Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I was thinking about music the other night and realised I had forgotten about Mike Oldfield.
And yet I think he is one of my musical teachers.
Tubular Bells was and is an amazing work. Not only the music which is sublime, but in its very existence. For all his faults I think we need to thank Richard Branson for this. The world of pop music was not unfamiliar with extended works, but these were mainly prog rock & somewhat marginal. Here was a lyric combination of folk, a little rock, humour, lightness, melody which was captivating - being on the exorcist soundtrack probably helped, but on its merits it was a hit.
Hergest Ridge, Omnadawn and the double disk incantations continued the longform structure, and while not as groundbreaking or commercial, are great albums.
I followed Oldfield for a while after that as he moved into albums with separate tracks and vocals. Ok the earlier albums were movements segued into each other but they were more of a whole than an album of tracks. And then, perhaps recognizing this, he started doing all sorts of extra tubular bells II, 3, millennium, 2003 ...
Apparently it's 40 years old now - but I still love those first 4 albums. They opened my mind to long form music - helping me get into classical music later. And when riding I often sing the song from Hergest Ridge. Hey and away we go....