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Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells III (1999) Retail CD
Prog-Rock/ Art Rock
In the beginning there was Tubular Bells, and it was good. And the public heard that it was good (or were effectively creeped out by the part of it used in The Exorcist). And yea, some years later Mike Oldfield did think to revamp it, using better technology and molding the work into a new form. And the public did have mixed feelings; some were thrilled, some felt it was so much fluff. And yea verily, Mike did return yet again with Tubular Bells III, but did not make the album another reworking this time. And this listener, at least, was quite pleased.
In classic Oldfield form, this is a mostlymore… instrumental suite flowing from one section to the next and presenting various tasty sounds/textures throughout. Through shifting atmospheres, middle-eastern trance ("Serpent Dream") and yes, an occasional stretch veering into new-age territory ("The Top of the Morning"), there's still a consistent flow & mood to the whole thing. Some of it's pretty spacey (a-la Songs of Distant Earth) but I don't think the cheese level gets excessive.
Mike probably realized that reworking the first two Bells again would unquestionably be overkill.. hell, this album invited the risk of overkill just by existing. So he sticks to the timeless piano theme - spiced up with some subtle electronic textures this time - and reuses only a couple basic motifs throughout. "Inner Child" is very loosely based on the familiar haunting vocal section. "Outcast" flirts with the same bouncy fuzz-thrash idea that the other albums had, but remains far from a retread. And of course the tubular bells themselves must appear somewhere.
That's where the family resemblance ends. The layer-building section with the voice announcing the instruments is nowhere to be heard. Ditto the growling Piltdown Man sequence, which may be a relief for anyone who thought its treatment in TB2 was too ridiculous. And the closing hoedown is gone; instead we get the most effective finale of the three, a propulsive eargasmic crescendo thundering across the vast sky. (Listen between the lines and you'll hear him integrating the bass line from the grand finale of TB1's first half. Sneaky.) The thing that doesn't quite fit is "Man in the Rain," a catchy pop tune that's inevitably out of place in the middle of the instrumental work. But as someone below said, on its own it's a decent track and the flow of the album isn't harmed if it's skipped.
Obviously the original Bells is the one to begin with. If you'd like something more light and lush, try TB2; if you don't mind some electronic touches, come right here.
|1||The Source Of Secrets|
|2||The Watchful Eye|
|3||Jewel In The Crown|
|6||The Inner Child|
|7||Man In The Rain|
|8||The Top Of The Morning|
|11||Far Above The Clouds|
- Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells III (1999) Retail CD
- 945 x 945 px
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- 15/04/07 by zappman
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Rated 4 of 5 (2 votes). Click CDs to vote!