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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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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on 11 May 2016
A reviewer said "It almost sounds like an inferior re-recording"
A reviewer said "its been ruined by the remixing"
A reviewer said "it seems to have a lot of unnecessary embellishments"
A reviewer said "the remastered version which loses something"

I ignored them all and purchased it, and played it as soon as it arrived. Durn, wish I had paid more credence to the above negatives.

Played it a second time and realized my disquiet in addition to the above reviewers. If a tribute band played Tubular Bells....this is what it would sound like. Not played a third time, just tossed it in the bin.


Most of the reviewers mentioned above refer to a comparison with the original. If, like myself you owned, listened to and enjoyed the original LP then this version with leave you wondering "where has that bit bit gone?" "what happened to that section?"which does affect the enjoyment as you start to listen for changes (and there is no doubt, this version has been "fettled").

So if you have fond memories and are looking for a modern reproduction this is not it. If you rarely/never heard the original you may well still enjoy this.
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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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on 18 October 2015
This was a nostalgia purchase. I added it to my wishlist after the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony, which features this. It was the first album released on the Virgin Label, so I feel I owe it something to that too. It is beautiful. A simple tune that builds and builds with layers of instruments joining in. It works equally well as background music or something to really focus in on. Oldfield's "Islands" is my favourite but I would hate to be without this.
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2016
How on earth did an experimental instrumental album with only two 26 minute tracks with no lyrics to talk of ever get made. It got made because, Mike Oldfield is a bone fide genius, Richard Branson was looking to get into the music business and of course a healthy dose of extreme good luck didn't go amiss.

I wasn't actually aware of this truly great album until it was picked up by William Friedkin and used in his film version of William Peter Blatty's book The Exorcist. It got a lot of airplay because of the notoriety of the film and it could be argued that the film sealed its fate and as a result it is now regarded as one of the greatest albums ever made. In 1974 when Gary Glitter, Sweet and Boney M where in the charts, Tubular Bells was mind-blowing stuff even if there were no singles released from the album. There is no doubt that it became for some, including me, a must have album that got talked about. It wasn't just music, it was more than that, owning it got you into a particular club of like minded people who thought music could be more than just what's in the charts. That simple hunting opening sequence drew you in and wouldn't let go, it's regular reappearance later on, like a lietmotif throughout the running time, reminding you of that striking opener and keeps the piece a whole rather than a series of linked works. I was very proud of my copy and played it often.

The wonderfully simple album art showing a bent tubular bell is still spectacular even today 42 years later.

A special little bit of my youth and it's still going strong.
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on 19 May 2016
If you have never heard this album, or have a worn out LP version (like me), buy it now!!
The addition of a couple of singles on the end of what is a quite extraordinary album.
I can't say enough praise for this album, it's a classic and every house should own one.
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