Tubular Bells Import, Original recording remastered
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The multichannel SACD mix is presented in 4.0 channel sound (rather than the usual 5.1). This is because the original multichannel track was developed for 1970s quad. While usually transfering a quad track to modern multichannel is bad, in this case it works very well. There is no LFE or center channel included in the recording.
There is a very detailed description of the history of Tubular Bells in the CD booklet that accompanies the disc. The disc also contains the original two track Tubular Bells as an SACD layer and a CD layer. Interrestingly enough, some of the original Tubular Bells was re-recorded in the 1970s for the multichannel version. So the stereo and 4.0 mixes truly are different.
While I would normally not recommend taking a quad recording and releasing it in any modern format (see Paul McCartney's "Venus and Mars" on DTS CD as an example of what not to do), Tubular Bells sounds fresh and clean.
For those who have not heard the album before, it really defies categorization. While very "listenable", it is also very experimental in the use of instrumentation and creating an environment of interesting sounds. There are only two tracks on the SACD.
The SACD is playable on CD and SACD players. For high definition sound, you'll need an SACD player. For multichannel high definition sound you'll need a multichannel SACD player, such as Sony's SCD-CE775.
Overall this is very enjoyable music that luckily is now available in 4.0 channel surround sound.
The album was supposed to end with a drunken version of the Sailor's Hornpipe recorded live one morning, with semi-coherent commentary by Vivian Stanshall. That's the version on "Boxed", and I so wish it was the version on this release--so much so that I edited my own version by combining the two.
This elderly recording has an earnestness and heart that shines through the limited recording technology available; warts and all, it's a better album than the 2003 re-recording.
This re-recording is hopefully the last we will hear of the Tubular Bells franchise. I do believe that Mike kept making TB albums (TB2 and TB3) to deal with his own disappointment with the original and not being able to re-record his original. Tubular Bells 2003 is TB the way it should sound. The beauty of the melodies is truly brought out in this recording! Every track from the original 1973 version is brought to life and given a new life in TB2003 - while remaining faithful to it's roots. The only downfall of this re-recording is the use of synths in sections. In my opinion that is what dates an album - keyboard synths. According to Oldfield only 10 percent of this album is keyboard and 90 percent is played by hand.
Some of the highlights of this album is the beautiful and constant use of the Mandolin. Breathtaking!! In the track 'Harmonics' you can hear, about 30 seconds in, a beautiful vocal by Sally Oldfield (Mike's sister) - very haunting!
The strong points in this album are the more relaxing tracks - Latin, A Minor Tune, Ghost Bells, Russian, Harmonics, Peace, and Ambient Guitars.
One of my favourite tracks is the track 'Blues'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The album Tubular Bells 2003 exceeded my expectations as one of the better updates surpassing the original by Mike Oldfield. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Leonard Bruce
This is for existing Oldfield fans much more than new fans; it's a re-recording of the original Tubular Bells. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Paul Beyard
Rushed out and purchased vinyl in 70's . Awe inspiring instrumentals collection played on many instruments by one 19yr old.Published 15 months ago by Todd
This is not the original album, and, on first listen, there seem, to me, to be significant differences. Read morePublished 20 months ago by John R. Strohm