Friday, April 15, 2011

Mike Oldfield: Music I Never Tire Of

Ever since I heard "Five Miles Out" on the radio as a kid, I've been in love with Mike Oldfield. To this day, the "Five Miles Out" album, "Ommadawn", "Crisis" and "Discover" are among my most-often played CDs.

The Man, the Myth, the Mike!

So, when it came to deciding what topic would be M for today, I went with Mike Oldfield. I could have gone with Mohammed, but I think I already have plenty of posts about the Perfect Man and the millions of psychopaths who worship him around the world.

But, I figure if "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 2011" happens on May 20, I'll be talking about Mo-rons and the Perfect Man in this space quite a bit. So, I'm instead going to talk about my favorite modern composer and musician. While I haven't exactly loved his latest two albums, I didn't hate them either. And who knows? Maybe they'll grow on me the way "Earthmoving" and "Amarok" did, but I doubt it... they're just a little too "easy listening" for my ears.

That said, I was writing music reviews for a paper when "Earthmoving" came out, and I panned it like I'd never panned any release before. When I listened to it again some five years later, I had to ask myself "What the hell was I thinking?" It's a different Mike Oldfield effort--being a collection of slightly offbeat pop tunes--but it was petter than the majority of the crap out there and it still is. With "Amarok", one of Oldfield's all instrumental efforts, I hated it until one day I gave it my undivided attention and did nothing but sit and listen; that's when I fell in love with it as I have most of Oldfield's music. I might come around to feeling the same way about "Music of the Spheres" (his most recent release from 2008), but I can't see myself ever liking "Tres Luna" the way I like his other many and widely varied efforts.

Enough talk. Here's some music and some videos to enjoy. And please leave a comment about what YOUR favorite Mike Oldfield record/CD or song is. If you've never encountered Oldfield before, I think you'll find he gives modern popular musicians a run for their money; the videos featured here are for songs that are 20-30 years old.

First up is the song that started it all for me. It's got a great video to boot. Like someone said in the comments at YouTube "This is ART, man!"

Next is a video using a segment of "Tubular Bells II". It spotlights three things Mike Oldfield is most famous for: Great instrumentals, creative use of guitars, and the "Exorcist Theme" (of which this is one of the many variations he's created over the years).

(Of course, Mike Oldfield fans know that the "Exorcist Theme" is really the "Tubular Bells Theme".)

Next is the video for the single version of title track from "Heaven's Open". It's not anything like what I would have visualized, but it's an interesting effort for an interesting song.

Here's a collaboration between Mike Oldfield and Jon Anderson of Yes. Enjoy the trippy video with its quirky animation and weird cinematic trickery, and wait for the ripping guitar solo from Oldfield.

Oldfield has so far only scored one film--"Tubular Bells" predates its use in "The Exorcist"--and here's a selection of that music, along with a video. The film was "The Killing Fields" and the track is titled "Etude."

Finally (for now, at least) here's a song with vocals by Anita Hegerland.

(And if you want more, here are a couple of Oldfield's other collaborations with Hegerland.)