Mike Oldfield compilation albums have always seemed a bit slap-dash to me; maybe it's the fact that to get a true reflection of the man's work, you have to listen to it in 25min chunks that traditional 'best of' albums just can't fulfill. So, we're left with an album of snippets of his work, which are, at best, a starter to the main course that is digesting his albums whole.
'The Collection' is no different, although in providing a number of snapshots of Oldfield's career, it does the job well enough. Starting off with a 13min section of his most well-known work 'Tubular Bells', we get taken through some of his lesser known tracks such as 'Airborn', and the Eastern-infused 'Sheba'. 'Moonlight Shadow', another of his successful singles that showed Oldfield was capable of banging out a 3min pop song when the mood took him, is a timeless classic, thanks to Maggie O'Reilly's impressive vocals. As a long-time fan, I can recommend practically all of the LP this track comes from, 'Crises' as a rather excellent showcase of his work). 'Good News' sounds like it wouldn't be out of place on the soundtrack to 'The Wicker Man', albeit a 21st Century remake. Some more recent Oldfield tracks, including the Ibiza inspired 'Slipstream', which veers into trance territory, and the orchestral 'Aurora', which sounds like a theme tune to something, are nice additions, and not the traditional Oldfield 'best of' fare, which makes a change.
But do investigate his back catalogue more thoroughly: there are greater gems in there than those included here.
Tracks: Tubular Bells (Two Sides Excerpt)/Ommadawn (Excerpt)/In Dulce Jubilo/First Excursion/Diana (2011 Stereo Mix)/Airborn (Part One)/Guilty (7" Single Version)/Blue Peter/Sheba/Mount Teidi/Moonlight Shadow/Good News/Amarok (Part One) (Two Sides Excerpt)/Slipstream/Sunset/Aurora