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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells III CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.38 | 220 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Far above the clouds

The original Tubular Bells album from 1973 remains one of Mike Oldfield's most successful albums and as such it is perhaps not surprising that he attempted to make follow-ups. While, for me, Tubular Bells II was an incoherent mess unworthy of the original, I quite like this third version. Tubular Bells III is a much more structured and focused piece. Tubular Bells III does not follow as closely in the footsteps of the original as did Tubular Bells II and this is thus more original. This is a nice mix between Dance music, World- Music and Oldfield's typical guitar oriented, largely instrumental Rock. There is also a nod to his Pop aspirations with the Moonlight Shadow-like Man In The Rain. It is fair to say that this album represents all the different elements of Mike Oldfield.

Some Prog fans might be turned off by the modern Dance music influences, but I have no problem with that whatsoever (even if I usually don't like Dance music at all). Indeed, it is impressive that Mike can sound as contemporary as this without for a second losing his trademark style. There is a very nice flow to the whole album so it is hard to pick out favourite passages, but the Flamenco influenced Serpent Dream is one of them as is Outcast, a wild guitar exercise. Also the finale is great where those tubular bells bring the album to a bombastic ending. The tubular bells are introduced by a child speaking the words 'Tu - bu - lar - bells' to great effect.

The first time I heard this piece was on the live DVD containing the premiere live performance of Tubular Bells III in London. A highlight on the live performance was Man In The Rain which was performed in the pouring rain! Very emotional moment! This studio version is, however, slightly lame in comparison. Many would complain that this song is a clone of Moonlight Shadow, and though I agree that it is the very same type of song, it is a worthy Pop tune in its own right.

A worthy entry in the Tubular Bells family and one of Mike's best latter-day efforts. Recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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