Tuesday, March 3, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] Music That Shaped Me (Part 2)

Mike Oldfield - Crises (1983)

Continuing my Roll Your Own Life bit of nostalgia, looking at twenty albums that had the biggest impact on my life, we come to the second one - Mike Oldfield's Crises.

It was about this time that I started tabletop gaming, and the friends I played D&D with all had a great influence on me with my music choices. It was my first exposure to cool instrumental artists such as Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis. Even weird and high-concept albums like The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony (what a title)...

It was also my first exposure to Mike Oldfield. I'd heard bits of Tubular Bells when it was on the news and documentaries, and I was fascinated that someone could record a whole album alone playing all the instruments. However, I think it was Coop who introduced me to Crises. Hell, what an album. Everyone remembers Moonlight Shadow as the big single, while Oldfield was trying to get some bigger commercial success - but it was the A Side, the twenty-minute long title track that I was most drawn to. There were loads of cool elements to it - the whole opening in epic, and echoes Tubular Bells a little before you get the vocals bit about six minutes in. Then it changes to the "Watcher in the Tower" bit (about eight minutes in) that always went down a storm with the D&D group, and then builds to this massive musical extravaganza towards the end of the track.

Still cool today.

Side B was filled with individual tracks to be more commercial, leading with Moonlight Shadow (though bear in mind, in the US sides A & B were flipped and an extra track, Mistake, was added), and a handful of other tracks that were pretty cool. I know Shadow on the Wall, Oldfield's branch out into slightly heavier music, was a bit of a fave.

I still have very fond memories of listening to this, and Five Miles Out.

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