Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973) – Lp
Artist: Mike Oldfield
Title: Tubular Bells
Label: Virgin Records
Catalog# 87541 It
Tubular Bells is the debut record album of English musician Mike Oldfield, recorded when he was 19 and released in 1973 when he was 20.
It was the first album released by Virgin Records and an early cornerstone of the company’s success. Vivian Stanshall provided the voice of the “Master of Ceremonies” who reads off the list of instruments at the end of the first movement.
It was the first album released by Virgin Records and an early cornerstone of the company’s success. Vivian Stanshall provided the voice of the “Master of Ceremonies” who reads off the list of instruments at the end of the first movement. The opening piano solo was used briefly in the soundtrack to the William Friedkin film The Exorcist (released the same year), and the album gained considerable airplay because of the film’s success.
Mike Oldfield‘s groundbreaking album Tubular Bells is arguably the finest conglomeration of off-centered instruments concerted together to form a single, unique piece. A variety of instruments are combined to create an excitable multitude of rhythms, tones, pitches, and harmonies that all fuse neatly into each other, resulting in an astounding plethora of music. Oldfield plays all the instruments himself, including such oddities as the Farfisa organ, the Lowrey organ, and the flageolet. The familiar eerie opening, made famous by its use in The Exorcist, starts the album off slowly, as each instrument acoustically wriggles its way into the current noise that is heard, until there is a grand unison of eccentric sounds that wildly excites the ears. Throughout the album, the tempos range from soft to intense to utterly surprising, making for some excellent musical culminations. Mandolins and Spanish guitars are joined by grinding organs and keyboards, while oddball bells and cranking noises resound in the distance. In the middle of the album, guest Vivian Stanshall announces each instrument seconds before it is heard, ending with the ominous-sounding tubular bells, a truly powerful and dominating instrument. The most interesting and overwhelming aspect of this album is the fact that so many sounds are conjured up, yet none go unnoticed, allowing the listener a gradual submergence into each unique portion of the music. Tubular Bells is a divine excursion into the realm of new age music.
1. Tubular Bells, Part 1 (25:58)
1. Tubular Bells, Part 2 (23:20)