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4.6 out of 5 stars
Tubular Bells [2009 Remaster]
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149 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2011
Needless to say that 'Tubular Bells' is a classic LP. I first heard it when my dad played it to me when I was 6 and my huge attachment to it has never worn off. Even so, his CD copy was issued decades ago and the sound quality was fairly muddy, so when I bought my own copy, I naturally went for this 2009 remastered version. Unfortunately, Mike Oldfield is a notorious perfectionist/meddlist/just-plain-weirdist and he is never satisfied with his results meaning that, not only did he re-record the whole album in 2003 (with John Cleese introducing the instruments at the end of part one), but when the time came to remaster the original version for this release, he was somehow possessed to change some of the music completely. That superb tribal drumming build-up that comes between the bagpipe guitars and the bizarre/funny caveman section? It's gone!! Completely disappeared! The plucked melodies at the very end of part one used to rise and fall in intensity which gave them far more emotional weight and used to catch me every time; now they've been ironed out so they're all the same damn volume. I don't care if Oldfield thought that they were somehow "imperfect", it was their irregularity that made them sound human and gave them their warmth. There are various other aspects of the album that have been changed. It almost sounds like an inferior re-recording. This is NOT the 'Tubular Bells' I remember and love. I'd feel extremely ripped off if it wasn't for the fact that I only paid £3 for it, so instead I am merely sorely disappointed. However, it should be noted that the "Single version" of the bagpipe guitars section (re-recorded with oboes and the like) and its bizarre b-side of 'The Sailor's Hornpipe' are real joys, so I might just say that this otherwise iconoclastic release is worth it for that. Even so, if you want to actually hear 'Tubular Bells' (the REAL 'Tubular Bells'), it's worth buying the previous issue (labelled on Amazon as "Tubular Bells Vol.1: Remastered") instead.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2012
Blimey i can only imagine what listening to Tubular Bells was like at the time,i wasn't born till 79.Images of laying on an extremely comfortable bean bag,headphones on,vinyl seductively turning as a mass of pungent smoke emitts from a jazz cigarette abounds.Alternatively i imagine a circle of cool students with flairs and long hair,vinyl and the same unmistakable aroma.
Tubular Bells is an ALBUM.A journey into {coughs....trail of smoke}the cosmos of the interior space of your mind.Man.Far out.
How strange to look back as listening to an album as a quaint pursuit,but this is what your mums and dads did.
Nowadays as we know with everything being reduced to a switch of a button,ipods,ipads,iphones,itunes the album as a form is drowning along with the physical act of reading books,introspection,empathy,possesions being Ikead....culture smells like warm bag of garbage....
So with relish i turned my bedroom lights off,put the headphones and put my Tubular Bells cd on.And it ruled.
From the inimitable opening bars to acoustic detours its brilliant stuff.This Mike Oldfield chap certainly must've inhabited a vivid artistic netherworld whilst recording.
Tubular Bells reminded me of the relaxing nature of music,i had to chuckle as i heard pan pipes.You see i thought i would never listen to something with pan pipes....but you get older,chubbier.Life changes.
As an album correct me if i am wrong this surely invented "ambient" music or chill out,i view it in many ways as a formative dance record.
The album ebbs and flows,you know i don't know if Oldfield is considered cool but in my books he is.
When my daughter grows older i will sit her down..and play Tubular Bells.Then give a lecture on the importance of The Album.I am sure she will enjoy it.
In the meantime i shall recoil from the horrors of the modern world.......
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2012
When I was young I had this album on vinyl; unfortunately the stereo system I had at that time wasn't good enough the reproduce the sound as it was meant to be heard. This is a superb remastering of a classic album and makes it come alive. Everything is crystal clear, and I can hear instruments such as flutes and pedal basses that I didn't know were on the album.
I don't normally go for remixed albums as sometimes they can be spoiled; this is the exception to that rule and it's as if I'm hearing it for the first time. It is a superb listening experience, from the opening notes of Tubular Bells Part One, to the Sailors Hornpipe finale, and is highly recommended. Buy it, you won't be disappointed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 December 2012
Ok, a little late at pointing this out, but if you are considering buying this CD because you have seen Mike's appearance at London 2012 Opening then be warned... 1) Mike's 11 minute track is available on the "Isle of Wonders" cd, 2) the 2012 performance was more like a brief montage of TB2 and TB3 with a bit of jazzy dance thrown in.

Now let's move on to THE MOST PLAYED LP/CD IN MY COLLECTION (says it all really)...

Recorded in 1973, this LP is legendary. Mike hates the idea that this LP (tell how old i am - 45) being described as New-Age, (for New-Age check out his brother, Terry's work). TB is folk / rock / ambient / prog. And as such, it could not be pigeon-holed into a catergory upon its release. This remaster is as good as it gets for me. It is 1 disc that made up the "Deluxe" box set. The whole 2009 cd is glorious. All the modern technology used to restore sound loss from the original master tapes, enhancing audio levels just enough to allow low volume instruments to be heard properly.

Running time of the CD is 56m04s. The two extras are "Mike Oldfield's Single" 3.53mins, a slightly remixed version of the original. Just in case you were wondering this is NOT just TB's intro. It is a piece in itself. And the final track is the "Drunk" version of the Sailor's Hornpipe 2.48mins originally issued on "Boxed".
A 16 page booklet come with it containing pictures, but more importantly the story of TB.

A personal note: I discovered this LP when I was 12. It has always been the most played pieces of music I own, (not my favourite LP, that's Floyd's Wish You Were Here). I have lots of different versions of TB (live versions / remixes / quad / 5.1 etc etc on & on... get the drift...
...get this CD !!!!Isles Of Wonder: Music For The Opening Ceremony Of The London 2012 Olympic Games. For the full story of TB try the excellent book, "The Making of Tubular Bells The Making of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I had no prior knowledge of Tubular Bells up until a few months ago where I bought a cassette box for 50p. Inside, was a battered Memorex tape recording of Tubular Bells and a That's cassette of Tubular Bells 2. I first listened to Tubular Bells, and instantly, I fell in love with it.

I hit play on the cassette player. And when it clicked off, instantly I rewound it and listened to the entire piece again. I realised at that point, I had fallen in love with Tubular Bells, oftenly playing it everyday until the age had actually worn the tape and I had to get rid of it.

I echo many of the positive reviews given on Amazon about this album. In a word, it's aged... But has it aged well? Technology has advanced so much that any numpty with a computer can make this. In a word yes, one of the very few albums that will hit the timeless, because it is so flawlessly put together.

Tubular Bells, is without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite albums of all time. Slick, melodic, futuristic, and influential like heck. I must listen to this album at least once a month - A considering that such music was composed by the one man band (and overlayed again and again) the perfection on this album is... astronomical.

To hear it remastered on CD is a pure delight compared to the aging cassette which was the first time I listened to it many months ago. So why have I given it three stars? The simple reason is it is far less satisfying to put on this CD than experiencing it on a cassette or even vinyl.

My main goat is the format and the remastering - The thing is, this isn't Tubular Bells what you heard on the demo tapes, just slightly edited for Mr. Branson's pleasure. No, what you have here, is a computer reconstruction and mixed to give a fully digital recording of Tubular Bells.

Gone away was the pleasent analogue hiss on the recording. Gone away was the slight warble every now and again. The CD format is great knowing it will last for a very long time, perfect playback after playback without degrading, etc etc... Don't get me wrong, but it lacks the warmth that were present in the 1972 demo tapes - Also included in this boxset.

Sure the quality might not have been great for the 1972 demos with tape drop out, warble, panning problems, but at least it was an honest recovery of a good mix - Oldfield, or probably Mercury Records seem to have done away with the faulty instruments and reconstructed them on a computer - Producing a very sterile release of Tubular Bells.

I'll give it a four star rating since much of the tape stock was damaged when it came to remastering Tubular Bells, hence why it's lacking that "something". Other than nostalgia, the clarity of these recordings are excellent, and an excellent remaster. The clang of the bells rings ears, and the playfulness of the bass is brilliant. Buy this CD by all means - But there is no significant advantage over the CD released in 2000 apart from slightly better mixing.

But please Mr. Oldfield, no more boxsets! Despite being loyal fans we cannot and will not buy the same contents over and over again under different covers!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2011
So, so much has aleady been written about Tubular Bells so I'll keep it brief!

The most important thing about this release is that it is not a re-hash or a reworking, this is the original Tubular Bells but slightly remixed and SPLENDIDLY remastered. Gone is the hiss and obvious strain of the master tapes, in its place is the album we all know and love in rich, harmonious warmness.

It's a shame that Oldfield has seemingly retired from making long instrumental classics like this but fear not I recently found an album called Mohribold by an emerging artist called Andrew Taylor, so in 'like this try this' style, google it and listen to the new Oldfield on the block!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2011
Was looking to replace original vinyl copy that's probably in the loft and re live youth. Whilst the album is easy to listen to it seems as if the re mastering/edit has taken away the high and low notes of the music, much more monotone than the original...........and if I'm honest a bit of dissapointment.No too keen on some of the changes as the expectation is based on memory of the original perfect version. Overall for the cost worth having, but can't replace the original mix.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2000
This album unveiled a breath-taking aural journey to an unsuspecting public, over two 25 minute long tracks. At the centre of it all is Oldfield, playing almost every instrument, toying with time-signiatures, diverse and unlikely combinations of sounds, textures and moods. Imaginative and inspired.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2012
This should be considered a new piece of music it's changed by hyper perfectionist
Oldfield to the extent that it is no longer ''original '' but a reworked and in may parts
Unrecognisable " version " definitely not nearly as good as 2000 remastered issue
Which remains totally original.
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on 5 September 2014
Really wanted to like this but its been ruined by the remixing, most notably the introduction of the tubular bells at the end, whereas on original they are thick, full sounding and send shivers down your spine, on the remix they are thin and almost apologetic for being there. Gone are the smooth transitions from section to section, and a lot of the drama has been lost. Yes some extra instrumentation can now be heard more cleanly but this at the expense of the overall sound and some instrumentation have lost their character altogether most notably the acoustic guitars which use to sound warm and breathy but now sound harsh and jangly. I love the original and all I want is a digital copy for my phone but it seems you can't get the original on mp3 this was a massive disapointment.
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