as soon as the electric guitar shows its claws. Mike Oldfield is such a great guitarist that he spreads this feeling of euphoria and make us touch the summits.
Okay, Return to Ommadawn is not a “masterpiece” (as Amarok or Ommadawn) but without a doubt, it will climb up with the listenings. The unfolded melancholy, the “spleen” mood which winds along these two parts, reverses the curve of the roughness of the original model. A certain form of serenity floats on these atmospheres full of forests and mysterious fogs. If it seems to come out from the past and if it does not reinvent its discography, we bet that the true fans of Mike Oldfield will find here the ideal music to nourish the myth and rejoice in its true return. .. in awaiting the fourth episode of the famous Tubular Bells.
MIKE OLDFIELD – RETURN TO OMMADAWN
Title : Return to Ommadawn
Artist : Mike Oldfield
Year : 2017
Country : England
Duration : 42’07
Label : Virgin / EMI
1. Return To Ommadawn (Pt.1) (21:10)
2. Return To Ommadawn (Pt.2) (20:57)
– Mike Oldfield / acoustic, classical, 12-string & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, mandolin, harp, bouzouki, banjo, grand piano, spinet, Farfisa organ, ARP 2600 & Solina synths, bodhran, glockenspiel, accordion (6), assorted percussions (marimba, gong, tubular bells), producer