Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mike Oldfield - Return To Ommadwan Album Review

Return to Ommadawn is Mike Oldfield's twenty-sixth studio album, and it is a sequel to his third album, Ommadawn from 1975. It should be emphasized again that the album is a sequel and not a re-recording.

He began working on the new album in the later part of 2015, and finished in November of 2016, and Mike Oldfield is pleased to present the new album as a pure solo work.

I’m the only musician who is involved. I play everything. There are no guest appearances whatsoever.” - Mike Oldfield

In pre-release promotion for the new album he went on to say that the suites that make up parts one and two were specifically designed for the for the album vinyl format. Stating that “I tend to think of them as being side one and side two of an LP. This was deliberately done because I love vinyl and the way it brings people closer to music. As far as I’m concerned, if you listen to downloads, that has the same impact as what you hear in a lift! Of course, the album will be made available in all the usual formats. But for me it’s the vinyl one that matters. The cover is very elaborate, and there will be a gate-fold sleeve. This will have hundreds of photos I’ve taken of all the instruments I’ve used in the recording sessions. The aim is to give everyone hours of enjoyment as they try to identify all of these, and what roles they might have played in the making of the record.”

In this new album you'll find all of those things that make Mike Oldfield music so easily identifiable. There is a strong Irish / Celtic influence in all of his work and these things are mingled well with English influences. It is an instrumental piece of music in two parts. The only vocals found are short samplings taken from the first Ommadawn, and they'll be found in short sequences in both parts.

Mike Oldfield elaborated further saying: “Looking on social media, the first three albums 40 years later are still everybody’s favorite, and Ommadawn more than Tubular Bells even. I think it’s because it’s a genuine piece of music rather than production: hands, fingers, fingernails. It didn’t have a goal; it was not trying to achieve anything nor please anybody. It was spontaneous music making, full of life. Doing Return To Ommadawn is like a return to my true self.”

The album is more ambient in essence than anything else, but here that is more than OK. There are many fantastic guitar performance that get wrapped seamlessly and integrated well with the other instruments that bring it all together as a whole piece. The guitar work is very prominent and as always it's Mike Oldfield exceptional.

All instruments played by Mike Oldfield.

Stringed instruments:

Acoustic steel guitar
Flamenco guitar
Bass guitar
Acoustic bass guitar
Celtic harp

Electric guitars

Gibson SG Standard P90
Fender Telecaster
Fender Stratocaster
PRS Signature


Vox Continental organ
Hammond organ
Farfisa organ


African table drums
Penny whistles in various keys &
Northumbrian pipes

Vocals that appear are sampled from the original 1975 version of Ommadawn.