Return to Ommadawn

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Return to Ommadawn
Studio album by
Released20 January 2017
RecordedDecember 2015–May 2016[1]
StudioOldfield's home studio in Nassau, Bahamas
LabelVirgin EMI
ProducerMike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield chronology
Man on the Rocks
Return to Ommadawn

Return to Ommadawn is the twenty-sixth studio album by English musician and songwriter Mike Oldfield. It was released on 20 January 2017 on Virgin EMI Records and is the sequel to his 1975 album Ommadawn.[2][3] The CD/DVD-Audio set contains a 5.1 surround sound mix of the album.[4]


In March 2014, Oldfield released his previous album Man on the Rocks, which marked a diversion from his traditional long-form, instrumental, and new-age style of music as it featured standard rock songs with vocals. When Oldfield started on his next album he took to social media, asking fans what sort of album they would like from him. He found that the majority of people who responded wished for a long-form, acoustic-oriented one similar to that of his first three: Tubular Bells (1973), Hergest Ridge (1974), and Ommadawn (1975), and learned that the latter had become a particular favourite among fans. This influenced Oldfield to record a sequel to Ommadawn which had been on his mind for some time; his 1990 album Amarok was originally going to be Ommadawn II before the material "went off in its own direction" and the idea was shelved. In addition, Oldfield wished to make the sequel after he logged into an online chat with French musician Jean-Michel Jarre, who said that he was a fan of Oldfield's music and wished to collaborate with him, but considered his music "too acoustic". Oldfield recalled: "This got me thinking. If someone like him believes I'm an acoustic musician, then it showed how important that part of my career has been."[1]


On 16 October 2015, Oldfield posted on his Twitter account that he had started working on music for "a new Ommadawn" for the past week to see if the concept "actually works."[5] Oldfield was aware of the popularity of Hergest Ridge, and used the album for inspiration for Return to Ommadawn. This was the case for the introduction, whereby a folk melody was to start the piece before Oldfield changed it to a more atmospheric one.[6] Ideas were explored further in subsequent weeks, and Oldfield began recording in December 2015 at his home studio in Nassau, Bahamas.[1] Early on, Oldfield realised he was out of practise in his guitar technique as his fingertips had softened, causing pain when playing. He focused on the instrument for three weeks to get up to scratch.[7]

Oldfield began by gathering the necessary instruments that he intended to play on the album and arrange his studio into an environment that he could work in. This involved the purchase of a mandolin, ukulele, and bodhrán.[7] He then decided to record in time with a wind-up metronome, as opposed to a programmed click track, and set up his workspace and Pro Tools software to resemble a 24-track machine that he had used in the 1970s.[8] Oldfield had used Logic Pro software but found it increasingly unreliable, which prompted him to switch to Pro Tools and invest in larger, 4K resolution screens which allowed him to view a 20-minute piece on one display without scrolling.[9][7] Oldfield played sections of the album to his two sons for feedback; one suggested that a part sounded too busy and should instead feature just one instrument, which Oldfield took onboard and has bits that feature one guitar.[9] As with the original Ommadawn, Oldfield left mistakes in the recording to retain a human quality to the music as opposed to a highly produced sound.[9][7]

In May 2016, Oldfield stated on Facebook that the album was finished and that an official release date had yet to be confirmed. Towards the end of recording in late 2016, the Bahamas suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew which caused extensive damage to Oldfield's home, resulting in loss of main power for three weeks. When the album was finished, Oldfield delivered the recordings to Virgin EMI via a backup Internet connection through a small satellite dish installed on his roof. The transfer took around 24 hours due to the low speeds.[6] On 7 December 2016, Oldfield announced a release date of 20 January 2017.[2] On the same day, a 3-minute excerpt aired on Steve Wright's afternoon show on BBC Radio 2.[10]

Return to Ommadawn is the first album since Incantations (1978) that follows the format of having one track per side of vinyl simply titled "Part one", "Part two" etc.[1]


On Metacritic the album has a score of 64 out of 100 based on reviews from 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11] It charted at number 1 in Spain.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All music by Mike Oldfield.

Side one
1."Return to Ommadawn Pt. I"21:10
Side two
2."Return to Ommadawn Pt. II"20:56



All instruments played by Mike Oldfield.[13]


  • Mike Oldfield – production, engineering, inner cover photography, 5.1 surround sound mixing
  • Paschal Byrne – mastering at Audio Archiving
  • Miles Showell – half-speed vinyl mastering at Abbey Road Studios
  • Daryl Easlea – project co-ordination
  • Rupert Lloyd – illustration
  • Phil Smee – artwork


Chart (2017) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[14] 61
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[15] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[16] 31
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[17] 21
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[18] 2
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[19] 28
French Albums (SNEP)[20] 44
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 3
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[22] 4
Irish Albums (IRMA)[23] 43
Italian Albums (FIMI)[24] 26
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[25] 23
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[26] 45
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[27] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[28] 38
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[29] 8
UK Albums (OCC)[30] 4


  1. ^ a b c d Dome, Malcolm (8 December 2016). "Mike Oldfield Returns to Ommadawn". Louder Sound. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Mike Oldfield on Facebook". Mike Oldfield. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Mike Oldfield's Online Store". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Mike Oldfield's Online Store - Return to Ommadawn CD/DVD". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Mike Oldfield's Twitter". Mike Oldfield. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b Pettersen, Hogne Bø (24 January 2017). "Mike Oldfield: – Technology finally caught up with me". The Domino Elf. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Yates, Henry (22 September 2017). "Mike Oldfield: "It's the age-old story. Out of suffering comes beauty"". Music Radar. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  8. ^ Kaill, Gary (3 January 2017). "An Ommadawn Chorus: Mike Oldfield's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Easlea, Daryl (14 February 2017). "Mike Oldfield: "I used to think 'What's gone wrong with the world?'"". Loudersound. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Steve Wright in the Afternoon: Jennifer Aniston, Aled Jones and Mike & Beth from GCHQ". BBC. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Critic reviews for Return to Ommadawn". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Lescharts - Return to Ommadawn". Lescharts. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  13. ^ Liner notes to the Return to Ommadawn album, Virgin EMI Records, 20 January 2017
  14. ^ "ARIA CHART WATCH #405". auspOp. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  15. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  16. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  17. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Czech Albums – Top 100". ČNS IFPI. Note: On the chart page, select 201705 on the field besides the word "Zobrazit", and then click over the word to retrieve the correct chart data. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  19. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  20. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  21. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2017. 4. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  23. ^ "IRMA - Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  24. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn". Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  26. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  27. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  28. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn". Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  29. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Return to Ommadawn". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  30. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 January 2017.

External links[edit]