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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells II CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.57 | 311 ratings

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3 stars While MIKE OLDFIELD had peddled in live, orchestral, remastered, and bonus versions of his 1973 debut ad infinitum, this was his first sequel, appearing almost 20 years after the original, initially delayed and later hastened to coincide with the switch from Virgin to Warner Records. Still, as a sequel it still sounds more like the original than some of the reworked renditions. Divided though it is into multiple tracks, it remains essentially one long piece with passages that echo and reflect their counterparts of yore.

The main theme remains largely intact although oddly turned sideways like so many here, the introduction of the instruments has another go at it, the bagpipes sounding like guitars are actually bagpipes this time, the teeth gnashing Cro Magnon man is not yet extinct, and the Sailor's Hornpipe is now a bluegrass ditty. Of course the production is improved, and a sensuous infusion of Latin influences on "Weightless" and 'Maya Gold" speaks to stylistic progression. Just using TB as a template ensures a superior flow to that presented on "Amarok", and an absence of pop indulgences.

Overall, I can't get excited about this rendition, as professionally and lovingly compiled as it may be. It's just too close to the original in flavour and feel to stand on its own. It's a slicker, modernized version with enough creativity and panache to merit your attention, but nothing here will cause the bells to toll for its predecessor.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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