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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

4.11 | 1155 ratings

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4 stars I've never been a huge Mike Oldfield fan even though there were periods where a really tried my best to get into the groove of his work. I began my exploration of his music with Tubular Bells, which is undeniably his most recognized recording.

A debut album spanning nearly 50 minutes of material by a young artist that got picked up by Richard Branson's Virgin Records is a story that I'm sure that most of you are well familiar with. The result is a massively successful record that not only coined both Oldfield and Virgin Records but, most importantly, proved that instrumental music could still find its way to the mainstream audience. There's also no denying that the horror movie classic The Exorcist played a huge part in the album's success but I also believe that there was a more broader spirit of the time that made Tubular Bells the classic it is today.

Just like most of Mike Oldfield's career, this is a highly accessible album that should make the listener realize pretty early on whether he or she might become involved with Oldfield's work in the future. My first experience was a mixed one. Even though I enjoyed the style that Oldfield incorporated into his performance, I soon discovered that there was a definite formula to his musicianship which became even more apparent with Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn. At the same time, once Mike Oldfield did try to move away from this original style, a whole new set of limitations became prominent in his commercial aspirations in the '80s and '90s.

As for the music featured on Tubular Bells, I definitely think that it deserves to be experienced but make sure to listen to a version that sounds like the original album version since Oldfield does sometimes come off like the George Lucas of music industry where he remixes and re-records most of his original performances every now and then. Not only did Tubular Bells have two sequels that, to me, sounded nothing like the original but there has been over a dozen different versions of the original released over the years. Starting with the very obvious cash-in of the 1975 release titled The Orchestral Tubular Bells, Tubular Bells 2003, Tubular Bells Digital Box Set which features the early 1971 demo recordings of the suite, Tubular Bells - New Stereo Mix and the fairly recent Tubular Bells - 2010 Mix.

Tubular Bells is an album that is definitely worth experiencing especially if your reaction will be different to that of mine. If you enjoy this album then Ommadawn is definitely the next release that is well worth checking out. If you, on the other hand, didn't like Oldfield's style, then you've at least given it a fair try with Tubular Bells!

**** star songs: Tubular Bells Pt.1 (25:00) Tubular Bells Pt.2 (23:50)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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