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4.2 out of 5 stars167
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 April 2008
Alone amongst the arts, music has the ability to reach inside our weather beaten shells, grab our soul by the scruff of the neck and beat us to death in a darkened room. This album does just that. Stick it in the CD player, turn off the lights and be transported.

From the quiet, mesmerising start to the glorious finish Oldfield weaves in all sorts of themes and rythmns, whirling them around in sublimely a co-ordinated composition. The whole thing last over 45 mins and you never once get bored. The fact that he was only 19 and yet managed to play dozens of instruments from the guitar to the percussion, without it being really dreadful, speaks volumes.

Sure it was created in a hurry by people who didn't know what they were doing. But they sure learned fast. Yes, it has odd, sometimes crazed bits, but no the Sailor's Hornpipe is not just 'tacked on'. Oldfield had a party trick in his folk days - playing the Hornpipe faster and faster - and it is brilliant, it ends the album on a high.

Incidently, why this man has been not being knighted escapes me, especially when you think of some of the muppets from the music world that get gongs. But then politicians don't have souls so will not appreciate this delight!

Buy it. Buy it now , don't be a politician - feed your soul!
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on 1 September 2002
I'm a longstanding Oldfield fan, and I know this album intimately. I used to think that remastered releases were just a way for fleecing the record buying public. But I took a chance on this, and I was flabbergasted. The remastering makes all the difference, the sound quality is crystal clear and I can hear flutes and pedal basses that I didn't know existed. It's like hearing this album for the first time all over again!
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on 26 May 2003
Laughed my head off when I heard he was re-recording it. I thought, why? It was then I realised it could be quite good. It is a classic piece of music. When I heard the promo I thought it sounded fantastic.
Just bought it today and it sounds fresh and alive. Anyone who liked the original fear not. The music is the same as original but Oldfield has used 90% (he said in an interview) of the original instruments he used on the original with the other 10% new, modern sounding effects. So what you have is the original updated with all the latest recording techniques. Only criticism is John Cleese as master of ceremonies sounded out of place. A bit odd. Is growing on me.
Buy this and you really won't be disappointed.
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on 10 March 2004
I just received my long-awaited copy of Tubular Bells 2003 from Amazon.co.uk.
I listened to it last night all the way through. Incidentally, I have never listened to the original 1970s Tubular Bells in my life, so I have nothing to compare it to. (In fact, the only Mike Oldfield I ever heard before was the 80's single "Moonlight Shadow"!)
But as a standalone album, and not knowing what to expect, I must say I was blown away by TB 2003. This Mike Oldfield chap is a musical genius! As for the 24-bit recording, it's simply superb and puts most other multi-channel works to shame.
It embodies clarity, warmth, detail, and it sounds very clean and crisp. In fact, everything I could want in a new recording.
I also think the immersive dynamic surround effects are great, and are a nice creative change to the many "ambience" mixes -- although I think there is a time and a place for both. In this case, as TB2003 is a 'concept' album, and I think Mike's approach fits brilliantly. In short, this disc will definitely feature among my 5.1 'demo' line-up of DVD-Audio titles.
So, if you haven't yet got yourself a proper DVD-Audio player and 5.1 multi-channel setup, then this album is good enough reason to do so.
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on 5 June 2003
This is an interesting 'remix', which is worth a listen as the music, although fairly similar to the original is played differently enough for it to be fresh. However im not sure that it lives up to the original. I thought that it might have been a jazzed up and more powerful version of tubular bells but instead it is more subtle and probably musically more complex. I think I would choose the live performance or the Tubular Bells II DVD over this. The instruments seem to blend together a little too much and the guitars are present throughout but dont seem to stand out as much as in the original. Despite this it is still tubular bells and the introduction is particularly very good.
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on 18 March 2004
Virgin records would never have become the huge company that it is without this record - if it hadn't been the huge success that it was, the company would never have been responsible for some of the great music on that label. How this ever came about though is a mystery - why would anyone have given a complete unknown the chance to make an album like this?
The answer is - love him or hate him - Richard Branson. He decided to let Mike Oldfield have some studio time after being persuaded by Tom Newman, who was building Manor Studios for him, after Tom had heard a tape of ideas that were to be used for Tubular Bells. Part One was recorded in a week of studio time alloted to Mike, Tom and second producer Simon Heyworth, and Part Two was recorded in various sessions as studio time became available.
There are stories of the sessions being recorded at all times of the night, sometimes after long sessions in the local pub, and the 'Piltdown Man' vocals are apparently a slowed down version of Mike shouting into a mic after drinking large amounts of whisky that was found in the basement of the studios. However it happened, it was available technology being pushed to the limit. There were only 16 tracks available to record on, and so a lot of overdubbing took place. This meant making huge lists of instruments and notes and accurately mapping out which track they were recorded to. Any mistakes could mean recording over previously recorded material!
The result was one of the most original pieces of material to ever be recorded. It's easy now to forget how unique this was, as its influence is felt throughout most modern music, but at the time it became a huge hit because of popularity without being hyped by a huge publicity machine. A couple of years later it's popularity was galvanized by the inclusion of some of Part One in the film 'The Exorcist'.
Most of this album is played by the multi-talented Mike Oldfield, with a few other musicians helping out here and there. It's quite an incredible achievement to think that Part One was recorded in only one week, but this is testament to the hard work of the three men who believed that this project could succeed.
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on 3 October 2007
I first heard this from a friend in the 70s who was very good at ferreting out the interesting and unexpected. We all loved it immediately but later, as it became a global phenomenom, it stopped being cool and l gave my LP away. Then punk happened and the rest is history. I'd forgotten about it until I heard it on a flight somewhere over the Pacific...

I don't think it matters if its hippy music or a rock symphony or anything else; it succeeds because there are so many melodies and moods seemlessly woven together with a wonderful Pyhtonesque undercurrent- terribly English, bit west country, bit rock, bit film score, bit zen, bit sole mio, bit country come to that and all a bit home made and down the pub/skin up a spliff. Why can't some people (like me for 20 years) accept it for what it is and enjoy a modern classic? And what stops people from taking it seriously because it is seriously good?

Agreed about all the versons. i have a cd now of the original recording and it does just fine; every time l play it, its pure pleasure. Not many things in life you can say that about.
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on 26 April 2004
This DVD-A through a 5.1 speaker setup approaches the absolute pinnacle ofwhat can be musically achieved using 5.1 to date.
For those without 5.1speakers, you can pretty safely opt for a CD version and save yourself afew quid. For those with the necessary 5.1 kit, this disc is an absolutemust have for the collection.
The audio is impeccably clean, and full use is made of both thesub-woofer, significantly for effects, and to underpin themes with bass,and the spacial opportunies offered by twin front and rear channels. Theacoustic effect of hearing guitars drifting lazily around whilst beatscheekily bound round your ears like popcorn, leaves onecaptivated.
Perhaps underscoring the improvements made over theoriginal, this disc sounds distinctly dated when compared with TubularBells II & III.
That said it remains an impressive medley of themes and tunes and the 5.1rendering is absolutely outstanding.
Echoing a previous comment, I would be happy to reacquire all my MOcollection were they to be re-engineered into 5.1 to this standard.
Ifyou've been debating getting yourself a 5.1 speaker set up, this discprovides the acoustic reason you've been waiting for! This disc sets thehighest standard to date for all others to follow.
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on 6 July 2002
My mum introduced me to Tubular Bells some years ago and have since purchased some other albums of the same artist. I have just purchased a new SACD/DVD player and wanted something to show of my new system. I am no audio expert I just love listening to MUSIC. After reading different reviews on the web about this SACD I was really looking forward to its arrival. (it atcually came 1 day before my new system arrived) Now then, what you all want to know, is it any good? Well I loved it! every part, but here are some parts that stood out most. Every instrument sounds superb, most even sound different (in a good way) which I assume is down to the SACD. The tubular bells ring out like never before, the whole thing is a completely different experience. You are surrounded by sound in a way very different than the surround on DVD titles. Lastly a section I disliked in the past (the growling in part 2) I now enjoy completely, the SACD really does make a difference to the way it feels to me. So if you enjoyed the CD version of Tubular Bells im sure you'll LOVE this new SACD version.
PS hoping for a Incantations SACD (please!) now that would be good.
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on 18 October 2007
I've had this album since I was 17 on LP, cassette, eight track stereo! And now recently purchased on CD. I listen to it every day and never tire of it. No one has ever produced an album remotely like this.There is always something different to hear every time you play it.Truly unique and timeless and an amazing achievement for a composer who was so young and unknown when it was first released in 1973. If I could take one thing with me when I die it would be a copy of 'Tubular Bells'...and hopefully something to play it on!
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