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4.3 out of 5 stars48
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Unlike most of the other reviews (it seems), I'm a fan of electronic music first and Mike Oldfield music second, rather than the other way round. Don't get me wrong, I'm also a regular listener to "Tubular Bells" and "Five Miles Out", but if I say that one of my favourite albums is "Tubular Bells 3", I'm sure there are plenty of Oldfield fans that will disown me- especially those who have grown sceptical of Mike Oldfield's frequent decision to cobble together almost anything, and stick the word "Tubular" on it to make a quick buck.

This release, a collection of re-versions of old Oldfield tracks, falls well between two stools. Firstly there will be a bunch of Oldfield fans who don't like the trance sounds or the repetitive bass notes. Secondly there will be a lot of fans of trance music who will find this whole thing incredibly dated. It's largely a collaboration with 'York' (I'm still unclear as to whether York is a duo, or a single person, but there you go).

York's hit that I'd previously heard of, "On The Beach" and "The Fields Of Love", were both in the late 1990s. Sure enough, this album sounds like it could've been produced a decade ago. It's definitely not "up-to-date" from that record, but then, neither was "Tubular Bells 3" when it was released, but it's still great in its own way.

That being said, though, the end result is actually very listenable- as long as you don't expect to either (a) go raving with it, or (b) stroke your chin at the impressive musicality of it. If you can put those concerns aside, it's a strong album. It's got a very polished sound, and it's nicely structured, with a mixture of radio-edit-format versions (such as "To France" or the slightly twisty take on "Moonlight Shadow") along with slightly more extended 'club' versions which explore the progressions in a bit more depth, such as "Ommadawn". (Although your chances of ever hearing any of these tracks actually played in a club are pretty much assuredly zero.)

Some tracks sound like Mike Oldfield has had a good hand in steering the track into something that's musically in keeping with the original, and they qualify as interesting re-works. Some others, such as "Guilty", sound more like Oldfield has just handed the master tapes over to York, who's sampled a couple of prominent bits and laid them on top of something which, beyond being in the same key, bears relatively little resemblance to the original.

New track "Never Too Far" is pleasant enough, if a little bit forgettable.

If you're not a fan of "the remix" in principle- I am, but many are not- then some of it won't be to your taste. But if, like me, you find yourself revisiting old albums by Chicane or the "Cream Ibiza" series from the late 1990s every once in a while, or if you happen to think that "Tubular Bells 3" was rather underrated, then you should think about giving this a go.
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on 16 February 2013
So Tubular Beats, what's it all about? With so many Tubular Bells albums out there a little clarifacation may be required.

The tracks on this album are remixes of a range of old classics far broader in choice than the Tubular cannon. They are not the remasters or re-recordings we have become accustomed to expect from Oldfield and his peers. Mike has never been one for convention though and these re-mixes whilst being great club-dance-trance versions of old classics, feature new riffs and noodling from the guitar maestro.

So what about the results? I think it is fair to say that Oldfield fans of old may find it difficult to warm to these tracks but I wouldn't be so hasty, just don't go in expecting a return to multi-layered hand-crafted mastery and you won't be disappointed. Much has been said about Oldfield's forray into club and electro territory and I for one have been known to heavily slate it in my reviews. This album though is vastly different to all that, this time round he gets it right. I always thought Oldfield was at his best when working with someone else, I'm thinking about Tom Newman on the early masterpieces, David Bedford on Incantations, Pierre Moerlern and Morris Pert on Five Miles Out, etc. Here he has Torsten Stenzel, otherwise known as York, to show him the way. Maybe Light and Shade and Tres Lunas wouldn't have been so awful with this chap on board!? Importantly though, this isn't an album that pretends to be trance and misses the mark, this is the real deal with all the right sounds and production, this is the first truly modern Oldfield album in a generation.

I do though have reservations about the To France and Moonlight Shadow remixes They're just too cheesy for me, I can see them working really well on the radio though. I also find the new track; Never Too Far rather boring. It's far too familiar territory for Oldfield, very well produced but melodically could have been written any time in the last 20 years. York & Mike's Electrofunkmix of Guilty and Northstar though sound better than the originals to me so overall I'm happy.

I'm not sure that Tubular Beats works as an album though. I've prefered to listen to one or two tracks at a time, maybe I'm getting too old for this sort of thing! I certainly couldn't dance all the way through, those days are well behind me. Not sure about the sleeve and title either, it's not a Tubular Bells album and I would liked to have seen some interesting new artwork to add to the Oldfield mythology.

If you've come to Oldfield because you liked his Olympic appearance this album will not disappoint, buy it. If what you yearn for is a return to the Oldfield of Ommadawn and Hergest Ridge you'd be better off downloading Mohribold by Andrew Taylor. It's the only thing that's come close since Amarok. Google it, I downloaded it from a site called bandcamp. I've got a lot of mileage out of Mohribold and have raved on about it to every Oldfield and prog fan I can.
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on 14 February 2013
I approached this album with trepidation (I made sure I heard it before buying). I remember buying CDs in the 1980s with "bonus remixes" most of which were robotic tedium. This, however, offered the promise of being better as the original artist had been a key player in the project and the original multitrack tapes were used. As a follower of Mike Oldfield's music since Tubular Bells in 1972 I've always enjoyed the melody of his work and I'm pleased to say that isn't lost in this project which is, inevitably, much more about rhythm. Rather than mere remixes, we have here fundamental reinterpretations including some newly recorded parts. Having played it several times I'm enjoying it a lot, finding a similar feel to some of the 1970's work of Tangerine Dream - not just sampled repetition but often symphonic and certainly evocative. Clearly a lot of thought has gone in and it definitely isn't just a dance album. I'd recommend Oldfield enthusiasts to try to hear it before buying - some will loathe it, but I suspect more will enjoy it a lot.
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on 28 July 2014
It’s Mike Oldfield Jim but not as we know him.
That’s what I’d say if I was Dr Spock I’ve looked at this many times and decided not to buy it after only hearing the odd track but eventually I found somewhere to hear the whole album only then was I convinced that it was worth buying .
This is not a remastered tubular bells far from it it’s basically an electronic dance remix of some of the old classic tracks from earlier albums that’s the best way I can describe it.
I’m not a fan of electronic music as a whole hence the long time deciding to buy this one but it is a surprisingly good album as you listen to it the remixed tracks you hear are instantly recognisable but nowhere near the original putting a now twist on the old classics which are good to listen to.
I personally like it but I still strongly recommend you listen to the whole album before you decide some Oldfield Fans may say it’s a remix to far.
You will find it on you tube just type in Mike Oldfield Tubular Beats
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on 29 May 2014
As is my wont with Mike Oldfield albums I didnt get to listen to it prior to asking for it as a present. So it was with an open mind that I listened to it, and have listened to it a few more times before coming up with this review. I have definite ambivilent feelings towards it.
As a standalone album I like it. I love the bassy rhythms and beats, great for putting on the headphones when out walking the dogs and on the music system to move around to in the house.
I am not sure what I really expected from this, Mike Olfield tracks remixed. I really enjoyed Light and Shade, but those were all new tracks.
I expected there to be more recognisable Mike Oldfield instrumental parts in the mix. A couple of times had to look at the rack listing to see what I was meant to be listening to!
There were two tracks I really looked forward to, Moonlight Shadow and Never Too Far. The vocals on Moonlight Shadow are good, but the part that always brings the track to life for me are the guitar solos, and these just dont exist anymore. The track was pleasant but didnt move me.
When i saw that Tarja was singing on Never Too Far I got quite excited. I first heard her singing with Nightwish, and later on a solo album, WinterStorm. Again I was disappointed as the soaring vocals I associate with Tarja never materialised. I have listened to this album in bed, and Never Too Far managed to send me to sleep. It never really gets going to me.
So love, some hate it..... Iam going down the middle. Enjoyable but not what I expected.
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on 3 December 2013
Terrific remixes of Mike Oldfield's work. Some of these come from my absolute favourite Mike Oldfield albums, so I wasn't sure how much I would appreciate the remixes. But these are done very well, allowing you to revisit old favourites for the first time :-)
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on 23 May 2015
As I'm not an Oldfield purist I plumped for this as I do like some of the earlier BT/Hardfloor remixes of Let There Be Light. York sometimes remix without Mike, sometimes with his help, on this varied album revisiting older material. Surprisingly not quite the dance album I'd thought it would be, several tracks are quite low BPM still and often ambient in places - and these work the best. A few tracks have so little to do with the original that they do grate a bit after a while, but in the vast majority of cases this album works as a stand-alone project.

Get To France and Moonlight Shadow are not Sally's vocals, sadly, but the new vocalist does a reasonable job amongst the worst production and mixing on this album - both are a bit cheesy and needed Mike to pop in and say 'hold on, let's try this again'. That's not to say they aren't fun, but just weak spots. However having some vocals does vary the material more, otherwise it would essentially be instrumental throughout.

Basic, quite flimsy, card fold-out sleeve with a nice little insert with liner notes from York as to how the project came about. His daughter also contributes spoken intro to one track, which makes it more of a personal project for all involved.

The final track is a piano/key ballad and new material - not overly exciting but it is quite a nice way to chill out after the faster trance numbers!
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on 14 March 2014
Overall brilliant even the weaker are better than anything on Man on the Rocks by a distanceand taht's taking into account the genre difference. Not new stuff but the remixes work for me.
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on 12 June 2013
OK so I've been an Oldfield fan for 25 years and love practically every note he recorded up to Songs Of A Distant Earth. Millenium Bell was the turning point and I've not enjoyed much since. I am also a big fan of electronic music past and present, from Bruce Haack to Diskjokke. I was expecting the worst from this release, having long since tired of the endless re-hashing of Tubular Bells. It came up as recommended listening on Spotify and I thought why not..

Well I was pleasantly suprised to begin with. The re-constructions of the instrumental tracks actually worked. They've been given a lot of thought and the sound is genuinely contemporary without losing the character of the original. Not quite as effective as say Kraftwerks "The Mix" but impressive and enjoyable.

Then came the turning point: To France. Oh dear God... The songs do NOT work. Not in any sense, they are truly cringe making. I couldn't listen. It's Oldfield goes X-Factor.

So, like any review on here this is just an opinion and it appears others have somehow managed to derive pleasure from these abominations. Fair play, but in an age where new music is instantly accessible as a stream, I would encourage anyone thinking of buying this to have a proper listen first. Not 10 second teaser clips, but a full audition. If you decide it still floats your boat, then all good, but if like me you think half of it isn't worthy of even the most cloth eared of nincompoops, then proceed with caution and look at buying individual downloads.

Oh, and a note for Mike: If you're reading, please, please stick to doing what you have always done better than anyone else, creating organic, instrumental music with soul, quality musicianship and endless layers and melodies that create a musical treasure trove for the listeners to discover and enjoy forever. Oh and the occasional gem of a pop song :-)

(...and remaster Passed You By for a proper release)
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on 18 April 2013
Being a fan of Mike Oldfield since the 70s, I really enjoyed this. I knew all of the tunes and found the modern twist really great.
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