Aclaración...

Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
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Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).

lunes, 23 de noviembre de 2015

Mike Oldfield - Ommadawn (1975)

Rock sinfónico, música celta, folklore británico, percusiones africanas y tonadas medievales forman una de las obras más hermosas y emocionales que puede escuchar el ser humano. Para describir este disco, nada mejor que las palabras de Elián: "Ni bien terminé de escuchar este disco por primera vez, sentí la necesidad de viajar, de conocer las bellezas que conforman nuestro planeta y sentir en carne propia las ideas que Oldfield dejó en este trabajo". Si ustedes pensaban que en este mundo la magia no existe es porque no escucharon a "Ommadawn".

Artista: Mike Oldfield
Álbum: Ommadawn
Año: 1975
Género: Crossover Prog / Progresivo sinfónico
Duración: 36:40
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
01. Ommadawn Part 1
02. Ommadawn Part 2

Alineación:
- Mike Oldfield / acoustic, classical & electric guitars, acoustic & electric basses, mandoline, harp, bouzouki, banjo, grand piano, spinet, electric organs, synths, bodhran, glockenspiel, assorted percussions
With:
Don Blakeson / trumpet
Herbie / Northumbrian bagpipes
Pierre Moerlen / tympani
William Murray / percussion
Terry Oldfield / Panpipes
Leslie Penning / recorders
David Strange / cello
Julian Bahula, Ernest Mothle, Lucky Ranku, Eddie Tatane / African drums
Sally Oldfield, Bridget St. Johns, Clodagh Simonds, The Penrhos Kids, The Hereford City
Band / vocals


Un disco absolutamente excepcional.
En este lunes denso y lleno de burbujeantes y vacíos globitos amarillos (¿qué mejor que empezarlo con una genialidad repleta de profundidad y emotividad?). Otro de nuestros trabajos colaborativos, donde Elián nos reseña esta preciosidad que conmueve por su belleza y excelente trabajo melodico.

Con Ommadawn, Mike se consagraba (si es que aún no lo estaba) como uno de los mejores músicos del momento. Por que este nuevo trabajo de 1975 recogía una variedad de sonidos inpresionante. Desde celta hasta africana, pasando por griega. Ommadawn es un conglomerado de melodías variadas de los mejores estilos del mundo. Además, aquí Mike va a demostrar una vez que es un gran guitarrista.
La delicadeza y a la vez la fuerza de Ommadawn nos transporta a lugares en los que nunca hemos estado; a rincones presididos por cascadas, por el agua salvaje; a selvas inexploradas, a lagos calmados pero llenos de luz; a sitios y rincones de este planeta en donde la mano del hombre no ha alterado el ecositema autóctono. Mike, de nuevo, había creado un disco "campestre", con una frescura inusual. Jugando con el stereo, con los instrumentos y con las voces. Ommadawn es como un billete a un Parque Natural...

Otra de las genialidades sonoras que compartimos en nuestro pequeño espacio para alegría de sus oídos y también de su espíritu, trabajo que junto con "Tubular Bells" y "Hergest Ridge" forma una trilogía que se corresponde con lo mejor que ha dado el artista y de lo mejor que ha salido del rock sinfónico.

Al igual que Hergest Ridge y Tubular Bells, Ommadawn es otra obra sinfónica en dos movimientos de Mike Oldfield.
Este tercer trabajo de estudio puede considerase como una de las primeras referencias europeas en la llamada World Music. Siguiendo la estructura clásica de sus primeros trabajos, Ommadawn es una obra sinfónica de dos movimientos pero, a diferencia de sus trabajos previos, Ommadawn destila influencias Celtas y Africanas.
El título de la obra no tiene una traducción directa al castellano, pero se asemeja mucho a la palabra irlandesa "Amadán", que significa "loco". Esta especulación procede de la traducción de la letra que tararean los coros al final del primer movimiento de la obra, "ta me an amadán" que viene a ser algo así como "Estoy loco por la música". Sin embargo, en su autobiografía "Changeling", Mike Oldfield admite que se trata de una estrofa traducida por Clodagh Simmonds al gaélico. Dicha estrofa, en inglés, era "Daddy´s in bed/The cat´s drinking milk/I´m an idiot/And I´m laughing", es decir, "Papi está en la cama/El gato está bebiendo leche/Soy un idiota/Y me estoy riendo"). Precisamente, la palabra "Ommadawn" siginifica "Idiota".
A pesar de la actual edición en dos partes, originalmente Ommadawn contenía una tercera pista, la canción "On Horseback", una pequeña pieza vocal compuesta por Oldfield y William Murray. En diciembre de 1975 volvió a aparecer la canción como cara B del Single "In Dulci Jubilo" que alcanzó el número 4 en las listas de ventas del Reino Unido.
Wikipedia

¿Cayeron el cuenta de la cantidad de trilogías que existe en el rock progresivo? quizás deberíamos consultar con algún numerólogo para que nos trate de indicar su significado. Pero algo es claro, a diferencia de mucho de los vacíos y chaturas de hoy en día, estas obras están llenas de poéticas profundides y contenidos, aún sin lírica. Qué mejor que este disco para contraponerse y compensar tanta falta de contenido e insustanciacilidad. Y no es para menos. muchas veces hablé de que uno de los pilares del rock progresivo (además de la música clásica y del jazz) es la música popular, tradicional, y la música étnica. Muchos de los trabajos presentados en este espacio así lo demuestran, y éste disco no sólo lo confirma sino que cierra esa aseveración con moñito con su maravilloso estilo de rock sinfónico-étnico, sonoridades de la musica celta y las percusiones africanas crean un excelente paisaje sonoro de corte épico. Vamos al fantástico comentario de Elián que es por quien este disco está publicado aquí, y que es lo más importante de esta entrada:

Mike Oldfield demostraba con su disco Tubular Bells de 1973 el enorme talento que tiene para generar atmosferas que lo transportan a uno a lugares hermosos, combinando pasajes influenciados fuertemente por estilos clásicos o frases de guitarra desgarradoras. Escuchando semejante disco uno piensa que resulta difícil superarlo o imaginar una obra del mismo autor que se encuentre por encima (aclaro que no escuche Hergest Ridge aún, por lo que lo voy a omitir de este comentario), y sin embargo yo creo que en Ommadawn lo logra. Si en su primer disco demostró una gran capacidad y talento, en Ommadawn de 1975 nos presenta un trabajo en el cual esa capacidad, ese talento, fueron maximizados, llevados a su máximo potencial. Este último disco me resulta mucho más ambicioso. Una de las críticas que se le pueden hacer a Tubular Bells es que flaquea en dirección si se toma a cada uno de los lados del disco como obras enteras, completas; si bien es verdad que todos los pasajes que componen las dos caras de Tubular Bells son presentados de una manera sutil y que a cada uno de ellos Oldfield logra desarrollarlos de forma conmovedora; Ommadawn me resulta más sólido en su totalidad, como una obra entera en donde cada pasaje se relaciona plenamente con el anterior para generar un estado constante en el oyente, como transmitiendo a lo largo del disco una sensación que va tomando distintos matices pero que conforman una sola idea; idea que el autor va a meternos en la cabeza para que la tengamos presente cada vez que volvamos a oír o pensar en este disco. Y sin ir más lejos, yo creo que de eso se trata la música, de transmitir, ya sea un estado, una sensación o sentimiento, y es por ello que este disco puede resultar tan especial para sus oyentes, es allí en donde yace su genialidad: en su capacidad de transmitir. No me voy a quedar en la comparación entre los dos discos y mejor voy a pasar a hablar de Ommadawn en sí y de su contenido, y a dar una opinión todavía más personal.
Primero que nada, y dejando de lado el lenguaje formal, este disco me voló el bocho, es una obra muy particular, creo que hasta el momento no escuché algo que se le parezca. El formato es el mismo que en los dos anteriores, es decir, es un trabajo en dos movimientos. En el lado uno podemos encontrar la canción Ommadawn parte 1, y en lado dos Ommadawn parte 2. Sin embargo hay que aclarar que en la parte dos del vinilo hay una tercer canción que no figura en la tapa del disco llamada "On Horseback", que en mi opinión es un cierre perfecto para lo que viene siendo el álbum. Ommadawn mezcla diversos estilos, teniendo pasajes influenciados claramente por la música clásica, otros en donde se aprecian influencias de la música africana y por momentos la obra toma la potencia característica del rock con la guitarra eléctrica fuzzeada de Oldfield y el bajo eléctrico volviéndose loco. Es considerado como uno de los primeros álbumes exitosos de World Music (Música del mundo) en Europa.
La parte uno de Ommadawn empieza directamente con Oldfield introduciendo una frase de guitarra clásica que, en mi opinión, junto con los coros atmosféricos de fondo, generan una sensación de misticismo; la forma en que toca la guitarra clásica tiene ímpetu y prolijidad. Después de introducir lo suficiente al oyente en esa atmósfera, comienza la fiesta: Oldfield entra con un fraseo de guitarra electrica, al principio en segundo plano pero luego aumentantando el volumen y la potencia con un arreglo que va subiendo hasta desembocar en una sección hermosa que evoca al movimiento y genera una sensación de felicidad incontrolable. Irrumpe luego una sección más folk que le hace a uno sentir paz y alegría de la mano. Dan ganas de bailar al oír los ritmos que Oldfield genera con la mandolina y las flautas. A continuación el autor comienza con unos fraseos de guitarra eléctrica en los que plasma su habilidad con este instrumento; su forma de tocar es particular, pareciera que va volando por el mástil de la guitarra y siempre sin perder la prolijidad que lo caracteriza. Si hasta ahora no se sentían las fuertes influencias africanas en esta obra, llega el momento en que el autor nos transporta directamente a ese continente, a presenciar una especie de ritual. Unos coros introducen unas letras en irlandés y junto a los tambores africanos marcando el ritmo hipnotizan; es un momento crítico en la primer parte del disco. Los coros y los tambores van tomando potencia y haciéndose mas consistentes hasta que todo explota en un delirio de guitarra eléctrica, coros, tambores y el bajo haciendo una línea desquiciada hasta finalizar súbitamente callándose todos los instrumentos menos los tambores que se van apagando lentamente.
La parte dos del disco comienza con algo maravilloso. No puedo distinguir exactamente que está tocando Oldfield pero lo que sí sé es que es angelical, maravilloso. La primera vez que escuché la introducción de esta parte del disco dejé volar mi imaginación y sentí que me elevaba por sobre las cosas y podía contemplar la tierra y sus bellezas naturales como una forma de paraíso. Sin duda la sensación que transmite el músico es emocionante, conmovedora; yo creo que este es el mayor atributo de Mike Oldfield: con solo cerrar los ojos y poner su música te transporta a otro lugar donde se palpita paz, alegría, dolor, o cualquiera que fuera la sensación que el prodigioso músico quiere plasmar en su trabajo. Luego de esta bella introducción, comienza una sección acústica en la cual la atmosfera de paz, de paraíso, sigue presente. Las gaitas comienzan a sonar y la atmosfera es cada vez más cálida, hasta que de repente entra Terry Oldfield con la zampoña (Pan pipes en ingles) dándole a la composición un toque andino en un pasaje que corta con la sensación de paz y nos lleva a un momento crítico de la obra. Comienza a sonar el Bouzouki (instrumento griego) para luego sumarse la guitarra eléctrica distorsionada construyendo una atmosfera que adquiere cada vez más potencia y magnificidad hasta concluir en un cierre súbito y dar comienzo a "On Horseback" que cierra el disco. Esta última composición no se parece a lo escuchado anteriormente en todo el disco y sin embargo es el cierre perfecto para esta obra.
En mi opinión, en Ommadawn, Mike Oldfield plasma y fusiona una variedad de sensaciones que funcionan en conjunto para conmover al oyente y hacerlo emprender un viaje imaginario por el mundo. Todos los pasajes o ideas musicales planteadas por el autor en este trabajo son ejecutados y desarrollados a la perfección, sumergiendo al oyente en atmosferas y estados de ánimo que uno querría sentir toda la vida. Ni bien terminé de escuchar este disco por primera vez, sentí la necesidad de viajar, de conocer las bellezas que conforman nuestro planeta y sentir en carne propia las ideas que Oldfield dejó en este trabajo.
Elián


Hay pilas de comentarios de éste disco, no voy a traer mucho más, ya tenemos con el comentario de Elián. Y el disco, obvio, un trabajito fácil de escuchar y aparentemente sencillo, con una brillante atmósfera campestre, pero con múltiples capas de sonido e infinitos arreglos, se sabe que en el estudio de grabación se las vieron negras para grabar las múltiples capas de sonido que requería la obra, teniendo en cuenta las condiciones bastante artesanales en que se movían los músicos de entonces. Uno puede engañarse porque éste disco puede ser escuchado y disfrutado mientras hacés otra cosa, sin necesidad de parar la oreja. Pero si querés sacarle todo el jugo, te recomiendo que (como toda obra bien trabajada y elaborada) que le prestes atención porque atrás de su aparente candidez hay mucha profundidad.

Hay discos que no tienen necesidad de ser cantados, que solo poseen dos canciones, pero que contienen el talento de quien los crea, y este es un claro ejemplo de eso. Mike Oldfield se hizo famoso por componer Tubular Bells (Conocida por ser la cancion de El Exorcista) una pieza de dos partes de 20 minutos cada una, luego lanzo el igualmente hermoso Hergest Ridge de la misma forma y en 1975 lanzo su tercer album pero este muchachos si es muestra de talento y no te aburre en ningun momento, me refiero a Ommadawn.
Mr. Alga


Vamos, si es que hace falta, con algunos (poquitos) comentarios en inglés:

Jackpot!! Mike Oldfield sure hit it when he released Ommadawn. This along with Inacantations and Amarok has to be his finest work. If ever I were on a desert island and I only had a handful of album to choose from, Ommadawn would be in the top three! The moods and melodies, more complex than Hergest Ridge yet accessible in only the way Oldfield knows best in conveying. The African rythms and chanting closing side one are probably the best incantations Oldfield has put together on record. Side 2 is more laid back until it's slow build but the pipes are beautiful. ' Horse song' which ends the album fittingly takes you back to childhood and the simplicity of riding on horseback. 1975, what a vintage year and Ommadawn will be revered by future generations for years and years.
Chris S.

I really can't find fault with this album and furthermore I don't want to! This is so beautifull a work that is full of stunning musical landscapes and divine melodies.There is a lovely flow to the music.Nothing here sounds 'forced' or 'artificia'l to me. Everything in it's place as God intended. 5/5 stars well merited!
Richard Haydon

Wonderful!!! It's difficult to find music of such beauty, and this is without a doubt my favourite Mike Oldfield's album, along with it sequel Amarok. From the first minute to the last this album is absolutely perfect in my opinion, and it hasn't an only weak second.
The first part has a lot of variety inside, with a great example of "world music". The guitar solos are lovely, like the marvellous delicate parts that make you almost cry... The african final is strong and has a lot of guitar feeling, with greats percussion by Jabula.
The second part it's still better in my opinon. At the beginnig you can hear an explosion of guitars wich it's followed by one of the most peaceful and beautiful moments i've heard in my life, with a marvellous bagpipe by Paddy Moloney. The final guitar solo is epic and close this masterpiece brillantly.
The hidden track, On Horseback (In Dulcy Jubilo doesn't belong to this work, that's a mistake...) it's a funny track with a close letter, the firt Mike Oldfield's sung song.
One of the best albums I've heard.
José Antonio García-Ramos

Although it features the beautiful recorder of Leslie Penny and the Chieftains' Paddy Maloney playing the uilean pipe, Ommadawn didn't gain Mike Oldfield the success he was looking for. The album was released in the same year as the David Bedford-arranged Orchestral Tubular Bells and nine months after Oldfield picked up a Grammy award for the original Tubular Bells album. The most pleasing attribute of Ommadawn is its incorporation of both African and Irish music in its symphonic rock & roll mainframe. Boosted by a hearty amount of different horns, piano, cello, trumpet, and synthesizer, the album has its moments of rising action, but the whole of Ommadawn fails to keep its lovely segments around long enough, and there are some rather lengthy instances that include bland runs of unvaried music. Another plus is Oldfield's use of a choir, giving the album a soft, humanistic feel when contrasted against the keyboards or synthesizer. While it does include flashes of Mike Oldfield's brilliance, the entire album may seem a little anticlimactic when compared to some of his other releases.
Mike DeGagne

This music is what dreams are made of!!! The gentle and almost timid touch of Oldfield on his acoustic and electric guitars reconcile my soul after a "hard-working-day"! The most significant parts on this OPERA are: part 1, that splendid and quasi-Collodian fluted part (Collodi is the Pinocchio's author-note that the 19th century's book is as far as possible from the Disney cartoon version. For that reason I recommend it!);
part 2, that marvellous bagpipes part after the 7th min: superb!
Ok, for you is one of the first example of world music: I don't know if it is, for me it is "ONLY" a MASTERPIECE!!
Note: I've had the same feeling of E. Neuteboom: Mike looks like Jesus Christ!
Andrea Cortese

I have a really soft spot for this one!! This one was the first I had the oportunity to listen from MO!! His first MASTERPIECE, IMHO much better than TB, comercially not that good! I always come back to this, regularly..... Highly recommended!! and a good starting point for anybody that just want to check out Mike Oldfield music. What else to say!!! Two long suites that travel in time, and still sound fresh in my ears!!! Impressive work that shows Mike at his best!!
Jose Gabriel

Omma-Dawn is a feeling
For his third album, Mike Oldfield chooses a middle path between the naïve excitement and anger of "Tubular Bells", and the more continuous, generally softer "Hergest Ridge". The result is a very satisfying, highly melodic work with many highlights, and a continuity which demands that it be heard as a complete piece.
Oldfield's guitar work is particularly impressive here, and generally receives top billing among the many instruments on which he is accomplished. For the first time (other than "Piltdown man" growls on Tubular Bells), he adds vocals to the album. These are however vocalised in the form of an additional "instrument", rather than as a lyrical intrusion. Indeed the lyrics are deliberately nonsensical, being a mixture of English an Irish Gaelic words.
Oldfield uses repetition to a much greater extent, particularly of a handful of strong themes, which may be the reason so many people find this album immediately appealing. The main theme of part (side) one for example is introduced almost immediately, and developed through drifting keyboards, incisive guitars, and the vocalised ending to the side.
The strength of the album however lies in the melodies which are pleasant but infectious. This was perhaps Oldfield's first real drift towards new age, but it's still light years from the musak which that genre often implies. That said, there appears to be more emotion in the performance here than on any other Oldfield album. If you are familiar with Oldfield's masterwork "The songs of distant earth", but have yet to discover "Ommadawn", you are in for a pleasant experience.
"Ommadawn" was far from a solo album by Oldfield. While the composition credit is of course entirely his, he called upon the talents of many fine musicians to enhance the sound. Notable among these are Paddy Moloney on Uillean pipes and Bridget St John and Oldfield's sister Sally on vocals.
A superb album, among the best of Oldfield's illustrious career.
Bob McBeath

An extremely special album, where Mike Oldfield gathers all he had learned from his previous two works and somehow surpasses them both in this elaborate, dramatic, moving, and - quite frankly - perfectly executed masterpiece. As a child I was introduced to the final section of 'Ommadawn (Part Two)', the edit usually referred to as 'On Horseback', and while oblivious to the rest of the music that precedes it I found the song simply magical... a delicate madrigal straight out of another world of joy and freedom, imagination so natural to the young and so captivating to adults who can still remember it. From here, my love of Oldfield's music was born.
It all begins with a mysterious temple of pendulum-time bass, guitars and koto, with the grievous sounds of the organ and a subdued choir. It seems like an atmosphere of primordial meditation, and then emergence, signalled by the massive sound of the gong, as 'Part One' builds on its enigmatic melody and comes to life. The piece moves on into a festival-like section clearly influenced by his interest in friendly, traditional melodies ('In Dulci Jubilo', 'Vivaldi Concerto In C') and led by a guest player on recorders. Indeed, the whole album is enhanced by some superb playing from a much larger number of additional musicians than on his first two recordings, including his brother Terry and sister Sally. Halfway through the side, the music seems to 'restart' with a gentle new current that evokes a real feeling of peace through fluttering movements and a new twist on the main theme. And then, at 9.46 a key change marks the beginning of some of the finest music on earth... a miraculous electric guitar run brims with energy, confidence, overcoming, and leads the way towards the purgatorial conclusion of side one. Here, a hypnotic ensemble of African drumming drives forward a period of uncertainty and growth, ultimately to a terrifying main theme reprise that erupts in a fury of pounding bass, desperate choirs, screaming guitar stabs, and the chilling clang of tubular bells. The piece was described by Oldfield as a way of forcing his emotional 'rebirth', and with focused listening these moments of primal, vital urgency can certainly be heard, before at long last the struggle is won and the drums find themselves alone, petering out into time.
The terrain of 'Part Two' is no less intriguing, starting boldly with a veritable sea of overdubbed electric guitars, all strumming and trilling in unison to create an impenetrable sense of weight, travail, pushing onward. The clear tones of pipes eventually cut through and allow the piece to fade slowly into restful contemplation, as light acoustic guitars wander sparsely and freely. This calm is fortified when Northumbrian bagpipes enter and cast off a song of long, lazy notes, which reaches a satisfying, measured conclusion before the piece veers off into a more sorrowful passage. Oldfield's searching acoustic guitar accompanies a beautiful lead pipe here, setting up a bridge of longing and transformation in a spacious, ethereal style similar to that which opened the album. Then, to mirror the powerful rhythm found at the end of the previous side, the African drums quickly return with a beat equally as energetic, this time providing solid backing for an exuberant guitar solo. The climax of side two, this section stands not as a wild purge, but as a celebration. There is then a few moments of complete silence to reflect, before the enchanting acoustic guitar melody of the horse song comes in. Mike himself speaks the verses in his frail voice, recounting simple perceptions of both the everyday and perhaps something deeper, and then sweeps in with an anthemic chorus about the freedom of riding away from it all on horseback. The sentiments are uncomplicated and even childlike on the surface, echoed by the children's choir in the last chorus repeat, but the beauty of the music, and the passion with which Oldfield commands his instruments, is as strong here as on the rest of the album. His classic soft electric guitars harmonise behind the vocals, tuned percussion tinkles away, and the background is awash with rich synth strings. Capturing an atmosphere that's quite unique, this segregated conclusion to Ommadawn is one of truth found through hope and sadness, trial and simplicity.
Once again, Mike Oldfield knits together a whole spectrum of ideas drawn from the extremities of his personal experience, but this time manages to achieve more overall coherence than before. Through a greater complexity of emotions and perceptions, and continued inspired performance, the album presents some gripping material of immense power, and like 1990's 'Amarok' stands as a creative peak for this instrumental genius.
In my world, it would be a crime not to own and cherish this recording.
Reason Or Die

This music came along just when I needed it, and has been my most played album ever since. If I could take only one of my thousand-plus collection with me, this would be it.
MIKE OLDFIELD took up the challenge of extending himself, of coming out from the giant shadow cast by 'Tubular Bells'. He meets it by relying on celtic- infused melodies coupled with African rhythms, creating one of the first world music albums in the process. I'd never heard anything like it in early 1976. But what interested me most was how he turned melody into beauty and drama, especially through the first side, which is, in essence, a continual restatement of the main theme with variations in pace, instruments and volume. Unlike 'Hergest Ridge', but like 'Tubular Bells', this side climaxes with an outrageous finale, as glorious as you could ever hope to hear. Finally OLDFIELD unleashes that electric guitar and proves he's one of the era's most lyrical masters of the instrument: his melodies, liberally sprinkled with bends and sustains designed to lift the emotions, matched only by LATIMER and surpassed only by GILMOUR, in my opinion.
And what a finale to side 1. With seven minutes remaining, the main theme is restated one last time, and a shrill pan pipe (played by his brother) introduces CLODAGH SIMMONS singing nonsense gaelic over tribal rhythms, swirling pipes and an acoustic guitar. The music builds in inimitable OLDFIELD fashion, hypnotically, repetitively, layer upon layer, until his acoustic and electric guitars break through, bringing things to an orgiastic climax as the main theme is reprised amid frenetic bass, a wordless chorus and such shrill guitars. The drums tail off detumescently, allowing us to get our breath back.
As with 'Tubular Bells', side two of 'Ommadawn' does not rise to the same heights. Nevertheless, there are moments of thrilling beauty courtesy of bagpipes and those ubiquitous multi-layered guitars. Ater eight minutes of relative ambience comes the sweetest melody played by the bagpipes, followed by another courtesy of pan pipes - here OLDFIELD is at his melodic best. Then at eleven minutes the music swells - for not nearly long enough - introducing a celtic rhythm (developed further fifteen years later on 'Amarok') and a final guitar solo.
There's a sweet naivety to the finish of the album, with 'The Horse Song' (unlisted) bringing things to a somewhat cheesy close (lyrics-wise, at least). But this is the heart of what MIKE OLDFIELD is about: musically sophisticated, but trying to build things of simplicity, beauty and innocence. There are times in every life when such things should be paid attention to, and this album is one of those things. It won't suit every taste, but it speaks to us of things often derided in this cynical world.
Don't bother with this album if aching beauty isn't your thing. But I can promise lovers of melodic beauty a rare treat here.
Russell Kirkpatrick

A collection of the feelings that make life glorious.
Mike's finest moment? A case could be made for any of Oldfield's first four proper albums to be called his greatest masterpiece (TB, Hergest, Ommadawn, Incantations.) Each one would have many enthusiastic proponents. I would say it would be one of the latter two but I can't decide which at the moment. What I do feel is that Ommadawn is a huge step forward over his first two albums. TB was promising but in many places it was a bit of a mess. Hergest was more cohesive and an improvement. And then came the heavenly Ommadawn, one of the highlights of the 1970s progressive symphonic rock arsenal. The album took Mike nine months to record and it truly sounds like the work of a lifetime.
The Ommadawn piece is well over 30 minutes in length and runs a gamut of emotions and colors, from delectable acoustic moments to folk flavored dancings to aggressive electric guitar rock. The playing is always tasteful with every theme introduced quite simply and then being given ample time to build and expand until reaching a dramatic conclusion, at which point there will be a release and a retreat back to another calming rebirth. It is broken into two parts with the first being longer and probably the more complete of the two although after you've heard the album many times, the "point" of the second part's eccentricities begin to unfold. There are incredibly beautiful, calming female chanted vocals that create such an otherworldly, celestial feeling. This type of vocals would be used again quite successfully on Incantations and become a notable part of the "Oldfield sound." At the beginning of part two there is a dark and turgid swamp of what sounds very much like synths, but surprisingly the section is created by Oldfield assembling an army of layered electric guitars writhing over each other. He fooled me, I always thought it was keyboards until I read about this album. There is also an amazing use of pipes and a Celtic flavor that gives the album great depth. The album closes with a short folk piece called "On Horseback." I have read many reviewers over the years chastise this little song and I couldn't disagree more. Horseback is a complete and absolute delight that will knock you right back to the innocence of childhood. It is shamelessly sentimental but more importantly absolutely effective at concluding a challenging listening experience with an easygoing treat, think of it as a homemade slice of desert after a perfect meal. It adds much to this carefully crafted album and I think it was genius for Mike to place it there.
If you are new to Mike Oldfield and wondering where to start, look past the hype of Tubular Bells and grab this one. You have the purest essence of the 70s Oldfield here with the exception of Incantations, but this one is slightly more accessible and condensed down to perfection, whereas Incantations is very long and requires more patience. An essential title that will actually make itself a part of your life if you allow it to. If you obtain this album as a young person I assure you it will eventually be a member of your family in a few decades. It is that special. I believe 5-stars ratings are to be withheld for only the MOST RARE of occasions and Ommadawn is a case where I'm grudgingly forced to cough one up. Dang it!
Jim

Aaaaaargh. Ommadawn.
My entry album in the Oldfiled world back in 1975. Another laudatory review from Piero (one of the most eminent Belgian rock-critic ever) in my weekly rock pages was the kick to buy this album. And I have never regretted it of course.
IMHHO, it ranges amongst not only the best work from this artist but it is also an album that I still listen to it with lots of pleasure (like tonight for this review).
There are some fabulous and melodic moments during this (short) album. Fantasy, poetry, beautiful sounds. Truly folkish at times (with beautiful flute play) it is an enchantment to my ears and I very much like to spend almost forty minutes to listen to this excellent work full of great musical ideas.
The one album I prefer in the long Oldfield career. I am of course biased. But to recognize this is as good as being forgiven. I guess that some of you can understand that when one discovers a very good album during its teenage days, it is not illogical to pack it up into a more elegant form as it might probably deserves.
But this is how I feel. I really like Ommadawn. I know every inch of it and I am always thrilled when I got a spin on this great work. I was of course intrigued at the time with the lyrics at the end of the first side. Remember, in 1975 it was not as easy to get the lyrics and any information about these as nowadays.
So, Abyul Annie Id Yadored En Yab Na Logga Toch No Awed Tor May On Ommadawn Egg Kyowl Ommadawn Egg Kyowl Aaahhheeaahh Kyowl were rather incomprehensive. But the wonderful crescendo of this last section (of part one) is just sublime. At least to my ears.
I have always felt that side two was a little weaker (but most of Mike's work sounds like this - sorry Mike). Still, side two is the absolute complement of this great work. It starts on a gorgeous and symphonic part. Maybe a little long to start, but when it does : boy! This is heaven again (sorry for being so lyrical, but this is just how I feel).
Every time I am reviewing an album which speaks so much to me, which is an integrant part of my old body, of my youth, I have the same feeling. Maybe some might call this over-emotional. But I don't care. So am I. But since I received positive feedbacks on such reviews, I guess that it is just normal to express myself this way.
Ommadawn is a beautiful album. It is my fave Oldfield work, it holds so many souvenirs. So, yes : five stars is the rating. Well done again, Mike (even if it won't peak at the first spot in the charts).
Daniel

One of the most magical albums you'll ever hear. This is something truly unique and special, and it will make you feel one with nature. A masterpiece... no question.
This album really strikes a chord with me, and as such is always a very emotional experience.
1. Ommadawn Part 1- Starting out with a very hypnotic and relaxing theme, the song progresses further and further with absolute perfection with regards to timing, structure, and musicianship. Oldfield really must have been feeling inspiration when writing this song. The guitar playing is comfortable and relaxing, the synths are enveloping and majestic, and the drums and other accompanying instruments assist in making the magic. The Celtic, folk, and other influences work wonderfully here to add to the atmosphere of relaxing out in the breeze. Wow... this truly has to be heard. So many highlights! Flawless. 10+/10
2. Ommadawn Part 2- This one starts where the last part left off, and I really see both parts as one large track. The intro is swirling and haunting in a gorgeous sort of way, and then the song unfolds itself further to your ears. When this song transitions from haunting and crowding to a more nature-esque feel is when I really start to love it even more. The guitar is so emotionally played and the atmosphere is wonderful. My favorite part of the entire album is also on this part... the bagpipe section. How amazing! This is genius on so many levels. Flawless. 10+/10
If you're missing out on this, then what are you doing reading my review?!
Along with Amarok, Oldfield's finest moment. Whereas Amarok is more challenging and chaotic in some aspects along with its subtleties, this journey is much more down-to-earth and innately beautiful with regards to nature.
Buy this. You won't regret it.
Alex Browne

Mike Oldfield's third release is still his most beautiful and complete work ever. If Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge were promising, then Ommadawn is his crowning achievement. Beautiful music that touches the heart, mind and soul. Not a single note wasted in the whole record that acts like a journey into this genius mind. Great use of every instrument and the melodies are perfect. It is only unfortunate that Oldfiled never did another CD like this one. All helkped by a great production that made the sound very clear for all the many subtleties.
It is very hard to describe this record, for it is quite unique. The pastoral feeling with so many shifting movements, changes and occasional bombastic outburts is really mindblowing! And everyting here works for its natural flow, like if every note was Godsent. The last movement, entitled The Horse Song kind of wraps up this masaterpiece with a stunning end. One of the greatest records ever made and a must have for any fan of melodic music, prog or otherwisse. Don't need to analyse much, just listen to it and enjoy the ride. Five stars with honors.
Tarcisio Moura

For me this is the perfect realisation of the heap of ideas and influences that were Tubular Bells. Gone are the stretched arrangements, disastrous choices when creating dynamics and the unconscious naivety that effectively killed some of the pleasure of otherwise mostly excellent melodies.
The first seconds give away one of the secrets to why Ommadawn is superior to its older brother, with a sense of depth immediately present in the composition. A sort of choral, windy and ethereal backdrop is the perfect way to substantiate the airy guitar melodies on top. Oldfield has this great talent of playing fragile, but powerful music, where the force isn't reliant on volume or riffs or other traditional ways of fattening up the sound. Instead he relies on delivering convincing melodies in an almost endless flow, making the album a veritable feast for melody-loving proggers. On the whole, beauty, youth, friendship, naivety (now in the positive sense) and delicacy is what this album radiates. But there are pending danger, insecurity and drama to be found as well, especially as we move from the lighter beginnings and wanderings into more complex and conflict-ridden motifs. Sublime.
Focusing more on the ambient, flowing qualities that are possible with a 'symphonic' sound, than the more overtly technical aspects of it, while sometimes adding a soft, looped keyboard sequences, creates a generally hypnotising atmosphere that truly works - it pulls you right in to the heart of the music. And when you've reached that, there isn't much turning back. The linear main flow of Ommadawn part 1 never really stops, it just changes perspective, emotion, width and height, emphasising different parts of the music as if governed by a storyteller unseen for us. Many musicians, especially in prog, try to create epic journeys and adventures with their music, but few have the guts to do it like Oldfield. So much is left to discover, nothing is said, and the details and layering feel both independent and meticulously coordinated. You may not realise it, but with the most minimal of changes, a musical uprising is silently brewing, with nervous twitches and rousing bass gradually taking hold of you and making place for a bombastic release of compressed emotion. The big plus is that while I'm so impressed with how dynamic and rich in detail it all feels, there are just none of those rough and forced changes in directions that I mentioned earlier. It's mature and, above all, disciplined musicianship when it feels like the music controls itself, rather than being formed and controlled in the head of a composer.
Timeless is quite a non-descriptive word, but the fact that Ommadawn feels so incredibly fresh and impossible to pinpoint as sounding 70s or anything else guarantee that it will please many fans for many years to come. And by being so free of boundaries when it comes to sound (lacking direction altogether if you don't count the fact that it constantly stimulates your imagination), and deals with genres as possibilities for expansion rather than limitations, it secures a place in the most diverse of music lovers' hearts:
The giddy folk ditties with flute, bagpipes and matching string instruments. The solemn, traditional world music sounds. The awe-inspiring depth, variety and life in textures and timbre. The expressive and bombastic symphonic emotionality. The meditative, hypnotic and pleasing ambience. The chance to enjoy some wonderful guitar, be it acoustic or electric. The experience of picturing your very own movie inside your head, using this as the soundtrack.
Pick a favourite or find something new. You often do when listening to Ommadawn.
5/5 stars.
Linus W.

Possibly, the best MO album ever. Very folky,atmospheric, with bagpipes,some brass, percussion and Pierre Moerlen ( of jazz-rock Gong), it sounds very fresh even now. Still no traces of later pop-rock, synth-pop and even very far from new age ( but I believe that some new age roots are placed it this album's music too).
Just two long compositions, perfectly played,recorded and mixed. I think this music should be named "prog-folk". But it is one of the best examples.
I know many people, who entered MO discography from later ( much more popular) albums and are very disappointed. Please, give Mike one more chance and listen this one! I believe you will change your opinion!
Warning: I don't think this album will be interesting to Dream Theater lovers, metalheadz and neo-prog fans.
Slava Gliozeris

Ommadawn is Oldfield's best album. The approach hasn't changed compared to the previous two albums: two side-long tracks with fluidly flowing Celtic folk symphonic prog, replete with inspiration and Oldfield's sensitive playing, especially on guitars and keyboards.
The first part is just perfect and the album would have been an undisputed 5 star if the second part had been equally strong. It alternates between very slowly brooding melancholic sections and cheerful folksy tunes, featuring plenty of great vocal, synths and guitar arrangements. It's a very atmospheric track, ending on a swirling finale with a tribal percussion and gorgeous vocals and guitars.
The second part is excellent as well but, while entirely pleasant, it doesn't feature the gripping highlights of part one. On Horseback ends the album with a warm pastoral folk song, complete with a children's choir and high singalong campfire potential.
Ommadawn is the album to get if you want to discover Oldfield's qualities as an arranger and composer. 4.5 stars, probably 5 in its sub-genre.
Karl Bonnek

I must say, I completely underrated this man. I liked some albums that I had from him, such as "Tubular Bells", "Five Miles Out", and I don't mind "Crisis", but I never really studied him well. I realized that I needed more albums by Oldfield. So, I got Ommadawn, which was very well reviewed here in PA.
There are some moments in "Ommadawn" that make me want to cry of joy. A beautiful, touching, and delicate album, I loved it immediately. So far, "Ommadawn" is my favorite Mike Oldfield album, and one of my favorite Crossover Prog albums.
Honestly, I can't belive this album was released in 1975: it sounds more like 1995, mainly because of the crystal clear production, and the revolutionary idea of mixing pop, classical, prog, and ethnic music and instruments.
The album's structure is not so revolutionary, but still a very brave thing: two songs, one per LP side. But, like whoever loves Oldfield knows, Mike always had albums with very few songs, and Ommadawn certainly wasn't his first one.
"Part 1" is do far my favorite Mike Oldfield song: 19 minutes of beautiful, touching music, full of amazing moments, that will move whoever listens to it. It starts with a very melancholic and dreamy atmosphere, some more instruments come along with the melody in different parts, like the solo of the acoustic guitar. There's also a sort of chorus, always beautiful and nostalgic. In the chorus, we can hear a nice electric guitar solo. After around 4'30', the atmosphere is enlightened, and the music is more cheerful, especially thanks to the flute. This atmosphere is more typical of Oldfield. The melody changes pretty frequently, but the mood is always the same. Around 7'00'', a very cheerful sounding flute comes in, and a new part of the composition has begun. This one is very much influenced by Celtic music. Shortly after though, the music, despite being still happy sounding, goes to a much lower tone. A beautiful but guitar solo comes in during this part, giving the music more of a Symphonic Prog touch. After the solo, the initial theme is repeated, with a lovely new element, the keyboarded choir. The flute also repeats the theme, and shortly after a new part comes in: percussion, and you can also hear some women singing in the distance. A few other instruments come in this part as well. Around 16'00'' a new theme comes in, a lot more epic and arcane sounding. Lovely use of both electric and acoustic guitars here. Once again, the main theme is repeated, with the use of a different type of keyboards (it might some other instrument, I frankly am not so good in recognizing instruments). The guitar then becomes the main instrument, playing a solo. The ending is a little weird, and since the music stops completely, until the end of the song.
"Part 2" is a little inferior in my opinion, but they are still many memorable moments. The beginning is completely keyboard driven, with also the presence of an organ. It sounds like a cascade of sounds, all playing just a few notes. This is truly a wonderful part. The melody gets clearer after a while, until 3' 30'', where the guitar and bells come in, to richen the sound more. A flute is also present. Everything stops at 5'0'', except the guitar, that still plays, but then that fades as well. A new theme starts, a lot more delicate and beautiful sounding, since this time it is completely acoustic guitar driven. The electric guitar comes in after a while, followed also by the bagpipes, which give the composition a higher level. The melody is wonderful, and it goes on for a while, until around 10'00'' , when the theme is changed, and the mood goes down a bit, and the atmosphere get's a little more mysterious, until around 11'20'' , when the sound get's epic, thanks to keyboards. At around 11'50'', the music get's another twist, this time with a touch of Celtic, like in the short part in "Part 1", the electric guitar goes along as well, with a solo, until the end comes unexpectedly.
There's also in some versions of the album a hidden track, "On Horseride" which includes also vocals, bringing the composition up to 17 minutes, instead of 14. But I'm yet to hear this.
As a conclusion, I say that this is an essential masterpiece, an extremely important album for Crossover Prog and for the whole Prog Rock genre generally speaking.
Nick

Simply Brilliant! The first two albums seemed to be a warmup to Ommadawn. Unfortunately none of his later albums can match this. Incantations comes close but not very. The main differences between this album and the first two are: 1)he starts using synths here, 2)he adds percussion which he will use on later albums off-and-on, and 3)he is now recording on 24- track instead of 16-track. 24-track recording is great for the 'one-man-band' concept but he also has more guest musicians here than previously. This album was remixed by Mike himself as well as being remastered and re-released in 2010. I prefer the original mix but the 2010 version SOUNDS great! A perfect example of what a remaster *should* sound like.
I will admit that I never liked Part 2 as much as Part 1. This makes more sense when you realize Oldfield worked on Part 1 for a few months, whereas Part 2 was written and recorded in about a week. Still, the section on Part 2 that starts with the jig and continues till the end is one of my favourite parts of the album. The "On Horseback" song at the end of Part 2(or on some CD versions is a track by itself) does sound like a children's song. But, maaaan, is it ever a kick-ass children's song! It's a terrific way to end this album. This is one of those albums that I can listen to all the way thru and not want to skip anything. Overdubbed guitars are all over the place, but generally there is nothing here comparable to the 'caveman' part of Tubular Bells or the 'storm' section of Hergest Ridge. Less rock-y for the most part.
Part 1 deserves 10 stars alone. It may in fact be one of the greatest pieces of music ever written/recorded. You have a theme that gets repeated throughout it's 19 minutes. First it appears as a moody synth piece(the synth-bass might really be a bass though), then it turns into a haunting Irish folk melody, and then turns into an African chant. Mind-blowing stuff. In between all that you have many different instruments playing on different melodic sections. The climax at the end of Part 1 is just pure awesomeness. Such a great buildup from African percussion and female chanting to an acoustic guitar rhythm with a hypnotic sequencer part underneath. Then Mike plays some simple but extremely emotional electric guitar lines before you hear nothing but percussion till the track fades out. An absolutely essential masterpiece of prog. 5/5 stars.
Darryl

Hay muchos otros comentarios pero no tiene sentido copiar más.
En definitiva, "Ommadawn" es uno de los discos más perfectos no sólo de éste músico, sino hablando de perfección sonora en general. Tanto por la calidad de cada uno de sus segundos, sonde cada momento es mágico y no tiene desperdicio. Secciones evocadoras llenos de pequeños detalles, el disco abunda en secciones que son pequeñísimas obras maestras y en su conjunto conforman un exquisito viaje que hay que descubrir obligatoriamente.
Otro de los grandes grandes discos super-recomendados del blog cabezón. No existen muchas palabras para describirlo. Escúchenlo... maravíllense... disfruten... envuélvanse en su magia...



3 comentarios:

  1. Terrible discazo.. una obra espectacular! Muchas gracias!!!

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  2. Terrible discazo.. una obra espectacular! Muchas gracias!!!

    ResponderEliminar




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