Mike Oldfield - Crises (30th Anniversary 2-CD Deluxe Edition)
Mike Oldfield’s eighth album in ten years both harked back to the layered orchestrations of his 1973 debut as well as signalling a growing shift to a more heavily synthetic sound. Aided by the bona fide smash that was ‘Moonlight Shadow’, it became his bestselling album since that seminal debut but whereas Tubular Bells played with variations on a theme throughout, Oldfield was now limiting his more exploratory work. Here, Oldfield sticks to his then preferred format – a single, extended piece on one side and five shorter tracks on the other. The 20 minute title track doesn’t quite grip like its equivalent ‘Taurus II’ from 1982’s Five Miles Out, but its euphoric beats and chiming synths, demonstrating his new-found love for the Fairlight CMI, sound vaguely current rather than 30 years old. You could do worse than introduce it to the Sigur Ros fan in your life.
As with the Five Miles Out re-issue, the extras make upgrading essential. A handful of remixes and b-sides are fairly inconsequential, but it’s the addition of 80 minutes of newly uncovered material from the Crises tour that should sate the hardcore; the inclusion of both ‘Crises’ and the redoubtable ‘Taurus II’ the highlights.