Search - Mike Oldfield :: Amarok

Mike Oldfield
Genres: New Age, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1

1990 album for Virgin featuring one track, the hour longtitle cut.


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CD Details

All Artists: Mike Oldfield
Title: Amarok
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Plate Caroline
Original Release Date: 1/1/1990
Re-Release Date: 8/22/2000
Album Type: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
Genres: New Age, Pop, Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock, Electronic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 724384938529


Album Description
1990 album for Virgin featuring one track, the hour longtitle cut.

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CD Reviews

Health Warning
James HS | Tennessee | 05/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

""This record could be hazardous to the health of cloth-eared nincompoops. If you suffer from this condition, consult your Doctor immediately."

That appears on the cover notes of Amarok. It's no less true today, although there are more musicians releasing more music that follows along the path that Mike Oldfield was on when he wrote it. If you only like pop, it's probably too dense.

I thought Tubular Bells was kind of OK, but that was all, really.
The first MO recording I bought was Boxed, because I could get Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn along with some other music he did with David Bedford.

I always rated Ommadawn the best of his music until Amarok. Amarok is a progression; different, great, but not necessarily better than Ommadawn.

As before, most of the instruments are played by Oldfield, with a few exceptions by regular Oldfieldites such as Clodagh Simonds, Paddy Moloney, and Julian Bahula.

It might sound like an ambigous bad mix of different sounds, with some separate themes jumping in momentarily and leaving in the same way. But that's only likely on the first few hearings, or later if you're one of the nincompoops previously referred to. Sorry, but that's the way it is ;)

There are some great short 5 minute segments, but to separate them would be to ignore the fact that they are parts of the whole.

I don't believe you can let the music do its job without paying attention to the way you listen to it.
Don't prepare dinner with it as a background. Sit in a quiet room with no distractions. Put on the headphones - a good pair, not the $50 off the shelf variety, because a good pair will really make a difference.
Sit back, and listen.

I bet you could make love with it in the background, though. Now there's a thought......if only. Woah.

What you will hear, if you give it a chance, is a piece of music that's been composed almost in a 'classical' way.

It's like a meal. It has ingredients that are different alone, but together make something unique. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But that's usually the case with Mike Oldfield, even for something like the Mt. Teide track on Five Miles Out.

There are themes that gradually surface, sink back down, and then rise up after 20 minutes with a sparkle that wasn't there before. And it happens the other way round, too.

There are mumblings in the background that, when you hear them and recognize them, tie all the segments together. Once you've got to that point, you'll never hear the music again as a collection of different things.

It has samples (made by Oldfield from his own playing, not pre-recorded commercial ones), sounds that people don't call music so much (toothbrushing, walking, phones, things falling onto the floor, etc), but all those things had already been done by more people you can think of (Pink Floyd, Beatles, Hans Werner Henze, etc).

There is the usual signature Oldfield guitar method, with stabs and runs that you might expect.

A dash of Celtic, a measure of African drumming.
Some flamenco guitar, some funky rhythms.

Some nonsense lyrics. (He always said the Ommadawn stuff was made up by Clodagh, but Omadhaun is an old Irish word meaning simple or foolish.) The Amarok vocals are not meant to be understood as vocals are usually in modern popular music. They aren't songs, they don't have some romantic meaning. They are a part of the music. Sounds, only, not words. The meaning is in the music.

There are no revelations of divine truth on this, no social commentary (aside from Janet Brown's Thatcher impression, which might be a bit strange sounding for people who never lived during her time).

The Thatch.... there is a lot of humor in Amarok. One part ends, and before the next begins there's a one-second pause. In that single second you can just make out Oldfield going "uh" in tune with the two parts. Corny, but funny. He might be laughing at himself, but I think he just plain enjoys what he does. There are so many little pieces that make the work into a whole. It must have been a hell of a job to put together, time consuming.

Worth every second, Mike me old mate.

If you don't get it from the first, Amarok is something that will grow on you with more listening.

Maybe it's the kind of music I've heard so much of, but after a couple of listens I found the melodies coming back and wanted to whistle them. Maybe that's not such a good idea for me to do. But I never did find it very difficult to enjoy.

If you don't like it, you can always turn it down or sell it.
But if you like music with a bit of something more than the usual, then you will most likely love Amarok. It's not perfect. Nothing is., But 16 years on, it still rocks."
Mike Oldfield is the Man of Melodies again.
Fernie Canto | Brazil | 07/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mike is free to do whatever he wants. And he does. This album is funny, challenging, insulting, gorgeous, crazy and violent. Many artists have used noises, sounds, exotic instruments and arrangements in the past. But Mike Oldfield isn't using these as the main feature of the album. The music is brilliantly written, with defiantly simple, but utterly gorgeous melodies in every place. It is rich and touching, emotionally resonant, and it is able to deflate itself at strategic moments with Margaret Thatcher immitations, dissonant bits and messages in Morse code. The music is sincere and genuine, and highly replayable. There are many ways to listen to this music, and every single one of them is highly rewarding. Truly a masterpiece: an untrivial, gorgeous album that challenges insults and mocks its listeners. It could be Oldfield's own "Trout Mask Replica", in fact, and is every bit as amazing as Captain Beefheart's tour-de-force, if not even more."
Still Amazing After 18 Years
Kennedy Brandt | California, USA | 09/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This isn't a symphonic album. This isn't a groove album. This isn't a pop album. This isn't easy-listening background music. This is Mike Oldfield at his bravest, funnest, most confident, and most inventive. Originally conceived as a sequel to OMMADAWN, many years before, AMAROK bears a few similarities to that album but for the most part strikes out on its own. And while limitations of the vinyl and tape formats split OMMADAWN into two pieces, AMAROK gives us a solid hour of music, with rising and falling moods, complex exploration, and stunning musicianship. One of Oldfield's top albums, if not the top, right up there with OMMADAWN, MUSIC OF THE SPHERES, and TUBULAR BELLS (the original)."