TC-V 2466 Islands
Produced by Mike Oldfield, etc. (see Credits below)
Released on October 1987
UK CHART POSITION #29
Find it at GEMM
TC-V 2466 cover  

I t was the whimsy of fate that I should first wash up on the shores of Islands within the archipelago of Mike Oldfield’s musical estates. With no point of reference save for snippets of Tubular Bells on my mental map, I recognized my good fortune at happening upon such a warm and inviting place. Haste being the enemy in the world of musical criticism, I won’t extend my understanding of Islands to cover Mike Oldfield the artist. But, having canvassed this island from side to side, I can at least recount the tale of this isolated expedition in full measure. Islands is separated into two halves, the first featuring the “The Wind Chimes” in two parts. It’s tantamount to musical seafaring, rising and falling as a ship on a tempestuous sea. Oldfield takes his place alongside England’s rich history of musical composers, invoking the imagery of exotic places while prone to England’s affection for pomp, a worldview unique to the English lens. It’s a trait that appears in many English writers, half-moored to the hearth even in their wild discoveries, to which The Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit come to mind. Side two re-casts some of the themes from “The Wind Chimes” as pop songs featuring an array of guest vocalists. When Anita Hegerland is singing, Kate Bush becomes the reference point. Bonnie Tyler shifts that point to Cyndi Lauper. Jim Price suggests Asia/GTR (no wonder since Geoffrey Downes co-produces his cameo, “Magic Touch”). Kevin Ayers is his own inimitable self. It’s an interesting concept, employing the themes as an epic instrumental on the one hand, as parcelled pop songs on the other. The latter connects Oldfield to artists like Tony Banks, who seemed to be pursuing the same goals on Bankstatement. On Islands, however, the sails are always full of wind, his songcraft propelled by the participation of a skilled crew that outclasses the hands available to Banks. I’m sure I’ll revisit Islands some day after I’ve explored other works by Oldfield (Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge beckon from the undiscovered country on my shelves) and place it in relation to other points of interest. In the meantime, no harm done to set sail straight for Islands and drop anchor here for a spell.

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE WIND CHIMES (PART ONE)   
  2. THE WIND CHIMES (PART TWO)    21:47 (total time)
  3. ISLANDS    4:20
  4. FLYING START    3:37
  5. NORTH POINT    3:33
  6. MAGIC TOUCH    4:14
  7. THE TIME HAS COME    3:55
  8. (hidden/bonus track:) WHEN THE NIGHT'S ON FIRE   

    All titles composed by Mike Oldfield

CREDITS

MIKE OLDFIELD --
ANITA HEGERLAND -- vocal chants, vocals
Kevin Ayers -- vocals (4)
Max Bacon --
Tony Beard --
Michael Cretu -- co-producer (7)
Geoffrey Downes -- co-producer (6)
Rick Fenn --
Bjorn J: Son Lindh --
Andy Mackay --
Benoit Moerlen --
Pierre Moerlen --
Micky Moody --
Tom Newman -- co-producer (3)
Simon Phillips -- drums (1,2), co-producer (2)
Jim Price -- vocals (6)
Raf Ravenscoft --
Alan Shacklock -- co-producer (3)
Micky Simmonds --
Phil Spalding --
Mervyn (Spam) Spence --
Bonnie Tyler -- vocals (3)
Richard Barrie -- technical & engineering assistance

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK October 1987 Virgin LP/CD/CS V/CDV/TCV 2466 lyric sleeve
US October 1987 Virgin LP/CD/CS 90645 lyric sleeve
CAN 1987 Virgin LP VL 2466  
GER 1987 Virgin LP 208-650-630 inner sleeve
JPN 1987 Virgin LP VJL-28006 lyric insert
INDO 1988 Virgin CS EV010-9 lyric sleeve (redistribution of TC-V 2466)
YUG   Jugoton LP SVIRG 73221  
UK 2000 Virgin CD 849383 digital remaster
US August 1, 2000 Caroline CD 49383 digital remaster

 

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