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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2013
This still sounds fresh and crisp some 40 years since I first bought Oldfield on vinyl. He was sensational then, conceptually, artistically and musically. With digital sound and great headphones, I've heard nuances and background instruments on almost every track that were never so clear. It's a belting taster and I've played it over and over since downloading. A true and timeless classic.
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on 16 June 2009
The old tubular bells from 1973 has been digitally remastered and remixed by Mike Oldfield.

I was dubious about this project, as the TB "brand" has, been arguably stretched beyond breaking point over the years.

But the new version is really rather beautiful. Much more of the playing can now be heard, and the brilliance of the composition is even more evident than it was in 1973.

It's worth the money. A very pleasant surprise.
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on 10 September 2013
I am a jazz enthusiast in my mid- 70s and I've just "discovered" Mike Oldfield through buying this CD package at a bargain price on Amazon.
Of course, I was familiar with the hit singles and was aware of the original "Tubular Bells" but had never actually heard it.
I'm now a Mike Oldfield enthusiast and have obtained some of his other full length albums as I consider him to be an extraordinary talent as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer of some wonderful music.
Some reviewers have called this stuff "good background" music but I have to disagree. It demands your attention in its many forms of melodious neo-classical, rock, folk, heavy metal etc.
The only slight criticism I would make about Oldfield's albums are that some of them sound very similar. You have to hear "Music Of The Spheres", "The Voyager" or "Guitars" for something a bit different while still bearing the stamp of his superb talent.
For those who have yet to discover this man's immense talent and ability to enthral the discerning listener, this set is a perfect introduction. You get the original "tubular Bells" complete on one disc and the hit singles with excerpts from his most highly rated albums on the other. Like me, new listeners will no doubt go on to acquiring more albums.
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on 15 June 2009
The original TB album is given a stunning re-mix by it's creator, offering a crisp new recording with subtle audio embellishments which allow the listener to hear parts of the music that were never properly captured before! And as if that wasn't enough, a collection of his most well known tunes are collated on disc 2 - the powerful Ommadawn (seen here in short form) and commercially-embraced hits like Moonlight Shadow (one of the biggest selling singles in it's year of release.)

Mike Oldfield truly is an artist like no other, and it's great to see him hitting the album charts once again. This is the perfect gift for father's day!
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VINE VOICEon 19 June 2009
It seems that Tubular Bells has given Mike Oldfield some very contrasting emotions. For a long time he seemed not to be able to cope with the scale of the reaction to his first solo work and spent a long time running away from it. In latter years, however, it seems that he has accepted it much more, even to the point (some might say) of milking it. So, at first sight this 'best of' collection, which includes a new mix of TB might seem to be an exercise in squeezing yet more out of the CD buyer in the street.

Don't be misled though, this is well worth the money. Why? Because it sounds beautiful. More than ever, the mix is spacious and airy, giving instruments in both parts a chance to really stand out and shine. The acoustic passages in particular sound fabulous. and some of the slightly anomalous artefacts in the original mixes have been smoothed a little: the cymbal at 6.10 in Part 1 no longer swamps everything and the bells themselves at Part 1's end now sound rather more restarined and easier on the ear (especially through headphones).

The little gem of the disc, however, is Oldfield's original plan for the end of part 2, previously to be found as an extra of the Boxed collection. Here, a 'refreshed' Viv Stanshall regales us with a narration during his peregrinations around The Manor, with Oldfield in tow playing the Sailor's Hornpipe. VS's inability to say the words 'anthropology' and 'apology', when apologising for not being able to say 'anthropology', are hilarious.

However, the reason I give this collection only four stars is the second disc, The Collection itself. It's a bit of a disappointment. Even allowing for having to fit everything on one disc there are some odd omissions: nothing from Platinum, nor from Hergest Ridge. In fact, earlier 'best of' collections probably do a better job of rounding up that part of his career, not to mention really good later work like Islands or Amarok that's beyond the scope of this disc. It's not awful by any means, just a bit of a let down after the TB mix.

Tubular Bells is the work for which, above all, Mike Oldfield will be longest remembered. It's probably for this reason that he is spending so much effort making sure that the definitive versions (both this stereo mix and the 5.1 surround mixes that are also available) are the best they can possibly be. This package is still very much worth the cash, if only for the chance to hear Tubular Bells in an entirely new light.
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on 27 May 2010
Rock landmark or series of build-ups without a climax? New direction in music, or merely an interesting dead-end? I suppose you pays your money and takes your choice about Tubular Bells. This was the first time I'd heard it in twenty years and I must say I enjoyed it more than in those days, when I expected a little more action from my music. I still think the 'grand piano' section goes on forever. Look how many instruments I can play!

Disc two is a collection of Oldfield's shorter works. Again, I hadn't heard 'Shadow on the Wall' since listening to my Mum's old LP of Crises, about the time I started Big School. It's good to have things like that, Moonlight Shadow and folky efforts like Portsmouth and In Dulce Jubilo - masterpieces in miniature - all in one place. It's only a shame there aren't more of them, because excerpts from the longer album pieces don't work so well.

What I'm really waiting for, though, is the re-issue of Hergest Ridge...
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on 5 July 2009
Fans of Mike Oldfield might well ask themselves if another version of Tubular Bells is warranted or indeed welcome, especially after having been presented with 'Tubular Bells 2003', which offered (or so it was claimed) the 'Tubular Bells' that Oldfield had always envisioned and hoped for, correcting mistakes in the original 1973 version. And this isn't the first time that the 1973 recording has been remixed. 1976 saw the release of 'Mike Oldfield Boxed', originally featuring Quad remixes of 'Tubular Bells', 'Hergest Ridge', 'Ommadawn' and other assorted material, which would later be remixed back in to stereo.

So fans now have another remixed version of 'Tubular Bells' to add to the remixed and remastered editions (remember the HDCD issues!)they already own. Is there justification for this, or is this a sign of creative exhaustion on the part of Oldfield, issued to cynically trade on the loyalty of his fanbase?

Certainly purchasers should be aware that this doesn't offer a radically alternative version of the music, the approach appears to have concentrated on stripping back elements of the old mix to highlight and reveal workings within the music previously obscured. A quick comparison against an earlier remastered 'Tubular Bells' (1973) and remixed 'Tubular Bells' (1976)reveals that the presence of the bass within the mix has been lessened, creating greater air and space.

There are standout moments - a thinning out of the musical texture to reveal a melodic line (6.57) and percussive structures (8.00) and a piano and vocal section (13.48) is presented anew - building upon the approach in TB76. The end section of side one opens with fresh clarity, particularly heard seen in the spoken introduction to each new instrument. But the new mix isn't entirely successful, particularly in the end section of Side 1. The dramatic and climactic entry of the bells previously emerged out of a controlled rhythmic chaos, but here the bells sound sharply defined and almost apart from the underlying mix, altogether too clean. Part 2 offers an opportunity for Oldfield to clarify elements within the mix which was always less structurally and musically challenging than Part 1. The revelation begins with the start of the 'Caveman' section (11.45), which has never sounded finer. The leading edge and impact of the drums is viscerally felt and interplay of the guitar is magnificent.

As an addition to the recording this particular edition also features a re-worked version of an earlier single release ( entitled 'Mike Oldfield's Single) and a version of the 'Sailor's Hornpipe' which previously featured in the 1976 boxed edition. The accompanying disc features highlights from the earlier part of Oldfield's career, but it is not clear if this material has been remastered.

So. Do you buy? If you already own a remastered version of TB73 then purchase isn't essential as this remix does not improve substantially on what you already own. The recording is undeniably bright, clean and loud sounding, but in comparison to earlier editions it lacks tonal depth and perspective. It very much presents an 'all or nothing' approach to the sound, which you may either love or loathe.

More generally however, a cynic might wonder if this is the last time that 'Tubular Bells' will emerge in a 'remixed' form (there is the 50th anniversary to consider), and whether the patience of fans will stretch to accept another such offering. Oldfield has stated that he has never written a better riff than the opening to 'Tubular Bells', and perhaps he can now move on in at least two ways. With Oldfield now in control of his back catalogue fans might hope that other recordings will be given the same level of care and attention in respect of mastering, packaging and thematically linked bonus material as there are some which are no less deserving of his attention(Ommadawn, Incantations and particularly Hergest Ridge immediately spring to mind). There is far more to Oldfield than 'Tubular Bells' - he might well be the only person not to realise this. Furthermore, whilst his back catalogue could be revisted as outlined above perhaps Oldfield will finally move on from 'Tubular Bells' and concentrate on writing and recording new music. The fans, for all their patience and support, deserve no less.
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on 14 February 2014
Way back when as we all know Mike Oldfield started Branson's Music Label with Tubular Bells of which some Is on here and 35 to 40 years It's the same haunting tone which sticks In your mind, It's like It never goes away and It's nostalgia and that's why I bought It.
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on 10 January 2014
I bought this as I only have the original on vinyl. I thought remastering would simply mean the original improved but certain sections have changed. I will buy the original and keep this for the additional tracks
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VINE VOICEon 19 October 2010
Quite simply it's just great to hear this music again which previously I had owned on vinyl, and not heard since 19?? ... too much about how old I must be! The music sounds great all over again and the quality of recording is also great. I know there have been many versions of TB brought out over the years and I note that other reviewers have found this tiresome, however I don't feel the need to buy them all so found this version both true to the original and I enjoyed it.
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