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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.11 | 1154 ratings

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5 stars I always smile at the perspective of an almost unknown 19 years old MIKE OLDFIELD going from label to label asking to release his album with only two 20+ minutes tracks and answering the question.Who plays with you? With a laconic: "I play almost every instrument."

After many expected rejections he found Richard Branson who with his new label (Virgin Records) was willing to support the ambitious project and catalogued it with the V2-001 number, the first album ever released by Virgin Records..

But it's even funnier to imagine all those guys who rejected him, pulling their hairs when William Friedkin bought the rights for "The Exorcist" and the album reached the United States being N 1 in the charts even before officially in the market.

But lets go with the album.

"Tubular Bells" is not the best album in the music history, the most complex or the most spectacular, don't misunderstand me, it's a fantastic record and I believe a masterpiece, but the real merit is in "MIKE OLDFIELD" who had the courage to pursue a dream and wrote this incredibly weird album despite all the risks that the project would carry.

Part one is probably the best known by the people because the repetitive introduction created the perfect atmosphere for ""The Exorcist", the interesting fact is that it's not really a repetition of the same section over and over, it's more like successive variations over a same theme, because each time he comes back to the original chorus, he adds a new instrument or a chorus, it's an excellent arrangement that introduces us to his world.

After a few repetitions, suddenly comes the explosion, out of nowhere a distorted guitar solo takes the listener by surprise then everything becomes really complex and it's hard to follow the radical changes.

About the 16th minute everything gets weirder, a bass solo announces the unexpected and long final section when the perfect pronunciation of Vivian Stanshall starts to announce one by one each instrument that is added to the equation until the track reaches the climax with the tubular bells, simple and brilliant way to close part one.

Part two starts more calmed and even pastoral, the music flows gently giving Mike the chance to prove his versatility in some unusual instruments for Rock like Bagpipe sounding Guitars, Mandolin and Glockenspiel, but again he has something totally unexpected reserved.

About the 8th minute the wonderful dissonance starts and again out of nowhere some haunting voices that I would describe as Klingon Opera join the band, it's shocking but at the same time full of passion, strong and dramatic, even if the listener doesn't has the slightest idea why is anything there, you don't need to understand it, was made to be enjoyed by the adventurous listener.

But again a radical change comes, a calmed section only interrupted by short explosions of metallic guitars that prepares us for the even more unexpected final. An almost Baroque organ solo changes as magic into "The Sailor's Hornpipe" (Better known as the Popeye theme), sounds a bit odd in the context of the album, but the reality is different, originally this section was even weirder, because Viv Stanshall provided a comic narration (in his Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band style) as tour guide showing the listener around the Manor House where the album was recorded, but this was obviously too strange even for Richard Branson.

I simply love this album from the first to the last note, but as I said before, even more inmportant than the music itself (which as I also said is outstanding), the trascendence of this album goes way beyond in the fact that he dared to release it.

Five solid stars despite all the contradictory opinions I read over the years, at the end,this is my review and I rate it as I feel it.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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