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Saturday 31 May 2003

Tubular bells 2003! [lurks]

I've been a Mike Oldfield fan since I was a nipper. Well, a teenager at any rate. The first thing I heard was Oldfield's 1974 magnum opus and most famous works, Tubular Bells. It was and remains a joyous expression of the love of music and the timbre of sounds and various instruments. It broke the molds, it reigned supreme in the charts despite being an album length instrumental.
The man became my hero and since then I've collected everything he's ever done. Oldfield is God so it depresses me that so many others have only experienced Tubular Bells. His other words such as Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Incantations were only marginally successful. So clutching for that mainstream listenership again, Oldfield authored two sequels. The second fairly average by Oldfield standards, the third being rather more impressive.
His last album out was Tr3s Lunas, an ambient set of works designed to accompany a strange VR type experience which is also on the CD. I haven't had a lot of time for that sort of thing, I'd far rather he got back to writing proper instrumental masterpeices again but we can't always have what we want from our heros, can we?
The reason for this blog is because a few days ago Oldfield released yet another effort in the Tubular Bells camp. This time it's not a sequel, it's the original remade. That is to say it's been completely rerecorded with modern digital techniques which have obviously come a long way in 30 years! Much of the original instruments survive and were used on the remake and it certainly benefits from some more accomplished playing, a little more feeling and flair than the original which was slightly mechanical in note-for-note tones.
Quite simply, this recording is amazing. He has taken a piece of music that I have known intimately, that I grew up with, and then re-rendered it with the improvement in technology, musical ability and the vastness of 30 years of hindsight. The effect is breathtaking. I'm utterly gobsmacked. I can't help thinking now that life is very good indeed. In the few days around my 2^5th birthday I've got a job, seen the Matrix Reloaded, had beers with my mates and obtained an album so beautiful in it's mastery that it's done something that no music has done for years, brought a tear to my eye.
Now you're either with me on this one or you have no idea what I'm talking about. Obviously everyone should buy the album either way. If you haven't heard Tubular Bells (and I find that very difficult to believe), there can be no other way to hear it. If you know it and love it as I do, then this is an essential making excuses at the office and nipping out and buying instantly kind of purchase.
If you're hard up, of dubious moral fibre or want to hear it right here and right now without waiting for it, you can head over to Filesoup, sign up for the forum and take a look in the non-VIP Torrent forum for the Bittorrent of the album although it wont be there for long.
Oldfield is my God, I renounce all others and offer my life at his feet for all eternity.


  1. Excellent, I've admired Tubular Bells for a while now, looking forward to this, nice one Lurks!

  2. He's my God too, perhaps we should concoct a name for this religion. Oldfieldism? There is no other guitarist and songwriter in the world that has touched me musically like he has. 'Songs of Distant Earth' has the hairs on the back of the neck standing on end (or least the folicals struggling to survive!) and there are moments on Tubular Bells 3 that bring the tears of musical joy to the eyes. Of course he's done his fair share of duds, Earth Moving being one such attrocity, but in the main the guy has kept a remarkably consistent level of quality throughout his 30 year career.
    I can't listen to Tub2003 at work, but eagerly wait to pile it into my PC and let it rip tonight. I started a plan for a compilation CD of music that gives you those shivers of delight, I shelved the plan when I realised most of the songs were gonna be Oldfields!! A God indeed, finally a religion that makes complete sense.

  3. Sounds cool! I guess its akin to listening to Gilmour playing DSOTM on the 1994 Pulse recording and now the SACD 30th Anniversary Edition. Writing and recording one of music historys finest and best selling albums with the limited tools they had in '73, to turning out to play the same material in '94 with 2 huge rack units that could stock any busy music store!.Although reading your review, I reckon Oldfields new release will be 'more' to listen to than recent Dark Side recordings though, which havent changed, musically, from the original. Cant wait to have a listen.Great blog!!

  4. This hasn't changed musically either, really. It's just played with more feeling and some of the instruments are substituted. There's some string synths in there now for example. Oh and John Cleese is the master of ceremonies!

  5. I'm a long acknowledged tone deaf bastard, but a big Tubular Bells fan. To be honest, I couldn't really hear much difference between this and this original. Sounded a bit cleaner maybe?
    Oh and John Cleese as MC... I thought this detracted from the track a bit as Cleese seemed to be playing it for laughs. Pronouncing 'Glockenspiel' in a funny voice for example.
    Still an excellent piece of music though.