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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover

TUBULAR BELLS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.10 | 1146 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars The album that launched a career. Thanks to a portion of Side One being culled for use in the soundtrack of contemporary blockbuster film The Exorcist, Tubular Bells went on to become a massive sales and PR success for Richard Branson's fledgling record company, Virgin Records. And Mike was young! To have the temerity to convince money to let him record and release a theme album of instrumentals all performed by virtually one man--now that's a A&R meeting and followup board meeting I would like to have been present for!

The concept of adding instruments, track by track, minute by minute, wasn't new (Haydn had done it backwards in his Symphony No. 45 and Sly & The Family Stone had done it recently in their hit "Dance to The Music") and even Terry C. Riley's seminal song "Poppy Nogood and The Phantom Band" from A Rainbow in Curved Air helped pave the way for an album like Tubular Bells.

I remember listening to Side One with its narrator-introduction of each instrument with great excitement and joy. Side Two was often started though often abandoned or simply relegated to background music after a few minutes though it has its very pretty parts--portents of things to come in Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn--it also has its rather raw and abrasive parts. Sound engineering was never great but at least they captured the raw sounds of the instruments rather than the compressed and gated treatments that everything gets now. (I love hearing the wood, picks, strings scrapes and finger nails of acoustic guitars and the sissling of the snare springs!)

Awesome and revolutionary for its day, it stands up okay today, but, even in its day, I never thought this one a "masterpiece," just refreshing and innovative.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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