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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells II CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.57 | 319 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars (F)altered state

Building heavily on the template set by the original Tubular Bells, Mike Oldfield set out to create this follow-up album almost 20 years later. Since the original Tubular Bells album from 1973 remains one of Mike Oldfield's most successful albums it is perhaps not surprising that he attempted to make follow-ups. While the present album was the first proper attempt to make another Tubular Bells, there was an unnecessary orchestral version of the original piece done in 1975 and since then Tubular Bells III, The Millennium Bell as well as another studio re- make of the original have been released. Some of these releases are better than others, and the present one is not among the better ones in my opinion. For me, Tubular Bells II is something of an incoherent mess that takes on board all the flaws of the original while at the same time not taking things at all beyond it. It is not as utterly messy as Amarok, but it is far behind other more recent works such as Songs From Distant Earth and Tubular Bells III.

As mentioned, this album follows the original quite closely. The main theme will certainly be recognized by all. The "master of ceremonies" bit from the original is also re-used here and personally I never liked that part in the first place. The "growling" vocals are also re-used and they are even worse. There is a kind of Rap-section that is quite painful on these ears! It is all a bit silly! But Mike probably had a lot of fun creating this monster.

Overall, this is a very playful and quite whimsical work with many different themes. It moves rapidly from one theme to another, but it never seems to get off the ground. As such it is a quite frustrating listen, despite several great passages. Nothing is allowed to develop to fruition, but instead Mike takes us directly to his next musical idea (most of which feel "not really new").

Not among Mike's better works, nor among the better in the Tubular Bells family. Only for fans and collectors this one.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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