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Incantations
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Released on November 24th, 1978
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Tracklist
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Side one
01. Incantations
(Part 1)
Side two
01. Incantations
(Part 2)
Side three
01. Incantations
(Part 3)
Side four
01. Incantations
(Part 4)
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Incantations is the fourth record album by Mike Oldfield, released in late 1978 on Virgin Records. The first Oldfield to be divided into more than two movements, it is the second longest work Oldfield has ever released. Originally released as a double album, the current CD issue fits the entire album onto one disc.
Overview
Despite being the longest single work by Oldfield, much of the album can be described as being compositionally minimalist, featuring melodic lines played by only a few instruments at a time.

The album as a whole is unusual in that it makes extensive use of the circle of fifths as an accompaniment to many of the musical ideas. Since this musical structure requires that each idea be modulated through twelve keys, before the next is introduced, more time is required to develop each idea, so that each section unfolds more slowly than is usual in Oldfield's work. A byproduct of this musical structure is that most of the album is not in any one key, but cycles continuously through them all.

Incantations was recorded at Througham, Mike Oldfield's home after he completed Ommadawn. It was during the creation of Incantations that Mike Oldfield underwent the assertiveness training course Exegesis, and almost immediately thereafter Oldfield went on his first solo live tour around Europe with Incantations.

The lyrics in "Part Two" are taken from Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha", though rearranged in places to conform more to the music.

The lyrics in "Part Four" are Ben Jonson's "Ode to Cynthia" from Cynthia's Revels, but adjusted again to match the music.
Artwork
The cover was once again done by Trevor Key. The beach in the cover photograph is Cala Pregonda, in Menorca. The current CD sleeve has a different typeface than the original LP artwork (which is shown at the top of the page). Early copies of the album came with a poster featuring a subtly different photograph from the one used on the cover.

The cover photograph used may have been altered by Key. There have been some theories about why this may have been done, although the claim that Oldfield was not actually on the beach is easily contradicted by other photographs from the shoot. It is assumed that Key simply cut and pasted the image of Oldfield onto a slightly different background for artistic reasons.
Miscellanea
• Along with some other pieces of Oldfield's work, a different version of "Part Four" was used for the soundtrack of Tony Palmer's The Space Movie; the lyrics there are from Kathleen Raine's A Spell for Creation.

• When the CD version was released, due to the shorter length of the format at the time (early redbook standards only allowed for a maximum playing time of 74:33), many early pressings unnecessarily have "Part Three" shortened from 16:59 down to 13:49 by cutting from the beginning. When 80-minute CDs became the norm and quality control was increased, the full cut of "Part Three" was restored. All modern pressings have the full version of the piece.
Personnel
• Mike Oldfield – acoustic and electric bass guitars, electric guitars, piano, synthesizers, percussion, electronically processed vocals
With, alphabetically:
• David Bedford – conductor for strings and choir
• Sebastian Bell – flutes
• Jabula – African drums
• Mike Laird – trumpet
• Pierre Moerlen – drums, vibraphones on "Part 4" (credited "Pierre Moerlin" with a typo)
• Sally Oldfield – vocals
• Terry Oldfield – flutes
• Maddy Prior – vocals on "The Song of Hiawatha"
• The Queen's College Girls Choir – vocals

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Incantations (Mercury Records)
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Re-released on July 25th, 2011
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Tracklist
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Side one
01. Incantations
(Part 1)
Remastered
Stereo Mix
Side two
01. Incantations
(Part 2)
Remastered
Stereo Mix
Side three
01. Incantations
(Part 3)
Remastered
Stereo Mix
Side four
01. Incantations
(Part 4)
Remastered
Stereo Mix
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2011 reissue
The album was re-released as part of a deal in which Oldfield's Virgin albums were transferred to Universal's label. Standard and Deluxe versions were available, as well as some signed vinyl copies from MikeOldfieldOfficial.com. The standard edition contained a remastered mix of the album, as well as "Guilty". The Deluxe edition contained the disc from the standard edition as well as a second disc containing singles and other smaller pieces, and a DVD with 5.1 mixes, promotional videos and a live version of the album.

Unlike the first three re-issues in the campaign, there was no surround mix of the album on the DVD, only of the five remixed edits on the 'bonus' CD. Oldfield explained during an interview for BBC Radio 6 that this was because the original multi-track tapes for the album had either badly deteriorated or been lost.

Deluxe Edition track listing
Disc 1
01. "Incantations Part One" Remastered Stereo Mix
02. "Incantations Part Two" Remastered Stereo Mix
03. "Incantations Part Three" Remastered Stereo Mix
04. "Incantations Part Four" Remastered Stereo Mix
05. "Guilty" 7-inch Single Version

• The remastered mix of "Incantations Part Four" included, in the first pressing of the disc, a glitch consisting in the accidental omission of a percussive hit, causing a rhythmical irregularity. According to Universal Music, it was due to an improperly remastered edit point in the original 1977 master tapes. This glitch occurred between 12:36 and 12:38 in the first pressing; in the second pressing, a smaller and less noticeable glitch occurs at 12:40, where both percussive hits are present, but the rhythm still shows a slight irregularity.

Disc 2
01. "Diana" 2011 Stereo Mi
02. "Northumbrian" 2011 Stereo Mix
03. "Piano Improvisation" 2011 Stereo Mix
04. "Hiawatha" 2011 Stereo Mix
05. "Canon For Two Vibraphones" 2011 Stereo Mix
06. "William Tell Overture"
07. "Cuckoo Song"
08. "Pipe Tune"
09. "Wrekorder Wrondo" 10. "Guilty" 2011 Stereo Mix
11. "Diana - Desiderata" 2011 Stereo Mix

• "Diana", "Hiawatha" and "Canon for Two Vibraphones" are remixed versions of excerpts from the original album; "Northumbrian" and "Piano Improvisation" are out-takes from the album sessions (the latter previously used as part of the soundtrack for the documentary Reflection); "Guilty" is based on the original 12-inch mix of the song, but is presented here in a noticeably drier, stripped-off version, which omits all of the reverb on the original mix; finally, "Diana - Desiderata" is a remix of the "Diana" excerpt including, as the title suggests, quotations from Max Ehrmann's famous prose poem Desiderata.

Disc 3 (DVD)
1. "Diana" 5.1 Surround Sound Version
2. "Northumbrian" 5.1 Surround Sound Version
3. "Piano Improvisation" 5.1 Surround Sound Version
4. "Hiawatha" 5.1 Surround Sound Version
5. "Canon For Two Vibraphones" 5.1 Surround Sound Version
6. "Guilty" 5.1 Surround Sound Version
7. "William Tell Overture" Promotional Video, 1977
8. "Incantations Parts One & Two" Live at Wembley Conference Centre, 1979
9. "Incantations Parts Three & Four" Live at Wembley Conference Centre, 1979
10. "Guilty" Promotional Video, 1979

Double Album Vinyl Edition track listing
• The glitch at 12:38 and the later one at 12:40 on "Part Four" on the CD are also featured on the vinyl, because of the same faulty remaster being used for both the CD and the vinyl release.
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