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3. Ommadawn

When Oldfield's third album "Ommadawn" hit the market in October 1975, it was the result of almost nine months of preparation and recording.

Oldfield: "I spent a lot of time getting every instrument on it perfect. That's why it took me so long, really. I kept doing each thing until it was perfect, not only emotion and performance wise, but sound wise too. If I hadn't done that you wouldn't have been able to hear half of the things." (Sounds: 31 jan.1976:p.28)

The reviews were mostly positive, and Oldfield says "Ommadawn" is the work he's most satisfied with himself.

"Ommadawn" has a special primary mood. It has many quiet and melodious parts, and it's also full of tension, but the character of the album is always turned inwards or seeking. "Ommadawn" became an emotional matter for Oldfield. It was made at a turning point in Oldfield's life when he decided to break off and seek contact with other people. He moved closer to London. "Ommadawn" was made in a kind of vacuum. The end of part 1 expresses violent tensions, which in the end are released in an outburst of energy. This part is maybe the strongest Oldfield ever made.

A remarkable thing is the use of African drums instead of the usual drums. Traditional rock drums often labels the music, and Oldfield invited an African drum group, "Jabula", to the studio. He listened to them for a whole day, and he decided to use them on "Ommadawn".

All of "Ommadawn" is based on an old English folk tune, a very simple, almost childish melody bit.

The tune opening "Ommadawn" is build around this melody. Oldfield discovered by accident, that this tune can be used as canon as well. He uses this at the end of the album.

All of the tunes on "Ommadawn" are related and are put together into a whole composition.

Oldfield: "I'm more conscious of what's worth recording now and I'm trying to make the material much more related. At the same time I'm attempting to make music that I'd really like to listen to. When I sift through other people's music, there are always bits and pieces that I like and I want to make a whole record like that. I go downstairs and play piano for an hour or two and nothing happens. Then something does, and I needn't have an instrument at hand. Taking walks, for instance, which I do quite a lot, I suddenly discover I'd invented a walking tune, and I've been humming it to myself for the last few walks." (Supplement to Mike Oldfield "Boxed":1976)

The tunes of "Ommadawn" are also related to tunes from Oldfield's earlier albums, e.g. "Hergest Ridge". He also got inspired by David Bedford. These two worked together for a while before "Ommadawn".

Created: 18 August, 2004 - Last changed: 18 August, 2004 - Comments (0)