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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover

TUBULAR BELLS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 773 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
3 stars The debut album from Mike Oldfield is without a doubt one of the most diverse and experimental prog albums in existence. Oldfield was experimenting with a plethora of different instruments, many of which are odd even by prog standards, to create a nearly 50-minute piece of music that is complex yet accessible, melodic yet atmospheric.

The opening theme alone is testament to the creativity of Oldfield, and despite its popularity, is actually relatively complex, containing alternating measures of 7/8 and 8/8. From here, the album progresses through the many vastly different sections, most of which convey a particular genre of music, some of which include Latin, Blues, Jazz and even Thrash. The conclusion to the first part of the song is a crescendo of different instruments playing the same melody, each being introduced over time, and is certainly a bone-chilling experience.

Unfortunately, Part Two isn't nearly as strong as the first. Perhaps it is because of the complete lack of intensity due to it being almost entirely soft and down-tempo. There is nothing really interesting happening, no good melodies of the sort to grab the listener.

Even with the greatest of creations, there are flaws, and this one has plenty. The most noticeable is the lack of cohesion, one may even go as far as to say it is just a mess of sections mushed together to form a 50 minute epic. I would say this isn't too far from the truth. The experimentation and extreme diversity is nice up to a point, but not when just glued together for the sake of it. Perhaps this would have fared better with a bit of artistic control of the amount of content going into the album, a as I fear the problem is in the arrangements, not lack of content (at least for part one). However, if such a thing is not overly bothersome to someone as it is to me, than perhaps that person may find some enjoyment. But unfortunately for me, the lack of cohesion and the weak second part make this somewhat of an underwhelming experience.

5/10

Mr. Mustard | 3/5 |

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