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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover

TUBULAR BELLS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 770 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)

As a child I was very fond of the Dutch children-series of clown Bassie and acrobat Adrian. The soundtrack of this crime-fighting television circus-duo is the reason why most Dutch people of my age are familiar with the opening section of Tubular Bells, though some would rather refer to it as the soundtrack of The Exorcist. The very exciting opening section with mainly piano in an 15/8 time-scale is perhaps one of the most famous progressive rock themes. Still it's just the beginning of this big experimental and inventive piece called Tubular Bells part I.

Mike Oldfield wrote many themes on many instruments in many odd time-signatures and combined them into this big piece. In it, he goes from world-music with distinctive atmospheric melodies to rock with strangely distorted guitars to classical inspired instrumental music. Some passages are gentle, some are adventerious, some are serious (the opening section is even perceived as 'frighting' by some) and some are really bombastic. The ending section stands out as a great melodic theme in which we are introduced to many different instruments playing the melody. The ending with choral arrangements is great.

Tubular Bells part II is less rewarding. It has a long quiet opening section that doesn't impress me to much followed by a bag-pipe simulation with electric guitars and some percussions. After this we get to listen to an almost hard-rock section with strange, growling vocals that can't be explained in any way. The ending section has some gentle organ chords and experimental guitar solo's.

The production of the album is actually quite refreshing. Some might argue there's a lot of difference in sound throughout, but I think Oldfield gave all passages a great distinctive vibe. I would dare to say that the production has been an important element of the composition itself. It's good to hear that there is lot's of use of stereo sound, with instruments often well spread over the right-center-left spectrum.

Conclusion. This is indeed a record that has lot's to with the progressive rock movement, but it unique in it's own way. The way Mike Oldfield plays his amazing list of instruments is great, but the composition of side two falls short. Side one is however essential for any serious progressive rock collector and recommended to enthusiasts of all genres. I'll middle in saying this is 'just' an excellent addition, hence four stars.

friso | 4/5 |

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