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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover

TUBULAR BELLS

Mike Oldfield

 

Crossover Prog

4.12 | 1190 ratings

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bfmuller
4 stars When someone says that some music is "fresh", one's usually, actually, considering one's own pre-concepts about music, labelling as "dated" anything one doesn't like. So the expression became a common-place in music conversation, with little or none significance. But, when it comes to Tubular Bells, the expression is not only fitting, but accurate. Because popular music can hardly be as fresh as this: original, creative, innovative.

Therefore, I was surprised when I heard this album for the first time, some years ago, as it is as innovative and unique today as in the time it was made. I had never heard anything quite like it before, neither have I since - except for Mike's other works. Mike sort of created a whole new genre, a musical ground of his own, which is a kind of classical, minimalistic, music performed by contemporary instruments.

One can note that, behind its ambitious form, it is not quite too serious, as you can see in the "Master of Ceremonies" and "Caveman" sections. The fact that he chose to close it with a traditional song, instead of a melody of his own, is also a testimony of certainly humility, in my opinion.

Mike would develop and perfect his sound over the following years and albums. So, Tubular Bells was just the first step, and as so was regarded by his own writer as a flawed, uneven piece of work. Therefore, it is actually a shame that it became his most famous music, though Mike himself did much to perpetuate this status, re-writing, re-recording and re-issuing it over and over again, far beyond the saturation point.

The only advantage this album has over its successors is the freshness. It is revolutionary, but not a masterpiece, which is totally understandable. If you excuse me for the comparison, it would be like expecting Beethoven to have the Ninth as his first composition. After one is familiarized with the likes of Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Incantations, Tubular Bells loses much of its appeal - except for its historical significance. And if were not for this, I would give it a 3-star rating. But, as a revolutionary, groundbreaking work, it is worthy of any prog rock fan collection.

bfmuller | 4/5 |

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