Mike Oldfield / Return To Ommadawn


Mike Oldfield follows up 1975’s Ommadawn in the new year, with Return To Ommadawn, his 26th studio album.

As well as vinyl and CD editions, the new album will be available as a CD+DVD ‘combo’ deluxe edition which features a 5.1 surround sound mix on the DVD. No confirmation, as yet, but I’m assuming this is a standard DVD and not a DVD-A.

Return To Ommadawn will be released on 20 January 2017.


1. Return to Ommadawn (Part one) – 21:10
2. Return to Ommadawn (Part two) – 20:57

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Yes good that Universal will replace. One point is that all records can warp but when Amazon keep them the 140g are less resilient to warping. I’m not sure how anyone has been successful with Universal as I have e-mailed twice with no response. Is there a correct contact we should use?

Chris Squires

I had an email this morning from umusic.com saying that….
“It has come to our attention that a batch of the vinyl for RETURN TO OMMADAWN has been pressed erroneously by the factory on 140gm as opposed to 180gm as stated. It does not affect the listening experience.
We are due to have the 180gm delivered in the next 2 weeks and as soon as stock arrives with us we will send you a replacement.”

Points to pick out are…
a) How big is the batch? or is that just a way of minimizing the issue in my mind. Because they want it kept quiet and don’t want to have to replace everybody’s disc. Or was it just 200 and I was one of the unlucky ones.
b) If it doesn’t alter the listening experience why bother having it on 180g….. you CANNOT have it both ways and say that it is 180g superior sound and then at the same time say that at 140g it will sound the same…. Either / or…. not both. It can’t be both!


Return to Ommadawn .Yes trade descriptions are being broken by advertising as 180g. I think it is 140g and is susceptible to warping before you buy it. I have also complained to the record company.

Rob Puricelli

Disappointed to confirm that the 5.1 disc is not DVD-Audio as claimed on the disc and labelling. It is just a regular DVD-Video disc that carries three versions of the album:

5.1 – DTS 24/48
5.1 – Dolby Digital AC3 16/48
2.0 – 24/48 PCM

Nevertheless, it sounds very good and will make many Mike Oldfield fans happy :-)


Can i obtain 24 bit, 48 khz flac from the dvd ?
I’m wondering if buying 96kHz/24bit downloads or have a physical object :-)

Chris Squires

My copy arrived this morning and on two listens I feel I have a fairly good initial grip on it.

Have you ever had a situation where somebody asks you if you want a coffee or a tea? You ask for tea, but they make coffee by mistake and don’t tell you. So you start to drink the coffee thinking it should be tea and everything is off, it is a strange feeling until your brain catches up and think this isn’t tea it’s coffee and suddenly everything is ok again.

This is the small problem I had this morning. The album is called Return to Ommadawn and I started listening with the thought of Ommadawn in my head and this is the issue. As “Return to Ommadawn” everything is off, like the tea / coffee. I could barely hear anything that took me back to Ommadawn. Everything was not looking good until my brain caught up and realized this isn’t Ommadawn, It’s Amarok. Start listening with the title “Return to Amarok” in your head and everything suddenly slips into place. In fact with the world wanting everything shortened by portmanteau it should be “Return to Amager” or “Return to Voyarok”. This album sits somewhere in between Amarok and Voyager in my head. Both brilliant albums, so that is no bad thing.

I think there is one thing missing even once you get the title sorted in your head. Danny Boyle said in the BBC documentary that what Mike excelled at was taking a bunch of ideas and linking them into a coherent whole. He is right and most of Mike’s albums succeed, not just because of the ideas, but because of how Mike links these ideas together. This seems to be missing from this album. The ideas are there but I am not sure they are linked into a coherent whole. Thinking of Ommadawn (and of course TB, HR etc) I can hear in my head how the themes locked horns with each other as he moved from one to the other. I didn’t hear much on this album that moved smoothly from one theme to another.

As Return to Ommadawn this would only get a 5/10 from me, but as Return to Amarok it gets a solid 7/10


I understand the ProgRock-cliches comments above. Still I like the cover a lot – though the type font is no good choice IMO.
My first idea about the cover and its relation to Ommadawn, was based on the “idiot” meaning of the word. Thus only an idiot (with his stag pale) would stand up lonely against a huge army carried by a gigantic turtle. But according to wikipedia MO denied that idiot meaning, … so … I don’t know.

Amarok would be great, but I am totally bugged by the very loud sound snippets every now and then – making it not listenable to me.

don cooper

I am a MO listener from TB1 release date at Brum Virgin Records.
(Nice to have the above Abbey Road half-speed 180gm vinyl recently.)
Sadly, he sounds like he is relying too much on what I like to call the Synth Demo Button.
Tax exile status is a debilitating frame of mind it would seem…

Koel Meif

They are announcing the vinyl Return to Ommadawn by Mike Oldfield as a 180 gm press, when in fact it is not. It is a 128 gm standard vinyl. They should correct your info. The sticker on the cover has a mistake!

Chris Squires

This is serious, I have just weighed mine and got the same result under 130g. Paul, I have written a short note on the “Week releases 20th January” thread as I am not used to returning stuff can you do some enquiring and make a post about a possible way forward and get some response from mikeoldfield.com as to what has happened and what they intend to do? If I buy a 1.8litre car I don’t expect a 1.3litre to turn up in it’s place and just have them go “oh well”….

Mike the Fish

HMV also have this (why are they not on the widget anymore?) and they only have a £10 minimum order for free postage. You can also click and collect on some products. I’ve not seen any programmes about the treatment of their delivery drivers either.

[…] Mike Oldfield / Return to Ommadawn (new […]

CJ Feeney

I finally got the downloads for Exposed last night – they are wav files, and at 3.9GB for a double album, that’s quite a high bit rate.

Obviously this doesn’t mean the Return to Ommadawn album will be the same, but it’s promising.

Paul Kent

It’s a great cover. I can’t see how it links to the original Ommadawn, but it’s fine. I won’t be listening to the cover, anyway.


bertielego is right! How did we get into a negative rut, complaining about old Ommadawn and the cover (which really isn’t all that bad). I’m starting again…

Wow, a new Oldfield! I hadn’t known one was in the works. And wth a 5.1 mix. I’m off to order it straightaway. Happy days!


I am very pleased to have a follow up to Ommadawn. I have been listening to Mike Oldfield for 40 years now, and have always been pleased by both his music and the artwork of his albums (as well as his singles/EPs, and compilations) and I am not quite sure I understand all the negatives comments above… He is one of the few artists that are both prolific and delivering quality…


My feelings are ambivalent. I really like his works from the 70s, the Taurus trilogie and Amarok (1990). Then again, quite a lot is pretty much unlistenable as well. The predecessor and successor of Amarok can cause ear herpes. Others, such as Music of the Spheres, sounds too much sugar coated. His constant rehashing of Tubular Bells is ridiculous and does his arguably most important work no favour.

Mike Oldfields talent was once incredibly promising. Imagine he would have a quality scissor in his head like Mogwai have or Peter Gabriel had when recording Passion. His possibibilities would have been virtually limitless. Sadly he gave us sugar coated pop songs. Perhaps he’s a bit too full of himself, perhaps he does not listen enough to good producers, and his lack of general education – I think he left school at the age of 15 – probably doesn’t help either.

Sally Newfield

Cover is awful. That font is cringeworthy. I really hope it is no indication of the music. It looks like a 13 year old drawing of a Lord of the Rings game card.


Sounds more like Return to Telstar

don cooper

I concur.ats!


I agree with the others re Omadawn and the Mrs T. impersonation. It marred it for me too. I didn’t need the memories associated with that voice coming through my speakers. :(


The link that Rob posted, made it sound like a Scottish jig focus, so the cover seems to ‘fit’ that theme. ‘pretty good’ I would say is an overstatement if that is how the track is actually edited.

Philip Cohen

Hopefully, Mike’s new album won’t be ruined by “Loudness Wars” processing, like “Man on The Rocks”. “Man on The Rocks” is unlistenable and fatiguing, especially through headphones.

Peter Muscutt

That cover reminds me of the console game ‘The Elder Scrolls v: Skyrim’ … would like nice in a frame though!!!

CJ Feeney

Incidentally, I picked up the new LP cut of Exposed this week. It sounds fantastic, despite the length of the sides (1 & 3 are both over 25 mins).

The download code isn’t working. I emailed the Sound of Vinyl team and got a reply to say it has not been put on the website yet.

I love the version of Tubular Bells on that album, a high res mix that pulls out the detail would be great.

Chris Squires

The new Exposed is Terrific. Haven’t had a chance to listen to the new Collaborations as yet.

The Version of Live TB I have always loved is the one on the US album Airborne.

I put on the Sam Brown thread before this one opened up that I didn’t like the cover, the font and text colour is absolutely awful. I thought a Phil Collins “take a look at me now” style shot would have been perfect.


Another one who thought that cover art was appalling. Absurdly cheesy and seemingly totally at odds with Oldfield’s folky longform style. Also baffled by the font style and placing referencing the original Tubular Bells cover rather than Ommadawn. Still, the clips so far have sounded nice. I like all of Mike’s longform works; since his first four, Amarok, Songs of Distant Earth and Music of the Spheres have been my favourites of his. So I’m looking forward to this one.

Apparently it’s a 100% Mike solo album (other than a voice sample from the On Horseback section of the first album).


Just found this really good little interview with Mike on a recent BBC6 radio interview on December 8th https://vimeo.com/194807833
Enjoy ;-)


Norbert, I’m with you. Massive Oldfield fan, but that cover is the kind of sub Dungeons and Dragons sixth form guff that I might expect to see on a budget Rick Wakeman compilation, not a Mike Oldfield album. Until now Mike has managed to avoid prog-rock cliches in his career, not to mention that the original Ommadawn had a very English bucolic / pastoral feel to it, so quite how sub-Lord of the Rings fan-art fits that I don’t know. At least I hope it’s no indication of the music. As others have said Amarok was clearly the original return to Ommadawn, and a brilliant one. The cover even reprised the head shot of Mike seen through a rainy window. Still I’m going to buy this for the same reason I suspect most everyone else will, out of a sense of nostalgia for the awe I once felt as a teenager falling in love with Ommadawn the first time. Lexicon of Love 2, Thick as a Brick 2, Oxygene 3…etc. These albums seem to generate more excitement for the artists then anything else they do because they have built in nostalgia for established and beloved works, which quite often turns out to be rather tenuous anyway, and almost without exception disappointing. I guess it must be our fault that the artists do this, we don’t buy their records when they don’t connect it to something we already know and love. Same in the movie industry, revivals and remakes of old franchises seems to be dominant in a way they never were in the past.

Tom of FIN

Spot on Keith, hopefully this generic type cover in its genre is no indication of music. Certainly does not obtain connection to part I aesthetics.

Simon Long

Couldn’t agree more about the cover – can’t understand why people are raving about it. Leaving aside the hideous cliched nature of it (as you say, all D&D / LOTR guff, which has nothing to do with the music), it’s got no continuity at all with the original Ommadawn cover. It’s just a generic piece of bland “fantasy” artwork that someone without much taste picked out of a catalogue. Yuk.


WOW !!! I love the guitar part towards the end on that sound snippet….come on Rob that is Mike’s classic guitar sound blasting out there don’t you know…A thumbs up from me of what I’ve heard so far.


From the sound snippet, the guitar part was the best part ! I am going to listen to this album when it comes out. So let’s wait and see how good or bad this album is.


Kai, thank you for the link!
As a long time fan, I went for the CD/DVD + print + T-shirt bundle… And couldn’t resist for the LP either!


I am disappointed what I have heard so far. But judge for yourself, here is an excerpt from “Return To Ommadawn” : https://vimeo.com/194708518

One of my favorite Mike Oldfield albums is “Discovery”. I don’t think that “Return To Ommadawn” is gonna be as good as this one.


And here I was thinking the cover art was awful. That said, I love Amarok, too and consider it his best work.

Jarle Lilledal Nyvoll

Does anyone know if his sister Sally is involved in this project? Big fan here…

Bob d

Nope, Its all just Mike and a sample of the Penrhos kids, thats what he said anyway

Terje Nyvoll-Todnem

Me to:)

Nigel A.

WOW! If the album’s as good as the cover art Mike’s gonna hit a home run with this album! Let’s hope this is the start, not finish, with respect to follow ups to Mike’s previous works… How about doing ‘Return To Amarok’ next please, eh Mike?! :-D BRILLIANT!

Kenneth Tilley

It’s worth buying for the cover art alone, Can’t wait to see it LP size

Tom of FIN

You mean that larping emulating graphics with a turtle or a snake head lurking in the cave?


Amarok is now regarded very highly in Oldfield fan circles, it is superb

Nigel A.

^^^ I could not agree more! IMO his BEST ;-D

CJ Feeney

I’m afraid the Mrs T. impersonation keeps it off my turntable. If it could just be edited out!

Anyone asking for Amarok 2 – could you cope with an impersonation of Theresa May?

Adam Shaw

Agree , for old heads it’s not his best , the Thatcher impersonation also dated it .
Heard a clip of the new piece on BBC Radio 2 which sounded promising.
Puts Robert Reed in his place as another impersonator.

Charles K.

Looking forward to this one, that cover art is outstanding!!

CJ Feeney

I thought Amarok was the “sequel” to Ommadawn. The African segment etc. It wasn’t very popular at the time, though.

Nice cover btw. A package with the art print (at the rtist site) may be worth having

Kai Karkkainen

Oops, the correct website address is:
My apologies…

Kai Karkkainen

Various LP, T-shirt, Print, CD, CD / DVD bundles are available at shop.virginemi.com/mikeoldfield. As a longtime fan I went for the CD / DVD, T-shirt & Print bundle :-)


Return To Ommadawn will be released on 20 January 2017. ;)