Amarok is the 13th record album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1990. It is considered by fans to be his most distinctive work: a single sixty-minute track of continuous, uninterrupted but constantly-changing music.
Virgin Records had been trying to convince Oldfield to release a sequel to Tubular Bells, though probably more for the name recognition than anything else, particularly as Oldfield’s contract was due to expire. Instead, he created an album that seems to have been designed to be as much a delight to his fans as it was a frustration to Virgin.
It is next to impossible to isolate any one short, radio-friendly section of Amarok without it seeming out of place, and thus no single could be cut and released separately, nor could the album ever be played on popular radio. Similarly, Amarok has never been performed live in its entirety, though Oldfield has played excerpts from time to time. Oldfield had expressed many times his displeasure at Virgin’s lack of promotion of his works, and Amarok might have been his revenge: a completely unmarketable album that still showcased his talent as a composer and performer. Oldfield did attempt to circumvent Virgin and create publicity for the album by offering a prize of £1000 of his own money to the first person to find the “secret message” hidden within it, although the competition received little coverage and consequently its impact on sales was negligible. The message was actually a piece of Morse code found 48 minutes into the piece and spelling out “FUCK OFF RB”, a direct statement to Virgin chief Richard Branson.
Both Amarok, along with Heaven’s Open (Oldfield’s final album for Virgin) can be seen as a definite “farewell” to the company, and not an overly polite one, either. Along with the aforementioned Morse code message, the album’s back cover reads: ” HEALTH WARNING - This record could be hazardous to the health of cloth-eared nincompoops. If you suffer from this condition, consult your Doctor immediately “. This message could also be interpreted as a skit on the spoof listening instructions on the sleeve of Tubular Bells.
Edited by [deleted user] on 5 Dec 2009, 12:40
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