Mike Oldfield - Five Miles Out (CD & DVD Deluxe Remastered Edition)
Here’s a re-issue that achieves all it should and more. Not only can I remember the first time I heard Five Miles Out (a curious, exploratory library rental because class show off Duncan Maitland had Tubular Bells and its hippy dippy musicality had sparked with this moping 13 year old), I can remember enough about its extravagant, over-cooked packaging to snarl at this otherwise exemplary re-package. Missing, sadly, is the vinyl’s most ridiculous design aspect, originally taking up the entire inner gatefold – a 24 line virtual spreadsheet that tracked the recording of epic centrepiece ‘Taurus II’, left to right, from 00:00 to 25:53, all 24 tracks accounted for and a multitude of instruments jostling for space on the mixing board. It’s a multi-colour marvel and it made my greasy teen head spin. Still, something had to give, but bar that, the level of care shown deserves utmost recognition, ephemera from the time and new sleeve notes adding context to one of Mike Oldfield’s best.
The five track side 2 (home to the bizarre title track and the original 'Family Man', later covered by Hall and Oates) is far from shabby but it’s still ‘Taurus II’ that best defines Oldfield’s seventh album, its 25 minute running time home to seemingly hundreds of crazily melodic side roads all anchored by its main riff which, over time, becomes a recurring ‘theme’.
But that’s just part of the deal. As well as this Oldfield-supervised re-master of the original, a DVD containing a 5.1 remix and a second CD of a concert from the 1982 tour add value. The latter is a marvel, found languishing in a dusty vault just recently and sounding as if it was recorded yesterday. Its high spots (‘Tubular Bells Pt. 1’ and the aforementioned ‘Taurus II’, intriguingly reworked for live performance with, crucially, Oldfield’s favoured vocalist Maggie Reilly given more mic time) make upgrading a no-brainer. Spiffing. 30 years on and time to finally replace that vinyl. Anyone know what Hanley Library’s late fees are like?