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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells II CD (album) cover

TUBULAR BELLS II

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

3.57 | 207 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Each TB# improves on the last

Many will argue with my opinion that each TB release was better than the previous, but few Oldfield fans will argue that the live video presentations of each smoke their studio counterparts. This is most true of TB2 and TB3, both of which are pretty dry, arguably sterile in the studio form, yet absolutely filled with life and beauty in their live outdoor video performances. If you have the chance to score the DVDs of TB2 and TB3 live in concert, you can seriously skip the studio recordings altogether. Musically TB2 lacks the explorer's spirit of the original but takes more care in putting together cohesive, memorable melodies. Oldfield's guitar playing is fantastic as ever, with leads that soar, with sections that are quite moving to the listener. After the predictably good electric playing of "Sentinel" it is the acoustic charmer called "Red Dawn" that really blows my mind: simply stunning classical guitar joined by operatic female vocals in one of Mike's most lovely, if far too short compositions. Others, like "Sunset Door" employed sampled human voice against Mike's playing to great effect. The sense of melody and joy carry through TB2, providing a grandiose sounding piece of music, really like a great classical music concert. Whereas in the original some of the "experiments" were a bit silly or nave, by this time Oldfield was a better composer and it shows here. Except perhaps for "Altered States" with the annoying caveman back for an encore. My biggest problems are some occasionally cheesy sounds to the keyboards primarily, and the fact that some sequences either didn't grab me or were a bit repetitive. With regard to the latter, the next chapter TB3 would correct this and provide the rare case where the finale was the best part. By all means check out all three numeric TB selections if you love Oldfield, but if you can get the live DVD or videos, you'll have the better versions. And if you're an Oldfield noob, start with the Hergest Ridge through Incantations period, which was the undisputed peak of Mike Oldfield's career.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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