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Mike Oldfield: The Songs Of Distant Earth

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: WEA International
Released: 1994.10.01
Category: Pop/Rock
Producer(s): Mike Oldfield
Rating: ********** (10/10)
Media type: CD
Web address: www.mikeoldfield.org
Appears with:
Purchase date: 1998.12.05
Price in €: 13,99

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] CD-ROM Track - 0:00
[2] In the Beginning (Mike Oldfield) - 1:24
[3] Let There Be Light (Mike Oldfield) - 4:52
[4] Supernova (Mike Oldfield) - 3:29
[5] Magellan (Mike Oldfield) - 4:41
[6] First Landing (Mike Oldfield) - 1:15
[7] Oceania (Mike Oldfield) - 3:27
[8] Only Time Will Tell (Mike Oldfield) - 4:19
[9] Prayer for the Earth (Mike Oldfield) - 2:10
[10] Lament for Atlantis (Mike Oldfield) - 2:44
[11] Chamber (Mike Oldfield) - 1:49
[12] Hibernaculum (Mike Oldfield) - 3:32
[13] Tubular World (Mike Oldfield) - 3:23
[14] Shining Ones (Mike Oldfield) - 2:59
[15] Crystal Clear (Mike Oldfield) - 5:42
[16] Sunken Forest (Mike Oldfield) - 2:39
[17] Ascension (Mike Oldfield) - 5:48
[18] New Beginning (Mike Oldfield) - 1:33

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

MIKE OLDFIELD - All Instruments, Producer, Engineer

Mark Rutherford - Rhythm Loops
SUGAR J. - Rhythm Loops

ROAME - Vocals

ERIC CADIEUX - Programming

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

CD: 1994 UK (WEA 4509-98542-2) with CD-ROM track; ltd edn
CD: 1994 UK (WEA 4509-98581-2) no CD-ROM track
CD: 1994 UK (WEA SAM-1477) promo; no CD-ROM track; custom ps
CD: 1994 GE (WEA 4509-98542-2) with CD-ROM track; ltd edn; 29 Oct 94
CD: 1994 GE (WEA 4509-98581-2) no CD ROM track
CS: 1994 GE (WEA 4509-98581-4) no CD ROM track (obviously)
CD: 1994 UK (WEA; ...) promo; in film box
CD: 1994 GE (WEA; ...) promo

This album was also released with an interactive CD-ROM track, playable only on the MacIntosh computer.

"It's actually turned out to be a very ambient album. I've tried listening to it loud through large monitors, but I don't really think it works like that. It's kind of made and mixed to be heard more in the background. The guitar sounds I've used aren't like performance guitar sounds, they're more like a force or a colour. They're not defined in space but spread out. Because I was trying to describe the indescribable, I had to do that in a very atmpospheric kind of way. It was difficult -- it would have been much easier to make a rock album or a folk album. I get about 10 new grey hairs every album. "

Mike Oldfield about this album

The Songs of Distant Earth blend together two motifs crafted through Mike Oldfield's atmospheric music. (Both outer space and inner space under water) are the themes of this album, but Oldfield's synthesized artistry comes up short during the course of the 17 tracks, mainly because of the intermittent talking and unnecessary vocabulary that quickly becomes irksome and ineffective. About the music, it is usually Mike Oldfield's differentiation of rhythms or styles on a song to song basis that makes his music thought-provoking and fresh. On this album, the same rhythm lurks through half of the songs, with only smidgens of add-on instrumentation to elevate its flow. Absent is the freewheeling percussion pulses, or the onslaught of strings that so often shower his music. Instead, each track seems flat as his keyboard work comes off gray and bland. Even a few sudden bursts of tempo become short lived, as the pace always falls back to its straight-lined origin. Inspired by Arthur C. Clarke, Oldfield tries to capture the wonder and mystery of the stars and the sea through washes of synthesizer, but his attempt at capturing both themes could have benefited from a multitude of other instruments, as his work usually includes.

Mike DeGagne, All-Music Guide

THE SONGS OF DISTANT EARTH is an enhanced CD. In addition to 70 minutes of music that can be played on any CD player, it includes a CD-ROM track that allows users to travel through a futuristic city. The CD-ROM track also includes a video clip for "Let There Be Light." These multimedia functions are accessible only on Macintosh systems.

Includes liner notes by Arthur C. Clarke.

All songs written by Mike Oldfield. Samples include "Ofelas (Theme)" (as performed by Nils-Aslak Valkeapaa) and "Vahine Taihara" (as performed by Tubuai Choir).

THE SONGS OF DISTANT EARTH is loosely based on Arthur C. Clarke's book of the same title.

Was hat uns Mike schon Freude bereitet - durch seine Tubular Bells oder mit dem gepfefferten Shadow On The Wall und Meckerstimme Roger Chapman.The Songs Of Distant Earth distanzieren sich von der alten Tonart des Engländers: Anstelle charaktervoller Melodien treten seichte Elektronikschnörksel, die Mikes Dudelsack-Gitarre wegrationalisieren und gesampelte Weisheiten wie Only Time Will Tell umranken. Zudem klingen manche Passagen verdächtig nach Enigma. So edel Oldfields Erdsicht ist, seine musikalische Umsetzung geriet wachsweich.

© Audio

Mike Oldfield's The Songs of Distant Earth was inspired by a book by science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who gave the album a ringing endorsement in the liner notes. Of course, the association between literature and music is something more felt than generally understood, and while Oldfield's recording was shot through with sound effects that seemed to relate to space travel (countdowns, etc.), it was less reminiscent of any writing than it was of earlier works by Oldfield. And though by 1996 Oldfield could make some claim to being the godfather not only of new age but of the recently popular version of it steeped in Celtic music (i.e., Enya), he remained grounded in progressive rock so that, with its recurrent backbeat and stately, but penetrating guitar solos, his music continued to seem closer to Pink Floyd than to Windham Hill.

William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide

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