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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield' (UMe)
Artist - Mike Oldfield

The music of Mike Oldfield is some of the most spiritual, ethereal, reflective and sensual in rock, and above all, incomparable: it's no wonder he is a true British icon.

Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield is a career retrospective, personally compiled and sequenced by Mike himself. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer has worked throughout his career across a staggering variety of music styles: from Folk and Progressive Rock to Jazz, Electronic, Ambient, New Age, World, Pop and even Disco.

So it is fitting that a broad palette of his work is reflected here. On Disc One, he takes us on a musical journey through his more esoteric, experimental side, and on Disc Two you'll find his best loved chart pop tracks and hit singles.

Up first is the haunting 'Tubular Bells (Part One - Two Sides Excerpt),' a 14 minute track that would, at times, fit comfortably anywhere into The Exorcist, and is followed by the looser African-vibe of 'Ommadawn (Part One - Two Sides Excerpt),' and then the vibrant 12 minute 'Crises - Two Sides Excerpt' thereafter.

The quasi Chinese rock opera of vibe of 'The Lake - Two Sides Excerpt' is next, with the frenetic 'Amarok (Part One - Two Sides Excerpt)' ("Happy?") and then (complete with slap bass, telephone rings, angry grunts, some blistering guitar work, and even a Maggie Thatcher impersonator!) 'Amarok (Part Two - Two Sides Excerpt)' follows close behind.

'Sentinel' is next and for its first half is a reprise of 'Tubular Bells (Part One),' it's second half focusing more on some delicate piano playing. The far-out, spaced but-only 3 minute 'Supernova' is next, with the first disc rounded out by both 'Ascension' and 'The Tempest.'

The harder-than-usual 'Shadow On The Wall,' with vocals by Roger Chapman is next, with Reilly again singing on 'To France.' Then comes the beautiful 'Etude' (which was on the soundtrack to the film The Killing Fields), the rock of 'Magic Touch' (sung by Jim Price), and then 'Islands' (which is sung by the unmistakable deep vocals of Bonnie Tyler) all following along next.

The prog-rock of 'Heaven's Open,' with vocals; for once from Oldfield himself, along with some blistering guitar (and also doing his best Roger Daltrey impression), is along for the musical ride next, with the celtic-flavored instrumentals 'Tattoo' and 'Song Of The Sun' thereafter.

The gentle Spanish guitar work of 'Summit Day' follows, and then he culls four songs in a row from his 1999 Millennium Bell album - the truly beautiful, sweeping instrumental 'Lake Constance,' the stern piano work of 'Broad Sunlit Uplands,' and then the renaissance-flavored 'The Doge's Palace.' The second disc closes out with 'Amber Light' (sung by Carol Kenyon and Max Bacon), 'Angelique' and then finally, and with Hayley Westenra on vocals, the wonderfully-operatic 'On My Heart.'