Mike Oldfield

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Guitars Review

by Jason Anderson

Ever the sonic experimentalist, Mike Oldfield uses guitars exclusively (strummed, plucked, struck, sampled, etc.) to create every sound on Guitars. Perhaps an intentional response to the composer's previous assortment of electronic recordings, the album suffers from its form-over-substance concept. The more delicate, acoustic material ("Summit Days," "Muse," "Enigmatism") has the meditative, elegant quality listeners would naturally expect from Oldfield. But the crunchier rock guitar ensembles seem to lack Oldfield's usual sense of order and purpose. "Four Winds," an unfinished cluster of distorted racket, really misses its mark. Miscues like this one demonstrate that Oldfield is as awkward with the rock form as he is accomplished with his subtle and meditative electronic creations. Innovative and at times beautiful, Guitars is another interesting experiment from one of modern music's most ambitious icons.

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