Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I got back on Saturday from a very brief vacation to Kamloops. As is my nature on road trips lately, I brought along my mp3 player and my whacky FM tuner thing, that broadcasts the signals from an audio device to an FM station, for ease of listening. The tuner kind of sucks, because the music is always filled with more static than I'd like, and the bass is weak, and blah blah blah, but it's also better than nothing.

I had a collection of Mike Oldfield stuff loaded up on my MP3 player, and on the trip home, I happened to cue up the "Amarok" album -- which isn't realy an "album" in the traditional sense. It's pretty much just a 60-minute track. But it's a 60-minute track of some of the most amazing music you will *ever* hear.

My research into Mike Oldfield in general, and this album specifically, indicates that this was something he put together as a "fuck you" to his label of the time -- Virgin Recores. It was a contractual obligation album. It was something he did to get the hell away from where he was working.

But, even as a "fuck you" album, Amarok is, at times, one of the most amazingly jubliant pieces of music I've ever experienced. Every single time I hear it -- and there have been many times -- there are points where I get chills, points where tears well up in my eyes at the beauty of it, at the joy of it. "Fuck you" albums shouldn't be this much fun.

But this one is.

If you don't know this work, and odds are you don't, you're missing out. And if you don't know Mike Oldfield at all, you're robbing yourself of the gift of one of the finest musicians of the late-20th and early-21st centuries.

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