Monday, February 27, 2006

Michael Oldfield -- Hergest Ridge

The Original Mix!!!

This is something that's no big deal to anyone but Mike Oldfield fans. I'm not really even that. It's just that when I was in college, I discovered Hergest Ridge and loved it so much ago that I tended to play it when I went to sleep. A few years ago, I found the CD version, and was surprised when it didn't sound like the version I remembered. A quick Google revealed why -- the CD version was based on a remix that Oldfield did a year or two afterwards. He didn't like the original version, it turns out. It had too many instruments in it, and apparently he'd only done that because he was worried that the way he liked it wouldn't be popular without more layers of sound. So when he did the remix, he took out some of the instruments that he'd originally had on, so the remix was a lot more spare. It was frustrating that I could not hear it the way I was used to it. Some Oldfield fans swear up and down that the remixed version is better. But I had whole hypnagogic epics play out in my mind as I'd go to sleep listening to this music, with animals scurrying in brush, long blades of grass shimmering in the wind, even one time a huge magician's tower, into whose window I soared, with tables filled with crystals and potions and books and little puzzle things... listening to the remixed version was like listening to a Beatles song with the Harrison guitar work gone. It was just WRONG.

So. After years of searching, I got my hands on the original version! And now I can go to sleep listening to it again for the first time in almost twenty years. So good. It's like when Elisha raised that boy from the dead. But way better.

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