To talk about Mike Oldfield‘s Amarok makes me feel I have to show a metal rock lover that Puccini’s Manon Lescaut is amazing. Therefore I try.
Oldfield is known for Tubular Bells (1973) and one hit (Moonlight Shadow – 1983).
His wiki talks about Virgin, Warner then Mercury years, but I see this career as a struggle between the Tubular Bells source (long complex and rich progressive instrumentals) and the… need to sell more albums.
His greatest albums are the first ones, with little good things in Discovery or Tubular Bells II & III. The whole pack, since, is absolutely bad (and it stays a mystery to me, harmonically, I mean). The good albums :
Tubular Bells (1973)
Hergest Ridge (1974)
Five Miles Out (1982)
The Killing Fields (1984)
Amarok was the last album he had to do for Virgin, which he… made it a sabotage (it’s all explained in the wiki) :
“a single sixty-minute track of continuous, uninterrupted but constantly changing music”
- Yes, a bit like Puccini’s music (hundreds of little facets of music).
- Disturbing or crazy events and noises (hits of orchestra, beer can opening, teeth brushing).
- Complex and even sometimes difficult harmonies.
- Gigantic crescendos, like the one in the middle, Ommadawnesque.
- Fabulous harmonies, reverse sounds, and other chaotic pleasures.
- Spoons, shoes, a vacuum cleaner, next to acoustic bass guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, bass guitar, bass whistles, bouzouki, bell tree, bodhran, bowed guitar, cabasa, classical guitar, electric guitars, organs, Flamenco guitar, glockenspiel, high-string guitar, jaw harp, kalimba,mandolin, marimba, melodica, Northumbrian bagpipes, penny whistles, percussion, piano, psaltery, rototom, sitar guitar (a Coral electric sitar), spinet, timpani, tubular bells, twelve-string guitar, ukulele, violin, vocals, and wonga box.
So imagine a one hour record, made of 784 little pieces of great music, sewed with disturbing machines, almost impossible to listen – but if you do, you reach a pile of as many music orgasms as the number of fingers you have.
Yes it’s cousin to Royksopp. Harmonically, I mean. This is a science.
The pattern is :
“A great artist is about, in a crazy move driven by huge work, to build a BIG SICK MASTERPIECE that almost NO ONE can appreciate, except a handful of connoisseurs”.
Well, you can try the end, which is a triple monster crescendo. Go to 44:15, put your headphones on, and listen loud.
Tell me what you think in the comments.
Have a nice day!
I suppose you think that nothing much is happening at the moment
Well, that’s what I want to talk to you all about; endings
Now, endings normally happen at the end
But as we all know, endings are just beginnings
You know, once these things really get started, it’s jolly hard to stop them again
However, as we have all come this far, I think, under the circumstances
The best solution is that we all just keep going
Let’s keep this going in sight, never an ending
Let’s remember that this world wants fresh beginnings
I feel here, in this country, and throughout the world,
we are crying out for beginnings, beginnings
We never want to hear this word “endings”
I know we all want to sit down
I know you want to take it easy
Of course we’re looking for the good
Of course we’re looking for the fresh start