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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.12 | 1189 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I fully agree with Sean regarding this one! Maybe is that I do not get it fully or is just the fact that MO has recycle this one so much, that I am getting tired of it!! No matter what I said on this review, MO has a distinctive place on Progressive Music; He has created basically his on style, and has influenced many artists. So, the MO affair is pretty much, love or hate!!. In his long span career of more than 30 years, he has crafted some of the most beautiful and interesting music, but also he has like anybody else some stinkers!!.

I guess, and this is just my opinion!, that for an artist must be difficult to top or surpass success once achieved. Most of the progressive artists, and band in general will achieve this pinnacle after several attempts, meaning years on the making. However, MO largely achieved stardom and commercial success almost immediately after this album! and will be, I think even frustrated for somebody not to top this success afterwards.

In any event, to me Mike is a Genius musically, and I have to divide his career into 3 periods:

Early Period: From "Tubular Bells" to "Q.E.2", pretty much his Golden era, which expand thru the 70's... My highlight in this era definitively Ommadawn!!

Mid-Period: From "Five Miles Out" to "Heaven's Open", where we see Mike giving his best shot to what he feels is Pop Music, or at least mainstream! but without compromising totally his progressive roots!!!. I have always said, if I would have to listen pop music, what better that this MO period. He was lucky and smart enough to surround him self with a big and excellent variety of artists, but specially singer wise the celestial voice of Maggie Reilly, which in my opinion was the main engine for the success of the type of music that Mike was doing in that period of time. The only exception in this period is the mesmerizing "AMAROK" which is a really good surprise, and came along at the time Mike was having problems with Virgin Music, and was trying to get out of his contract, an so on... That is something; I have sense on MO music thru the years. Mike tries to give you in every album, I thing, a piece of his life, or at least each album is influenced by what is happening in his life at that moment... Classic examples "Five Miles Out" and the close encounter with an airplane accident!" Islands" a lot of family issues! That carries into ""Earth Moving" and of course, "Heaven's Open" and his general discontent with Virgin Records, making an album where Mike also SING!!!!!. In this period also Mike give a shot to music for movies on "The Killing Fields" which is a great effort overall!!

Late Period: From "Tubular Bells II" all the way probably to the present time with "Light and Shade" which still not showing in our website!! Most of my prog-heads friends would probably not like this era!! Experimentation is the name of the game! We see Mike here crafting, IMHO another Masterpiece in "The Songs of Distant Earth", where you can enjoy lush atmospheres that give the chance to the amazing guitar playing that Mike thru the years have let us enjoy!!

Mike does not stop here, he experiment acoustic with "Guitars", Celtic with "Voyager" and start to experiment something, that is not my favorite, European Techno. Again, I think influenced by what he probably was living at the moment on Ibiza (Spain) and maybe in contact or relation with the band ENIGMA, I maybe wrong, but is very compelling and I would have to say that the music for moments seems very similar; Anyways, I do not think MO has run out of ideas, but lately has not come back with a really strong album IMO, that has made me jump, and actually he has chosen to continue recycling old ideas. Come on! Mike you can do better than that, I am sure!!!

Now, going back to this album. My score would be 3.5 stars, approximating to 4; but suffice to say to me one of the most over-rated albums of all times!!

Prognut | 4/5 |


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