Q (9/00, p.126) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...[It] has the golden shimmering quality of Popol Vuh and Cocteau Twins' VICTORIALAND and is probably [his] second best..."
Personnel includes: Mike Oldfield, Paddy Moloney.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
First things first. Anybody expecting the 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Ommadawn to follow the preceding Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge in reassessing, and sometimes wholly re-evaluating, the work is probably in for a disappointment. While it there is still one aspect of Ommadawn upon which we should all agree, that, beginning around the 15th minute of side one, and continuing until the end of the side, Oldfield created one of the most dynamic, explosive, and, in places, frightening pieces of music ever composed. Percussion races like a heart attack, choirs awaken the dead, and searing guitars pursue one another into oblivion. Reflecting upon the sequence in period interviews, Oldfield admitted that even he was terrified by the sheer passion of the piece. Maybe he did not want to relive old memories (his mother died shortly before Ommadawn was recorded, surely one reason for the sense of pervasive doom that hangs over the finished piece); maybe he simply forgot. But revisiting the tapes in 2010, he certainly subdued the sequence, neutering the mania, halting the horror, and even dispensing with some of the oh-so-effective speaker shifts that made the 1976 quad remix such a revelation. It's a disappointment to be sure, and it would be disingenuous to claim that it doesn't sour the entire Deluxe Edition experience a little. But it is only a little, for elsewhere, the 5.1 Ommadawn is as revelatory as its predecessors, and the inclusion here of Oldfield's long-lost original draft of the piece, labeled a demo but originally intended as the finished piece, makes this set worth every fan's attention. Plus, a newly remastered version of the original 1975 mix leaves everything as it ought to be, and Ommadawn still stands as -- if not Mike Oldfield's greatest achievement (can anything displace Tubular Bells?), then at least his most visionary. ~ Dave Thompson