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All New Song of the Day (no Levellers)


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I've praised it for 25 years to anyone who can't run away. I've probably listened to it more than I've watched Brookside. I bore the arse off anyone who's not muted me on Twitter about it. This is

NSFW.  

All the KLF chat means this is my song of the day   

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Mike Oldfield - Music From The Balcony

Recently found out that this was his last track from his last album with the main Virgin Records brand, having fallen out with them - the song ends with laughter and an audible "fuck off" aimed at them.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/14/2021 at 3:30 PM, Carbomb said:

Mike Oldfield - Music From The Balcony

Recently found out that this was his last track from his last album with the main Virgin Records brand, having fallen out with them - the song ends with laughter and an audible "fuck off" aimed at them.

 

Mike Oldfield stuff (especially his 80s stuff) literally mostly sounds the same. Listen to "Moonlight Shadow", then listen to "Innocent", then listen to "Shine" with him and Jon Anderson. His "The Killing Fields" soundtrack is bloody awful. He had to get in John Lennon - "Imagine" to save it. He's a bit overrated. My Dad (RIP) used to play his stuff constantly. It's mostly him on a guitar with about 25 people around him. Even on that "Exorcist" tune, he's just strumming away a bit on his bass guitar. I like his stuff, but people talk about him like he's this "prog rock" God when he really isn't, IMO. I do have a fondness for old Mike though.

Edited by bAzTNM#1
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4 hours ago, bAzTNM#1 said:

Even on that "Exorcist" tune, he's just strumming away a bit on his bass guitar

He wrote it and played nearly every instrument on the record. But yeah, just strumming his bass guitar. 
 

 

4 hours ago, bAzTNM#1 said:

I do have a fondness for old Mike though.

(Not gay)

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7 hours ago, bAzTNM#1 said:

Mike Oldfield stuff (especially his 80s stuff) literally mostly sounds the same. Listen to "Moonlight Shadow", then listen to "Innocent", then listen to "Shine" with him and Jon Anderson. His "The Killing Fields" soundtrack is bloody awful. He had to get in John Lennon - "Imagine" to save it. He's a bit overrated. My Dad (RIP) used to play his stuff constantly. It's mostly him on a guitar with about 25 people around him. Even on that "Exorcist" tune, he's just strumming away a bit on his bass guitar. I like his stuff, but people talk about him like he's this "prog rock" God when he really isn't, IMO. I do have a fondness for old Mike though.

bAz, always got time for you, but this is keech. I'm a fan, so I have heard pretty much all his stuff, and yes - he can get samey with certain tracks (quite a few of his albums have been an effort to make a sequel to Tubular Bells), but across his entire discography, which is pretty extensive, there is a whole load of new and unique stuff. It's definitely not just him "strumming away a bit on his bass guitar" - as Keith pointed out, Tubular Bells was him playing every single instrument. What's even more amazing is that the version he originally pitched the record companies with, he made just using an old tape machine that had only two tracks going one way and two the other until he covered the erase head with some tape two get four tracks in the same direction. That's the level of budget here.

Moonlight Shadow may also sound like a couple of other songs (primarily Man In The Rain), but it's one of his biggest hit, and he has this tendency to try and find the next hit based on what was popular before. Still only accounts for a couple of songs. 

I'm not uncritical - Earth Moving is a very poor album, and most of Platinum is very unmemorable. Same with big chunks of QE2, and Amarok. And Tubular Bells III was all over the place with some nice bits, but ultimately came across as Oldfield rushing to get the trilogy completed. I'm not really a fan of The Killing Fields soundtrack - it's OK, but it doesn't feel like Oldfield.

But there's still plenty of original, great stuff - for me, Tubular Bells II is THE best Tubular Bells album: the sound is more polished, the mystic, yet futuristic sound is beautiful and welcoming, and individual tracks, like Weightless, Dark Star, The Great Plain, and Maya Gold are some of the best soundscapes you'll ever hear. Plus it has Alan Rickman (credited as "A Strolling Player") doing the Master of Ceremonies bit that Viv Stanshall did in the first TB. 

The Songs of Distant Earth, which he based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel, is a gorgeous love-letter to sci-fi and is one of my favourite albums. Five Miles Out is a weird mix, but it's evocative as hell. The Millennium Bell has a whole host of history-inspired pieces that tell a (limited) story of the millennium that keep you engrossed from start to finish - some of them could be film soundtracks. Voyager draws on that 90s obsession with Celtic myth superbly, with a mix of "ethereal" Celtic stuff and traditional folk tunes re-made into Oldfield-style soundscape feasts. Guitars, one of his more low-key efforts, is Oldfield making every single instrumental sound, including drums, with just a shit-ton of guitars, and it's stunning, especially the opening track, Muse. His out-right classical album, Music of the Spheres, is grandiose and spectacular, and you can really hear the idea that this is what music might sound like if the planets across the galaxy were consciously making music. His second ever album, Hergest Ridge, is very under-the-radar, but it's just a long walk in the countryside, and it's lovely.

In between all of these have been some decent albums, like Heaven's Open, Discovery, Crises, Light & Shade, and Tres Lunas, which aren't blow-your-mind amazing, but have Oldfield frequently trying new stuff and making some very audible efforts to vary up his sound quite drastically - Light & Shade, mainly the Shade section, is him trying his hand at trance and prog house, and it sounds very different to the usual DJ fare. Tres Lunas is a straight-up electronic chill-out album, but again with that Oldfield melodic sound. Heaven's Open is a mish-mash of everything, and even includes him doing a reggae track, for fuck's sake.

I don't see how you can call him over-rated when he's released nearly thirty albums, and people only remember him for the first Tubular Bells tune (and not even as that but as the theme tune to The Exorcist), Moonlight Shadow, and the newer theme to Blue Peter. If anything, he's quite under-rated.

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