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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.14 | 1372 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Brilliant and Unique.

Mike Oldfield's first album is in my opinion his second-best (after Ommadawn), and a wondrous piece of music that remains unique still today after over 40 years. There are a number of keys to its success. First is how Oldfield (on side 1) keeps the rhythm if his opening repeated line going through the series of themes the follow each other, sometimes receding it into the background then bringing it back, then modifying it in new ways with new melodies over top. It keeps your interest by constantly changing melodies, and even keys, while still keeping to that basic rhythm and always referring back on itself; culminating in the famous 'master-of-ceremonies' section where a repeated bass line forms the foundation for a repeated melody played by different instruments whose entrance is announced by the mc with the tubular bells marking the majestic ending to the side. The end of this side, and the beginning of the next side (the album was originally written for two-sided vinyl album) have brought the listener deep into the musical world of Oldfield. The second side is a bit more fragmented, and moves from theme to theme without being rooted in a constant rhythm or repeated pattern, but is still quite good. The 'caveman' section is notably bizarre for having Oldfield 'sing' some unique passages in a made-up grunt-language. Nothing like it before or after, and it works really well musically. The album ends with a cover of a speeing-up Sailor's Hornpipe, which seems to bring the listener out from Oldfield's musical world and back to reality - it sort of wakes you up again, and when you do, you marvel at the wonderful musical journey. While the album is not 'perfect' - there are a couple of timing or tuning glitches, this being Oldfield's first-ever experience recording his own album and sequencers and the like were not available then - it stands today as a very unique musical statement, really a brilliant composition. It marked Oldfield as an original composer, and in a way introduced a whole new style of composing which very few have been able to master. A really essential statement. I give it 9.3 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 5 PA stars.

Walkscore | 5/5 |


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