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- Ursprungligt utgivningsdatum : 2010
- Produkten har slutat tillverkas : Nej
- Produktens mått : 14.1 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm; 142.03 Gram
- Etikett : Universal Uk
- ASIN : B003DO13O2
- Tillverkarens referens : MSE835716
- Antal skivor : 3
Digitally re-mastered deluxe two disc (CD + NTSC/Region 0 DVD) edition of the British guitarist's 1974 album including bonus original demos, new artwork plus a DVD that features 5.1 surround sound mixes by Oldfield. Hergest Ridge was the follow-up Mike Oldfield's groundbreaking debut, Tubular Bells. It gave Oldfield his first UK #1 album, and was actually knocked off the UK top spot by Tubular Bells itself. It is another lengthy suite, reflecting the glory of the countryside Oldfield had secluded himself in following his early global success.
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Listening to the 2010 stereo mix.
Part 1: Beautiful start - lovely separation of the individual elements - the gentle chimes, pipes, organ etc. uh oh - delay driven mandolin not quite tight enough and mixed much too loud - what the hell! The whole thing is out of time - messy. Great composition but messy execution. At about 4 mins we have a new texture with the same tune - the trumpet solo sounds excellent - very strong. That messy bit earlier was just a minor blip (I hope). Then at about 6:30 there is a flipping crazy 'all over the place' transition! Followed by . . . that oboe theme about 8 mins in which is sheer excellence. The winds and voices on this record are just beautiful. I can't help but think that at times they are crowded out too often by very brittle sounding noodly acoustic guitars. As I listen I think again 'great composition but lousy realisation' - and to this day no really definitive mix of this piece (what I am listening to is so patchy and every mix I have heard of this piece is patchy). The Bell texture around 11 mins is purely excellent and pure definitive Oldfield. Then, at 12:16 - what the hell! Stupid strummed mandolin or something (get rid! - what!?). And it keeps on going - destroying the beginning of the wonderful end to side 1. Dep-dep-dep-dep (incessantly). Then . . . Not long until. . Some Oldfield brilliance with the electric guitar texture that happens around 14 mins in. Then the final choral finish which is beautiful, heartfelt and wonderful till the end. Uh oh though - noodly and brittle acoustic guitars come in at some point and threaten to ruin the elegiac vibe. But we get away with it - they were not so disruptive.
Part 2: lovely start. And it keeps up. Although the solo acoustic guitar line is just mixed far too loud rendering everything else (a massive beautiful texture) as background to this monophonic guitar line. Same thing happens later around 8 mins in the build with a mandolin tremeloing too loudly and dominating the texture. The horse-riding / chase section sounds meatier than ever I have heard it - a big sonic improvement. Then in the middle of it a disruptive solo guitar jutting out in the mix ridiculously - uh? The end (from about 15:30) is purely beautiful.
Oldfield has composed some beautiful melodies which ultimately carry this album despite its patchy execution.
In my view the 5.1 mix has the same faults as the new stereo mix - you really have to take the rough with the smooth with this. For every beautiful texture there is a poorly mixed or sloppily played bit that marrs the perfection. I think Mike Oldfield is still struggling with this album (his difficult follow up to TB). It basically needs re-recording/re-mixing without the silly noodling, out of time playing and strange mix decisions. As a composition it is just brilliant - better than TB in my view - it is a clearer more classical piece. I wonder what arch-remixer and 5.1 God Steven Wilson would have done with this - perhaps rendered it the masterpiece it should deservedly be. . .
The second disc's original mix is not as I remember it. I think I had been listening to the 'Boxed' mix which to me was preferable (less rough edges although perhaps duller sounding). Maybe it is just what I have been used to. The 1974 demo version is a curiosity - would be more interesting if the final version had not itself sounded in places rather like a demo anyway.
In summary this is an album that delights and infuriates by turns - 3 stars.
Highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in 70s style analogue guitar/multi-instrumental or film music - Mike Oldfield is one of the masters of the genre.
A definite five star highly recommended purchase.