Mike Oldfield, Return To Ommadawn. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

The gray mist of dawn is something we rarely see or feel anymore, unless we are fortunate to live in the wilds, the spectacular almost foreign fields, the wide outdoors with its forests and glens, its raging tormented rivers or its stone valleys, the dawn mist is anything but enticing, it is a languid orange white, polluted by yesterday’s disappointments and about as inspiring as a cold bath in the Arctic Circle. The gray mist in the hands of Mike Oldfield though is a wonder to behold, Time is endless, it has the draconian sense of a future set in stone and seemingly unavoidable and yet small cracks, fractures in random places which may signify nothing but when the final blow is delivered, reveals that Time is a mystery shrouded in sunshine.

Mike Oldfield’s Return To Ommadawn is the album that delivers this insight, the orchestral gallery once more taken up by the sheer magnitude and scale of what is too come, the Conductor, the arranger and all parts in between, with some very special influence from instruments such as the banjo, the ukulele, the Celtic harp, and the African Table Drums, this is Mike Oldfield at perhaps his most natural, the sense of the calm and the inner rage both lining up to take shots at the insanity of music designed by committee, this is the deeply personal, a singular event in the imagination of one who has taken many millions down a route where the gray mist reveals Time to be fluid, anarchic and beyond beautiful.

The lengthy and artistic suite that follows throughout is patterned as you would expect of a Mike Oldfield album, the sense of gravitas that sweeps in is enough to send a thrill even through the coldest of bones, this is the sense of majestic that Mike Oldfield brings to all his instrumental pieces; the slow movement and the fast perfect ride, all is here to be explored in this sensuous and well crafted organic machine.

Return To Ommadawn, the sequel to the 1975 album that perhaps arguably many thought would not appear, materialises with passion and style, Mike Oldfield once more providing a place for the lonely voice to be heard by the world.

Ian D. Hall