Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]



Pages: (6) < 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 >

[ Track this topic :: Email this topic :: Print this topic ]

Topic: my thoughts, one of the few who LIKE this album< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Sir Mustapha Offline




Group: Musicians
Posts: 2802
Joined: April 2003
Posted: May 08 2005, 18:00

Ommadawny... That's a very interesting thing to say. I hadn't though about it that way before, but it's true. To me, the moodiness and gloom in TB were some of the most crucial elements to the album - take them away, and it just isn't TB anymore. TB2003 might just have been just that, taking a totally different approach towards the same piece of music. That's an interesting thing to do, but I just don't like the way TB2003 sounds so "modern". It's like Mike things his recent albums should carry the sounds of 'their time' (like Korgscrew said a few posts above, a few years ago) instead of brewing an unique, timeles sound like he did in '73. The booming drums in 'Finale', the synths, the samples drums of 'Caveman', the synths, the lack of dynamics, the synths... I dunno, those aren't exactly the elements that make an "improvement" on the sound. Maybe I just don't like many of the modern production values...

--------------
Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
raven4x4x Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 1535
Joined: Jan. 2002
Posted: May 08 2005, 22:27

Well, I've just listened to it, and it really is an album of two halves for me. I like the new Part One a lot less than the original, but then I love the original Part One so much that it was inevitable that I would dislike the majority of the changes. I'll have to listen to it more closely to say exactly why, but I'll just say that Part One of the original gives me a  feeling that no other album gives me, a feeling which I can't describe at the moment. The new version doesn't give me that feeling.

In Part Two of the new version, I feel he has improved on the original, and quite dramatically so in several places. I never was a huge fan of the original Part Two, so I suppose I'm more open to this new version. Everything just sounds so much clearer than the original. One of the biggest improvements is the Bagpipe Guitars section: that incessant droning was probably my least favourite section in the original, and the addition of the acoustic guitar does a lot to help save me from a headache. I find the Caveman/Woman section alright: the drums have never struck me as particularly un-natural sounding.

The most special moment on the album for me is Ambient Guitars. To me, the original of this section sounds like it was recorded with the microphone several hundred metres away from the amp. This is evident throughout the original without me really caring (although I never even noticed the bass in the introduction until someone pointed out it was there), but in the Ambient Guitars section the guitars were so lost in the mix that all emotion was ruined for me. Not so with the new version. The guitars are present in their full clarity, and all the emotion of the piece comes through to me. Yes, they might be playing almost exactly the same solo from 1973, but there is no comparison between the two versions to me in terms of emotional impact. This is a very special moment in Mike's music for me, and one of the reasons why Mike is my favourite guitarist of all time.


--------------
Thank-you for helping us help you help us all.
Back to top
Profile PM 
arron11196 Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 826
Joined: April 2005
Posted: May 09 2005, 05:59

Maybe the actual difference between the two stems from the honing of technique that Mike has managed to achieve over the last 30 years. For example, if you listen to all of the albums in sequence, you can feel a... solid progression of style (and now solidified with TB 73 sounding... ommadawny) and I think that's not only due to experimentation and experience but also to honed technique.

What say everyone?


--------------
Arron J Eagling

Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

(insert the last 5 mins of Crises here)
Back to top
Profile PM 
Sir Mustapha Offline




Group: Musicians
Posts: 2802
Joined: April 2003
Posted: May 09 2005, 12:51

Quote (raven4x4x @ May 08 2005, 22:27)
Well, I've just listened to it, and it really is an album of two halves for me. I like the new Part One a lot less than the original, but then I love the original Part One so much that it was inevitable that I would dislike the majority of the changes. I'll have to listen to it more closely to say exactly why, but I'll just say that Part One of the original gives me a  feeling that no other album gives me, a feeling which I can't describe at the moment. The new version doesn't give me that feeling.

I have that too, except that I can more-or-less explain what feeling it is. It's teenagehood. Being lost in thoughts, thinking "What the hell is going on in my head?" And I enjoy every second of it, if only because Mike expresses that opinion in a beautiful, sensitive, original way. Every element of that side is important to create that thing. It's a delicate balance. Yet in the 2003 rerecording, it's like Mike wanted to exactly destroy THAT feeling: every little segment of music has been "separated", isolated and made less strange, less unique and less idiosyncratic. Wild fuzz guitars and growling basses? Make it into hair metal! Nasal choir? Too weird, wipe it out. Tense acoustic guitars and running pianos? Make it tame and quiet this time around.

Now, I can see how Part Two may sound "better", with improved clarity and all. But I can't get over that "modern" production. I've never seen that comment about Ambient Guitars, and I think I understand why so many people like it so much now! But my feelings are 100% opposite: the original guitars whispered in my ears, and the new ones sound like they're making a political speech. I dunno... too clear? To the point of being obvious? I don't know if you can understand me.


--------------
Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 09 2005, 17:26

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ May 08 2005, 23:00)
instead of brewing a unique, timeless sound like he did in '73.

It's interesting how people perceive this differently. When I first heard TB in ... 1978-ish ... I thought it already sounded strangely 'old'. The recording seemed muffled, the bass woolly and ill-defined. At the time I was very keen on enjoying my newly-improved hifi system, and very much enjoyed the combination of clarity of sound and accurate and convincing ambience that I was experiencing in the very best opera recordings I was listening to at the time.

I always thought Tubular Bells sounded poor by comparison (if such a sentence is meaningful) - certain parts seemed dull, 'boxy', and lacking in ambience, with an unconvincing stereo image - it reminded me of older recordings of classical music in that respect. It didn't stop me enjoying it, but it certainly took the edge off it; and the raggedness of some of the timing was a bit disturbing too.

On the whole I've enjoyed live recordings of Tubular Bells more than the original studio recording, partly for this reason. And as I play TB2003 more, I find myself thinking that choosing to play the original TB is going to be come an increasingly rare event. But back to my main point - one person's 'timeless' seems to be another's 'dated'.
Back to top
Profile PM 
Sir Mustapha Offline




Group: Musicians
Posts: 2802
Joined: April 2003
Posted: May 09 2005, 17:52

I'm already thinking that the "ambience" and "atmosphere" of a record are all in the listener's head, not in the album. In fact, I'd dare say that everything in a piece of music that can't be expressed in notes and waveforms is inside the listener's head. Yes, I'm including emotion, soul, feel, and all that. Dunno, just a personal thesis.

But anyway, TB does have a lot of atmosphere to me - it's just not a conventional, "clear" atmosphere. There's haze all over the album. Maybe it wasn't intentional, but I love it. I just prefer when an artist or producer make the album the way they want to, and let the listeners make up their own minds about what it all means. An artist that wants to make an album with one atmosphere and interpretation (like Mike did in TB2003) has to have an OUTSTANDINGLY good notion of sound and everything else to make the masterpiece he intended. I could mention Eno here.


--------------
Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 09 2005, 18:15

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ May 09 2005, 22:52)
I'm already thinking that the "ambience" and "atmosphere" of a record are all in the listener's head, not in the album. In fact, I'd dare say that everything in a piece of music that can't be expressed in notes and waveforms is inside the listener's head. Yes, I'm including emotion, soul, feel, and all that. Dunno, just a personal thesis.

Well of course everything we experience is in our heads, so I'm not sure what you're getting at here. However - presuming that we're not going to go down the road of subjective idealist philosophy - in terms of the effects of preserving acoustic ambience, this is very demonstrably external in origin I think.

At the time I was talking about I'd just added a pair of LS3/5A BBC monitors to my system, and it was quite a revelation. It was as if I'd never really heard many of my records properly before. That ability to reproduce the detail of acoustic ambience was really impressive - but through these newly cleaned audio windows, Tubular Bells still sounded pretty well its dull old self. (Platinum sounded stunning though! )

Obviously what one actually likes about the ambience is purely subjective - but the point I'm trying to make is that it wasn't in my head.
Back to top
Profile PM 
Sir Mustapha Offline




Group: Musicians
Posts: 2802
Joined: April 2003
Posted: May 09 2005, 19:57

Quote (Alan D @ May 09 2005, 18:15)
At the time I was talking about I'd just added a pair of LS3/5A BBC monitors to my system, and it was quite a revelation. It was as if I'd never really heard many of my records properly before. That ability to reproduce the detail of acoustic ambience was really impressive - but through these newly cleaned audio windows, Tubular Bells still sounded pretty well its dull old self.

That gives me a huge relief: I don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy everything TB has to offer me!

It just goes completely against my musical philosophy to think that "sound" can harm so much a musical composition. A great musical composition (like Tubular Bells) is always good, "weak" production or not. The problem only comes when an album is given a production that's inadequate to the style of music, which is not the case here. And I'm not convinced that TB2003 improves on the original just with a couple of expensive equipment and synthesizers. When I think of the insane effort Mike Oldfield, Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth went through to finish that album, I can forgive virtually any failure in the sound. And that is all in my head. I guess that's what I tried to explain before.


--------------
Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
raven4x4x Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 1535
Joined: Jan. 2002
Posted: May 09 2005, 20:57

After listening to the original, I'm struck by just how different it sounds from anything Mike has done since. That rough guitar distortion, those steel-string guitars like the one that starts at 10 minutes 30 seconds into part one, those organs, the minimalistic feel going on for much of it; in terms of both sound and feel it is quite unlike anything else he's done.

Going through Part One, I don't feel that a lack of sound quality ruins anything much, but I still don't like the fact that the bass in the introduction is mixed so low that I have to really concentrate to hear it. One other criticism I have is that the bells coming in at the end don't give me that feeling of a big climax worthy of such a piece. The TB 2003 version sounds a lot 'bigger' to me. But still, I absolutely love the original Part One. The main reason I'm listening to the original now is to see what I think of Ambient Guitars, and I stand by my previous post; the guitars are just too quite to have any effect on me.

Considering the albums as a whole, I still prefer the original. TB 2003 does have a more enjoyable Part 2 for me, but the original wins out.


--------------
Thank-you for helping us help you help us all.
Back to top
Profile PM 
arron11196 Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 826
Joined: April 2005
Posted: May 10 2005, 02:46

Hmm, the dialogue sir M and Alan have had got me to thinking...

Ages and ages ago there was a period on classic FM TV where they would play a lot of Karl Jenkins' music (from his Adiemus project) everyone in my family thought 'wow, what an outstanding accomplishment!' So I proceeded to buy the album. And, I was dissapointed. It didn't have anywhere near the feeling that I'd experienced watching it through the lower quality sound of television, and I think I know why:

Several years ago, In an A level physics lecture, it was described to me how the human psyche can 'allow' for poor sound quality and 'fill in the gaps' actively to produce a similar experience to when we ordinarily experience music. So this is obviously what happens with Adiemus for me, and I also think it's what happens with some people for Tubular Bells. You get so used to filling in the blanks that it just doesn't sound right unless you do it. It sounds... empty.

Thoughts anyone?

As for me, I was lucky enough to approach TB2003 first, giving me a different perspective.


--------------
Arron J Eagling

Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

(insert the last 5 mins of Crises here)
Back to top
Profile PM 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 10 2005, 06:06

Quote (arron11196 @ May 10 2005, 07:46)
the human psyche can 'allow' for poor sound quality and 'fill in the gaps' actively to produce a similar experience to when we ordinarily experience music.

Yes, that's bang on. We have an amazing ability to filter out the sounds we want from the sounds we don't want. I can still get (and do get) an enormous amount of pleasure from music played on a cheap small portable CD player. But it introduces so much distortion of one kind or another that it makes no difference whether I'm playing a good or a bad recording - differences that would be instantly recognisable on my 'proper' hifi.

Quote
(from Sir M) It just goes completely against my musical philosophy to think that "sound" can harm so much a musical composition.

I didn't say it ruined it; that would be too extreme. It's just that these particular limitations - the woolliness, the boxiness - always detracted from my enjoyment to some degree; and whatever the limitations of the 2003 version are, they're limitations that I don't notice, so that pretty well settles it for me. It feels like someone has opened a window and allowed the music to breathe.

If you think mere 'sound quality' in musical reproduction is unimportant, Sir M (and my enjoyment of the cheap portable player suggests that at one level I almost agree with you), nevertheless, being able to hear accurately what the music is doing does have distinct musical benefit. After all, the differences between a great performance and a mediocre one are often due to very subtle differences in intonation, and to be unable to distinguish them through reproductive distortion is to miss some of the musicianship.
Back to top
Profile PM 
Sir Mustapha Offline




Group: Musicians
Posts: 2802
Joined: April 2003
Posted: May 10 2005, 07:18

Arron's post makes a lot of sense. Being a part of the music itself is something I enjoy quite a lot. Presenting the music to you and putting you inside it are two different things, and I'm fairly sure TB does the latter, at least with me.

And I'm unsure of TB2003 "presenting" me the updated music like that. Both the "modern" aspects and the feeling it gives me that Mike is ashamed of Tubular Bells and thinks it should have never existed maked TB2003 pretty much useless to me. I don't need a piece of music that tries to convince me that TB sucks.

And finally, I don't think TB2003 breathes. It screams all the way through, from the piano at the Intro to the murmuring guitars. It's probably another album done in the "The Louder The Better" philosophy of modern production.


--------------
Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 10 2005, 07:44

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ May 10 2005, 12:18)
And finally, I don't think TB2003 breathes.

Since I do, I think we're very lucky to have both ...  ;)

I'm thinking about this 'presenting' versus 'inside' business that you mention, and I don't understand what you mean. All music presents itself, and we are (presumably) invited to engage and enter. Whether we do or not, and the degree to which we do, is the result of a huge number of variables, but basically it's up to us, not the music - so I'm puzzled.
Back to top
Profile PM 
Sir Mustapha Offline




Group: Musicians
Posts: 2802
Joined: April 2003
Posted: May 10 2005, 09:06

That comment ties up with what I mentioned a couple of posts above: whether the artist wants his album to have a clearly defined sound or an abstract atmosphere that the listener should define. Neither approach is bad by definition - it just changes the kind of listening. Many Ambient albums fall in the former category; remember "Apollo - Atmospheres & Soundtracks" which is supposed to be a Space album. It presents itself like that. But "Tubular Bells" isn't "supposed" to be anything. It just is.

As such, when listening to "Apollo", it's up to you to surround yourself with music, to get into the space mood. On the other hand, "Tubular Bells" challenges you - it's active, while "Apollo" is passive. Like I said, neither is bad because of that: it's just the nature of the albums.

And it's my opinion that Tubular Bells 2003 ALSO falls on the former cathegory. That crystal clear production, the waves of reverb, everything Mike said about it, the crystal blue ocean on the back cover... everything points towards that "defined" sound Mike tried to achieve. But "Tubular Bells" doesn't have anything like that. Those flaming bones... what do they mean?


--------------
Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
Back to top
Profile PM WEB 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 10 2005, 12:35

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ May 10 2005, 14:06)
That comment ties up with what I mentioned a couple of posts above: whether the artist wants his album to have a clearly defined sound or an abstract atmosphere that the listener should define.

Forgive me for being obtuse, but I can't relate to any of this. With Mike Oldfield we're talking about art - sometimes great art, I think - which is worthy of our complete attention (as opposed to ambient music which, by its very nature, mostly isn't). And the observer (or in this case the listener) then contemplates that art, making himself as receptive as he can - because as Marcel Duchamp pointed out decades ago, the artist only does part of the job; the listener does the rest.

So the final result - a kind of fusion between listener and music - is a kind of mutual creation that requires the implied presence of the artist (through his art) and the effective and receptive presence of the listener. This happens in every case of artistic activity/engagement I can imagine, to a greater or lesser degree - I don't believe those distinctions you're making exist, actually.

You're right that Tubular Bells is a challenging piece of art - but most serious art is challenging, at least initially, so I don't see where this gets us. If you think of a great painter - as his arm moves and the brush-stroke is made, he is able to control very precisely what's happening. The difference between a great painting and a merely good one is often due to barely perceptible nuances of line and colour and tone. But a kind of organic precision lies at the heart of it. Even the apparently rough brush strokes of a painting by Monet are laid with great clarity of purpose.

Now I think that's what Mike was trying to do in TB2003, conscious that he hadn't quite managed in in the original version. You might not like the result on a purely subjective level - but I can't see a problem with the process. But then, I'm not at all clear about what you're saying.
Back to top
Profile PM 
hiawatha Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 2391
Joined: Mar. 2004
Posted: May 10 2005, 16:16

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ May 08 2005, 18:00)
To me, the moodiness and gloom in TB were some of the most crucial elements to the album - take them away, and it just isn't TB anymore.

Are you thinking of the dirge somewhere in the middle of Side 1? I don't recall the minute/second of it.

--------------
"In the land of the Dacotahs,
Where the Falls of Minnehaha
Flash and gleam among the oak-trees,
Laugh and leap into the valley."
- Song of Hiawatha
Back to top
Profile PM 
familyjules Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 1156
Joined: May 2004
Posted: May 11 2005, 04:36

Quote (Alan D @ May 10 2005, 12:35)
You're right that Tubular Bells is a challenging piece of art - but most serious art is challenging, at least initially, so I don't see where this gets us. If you think of a great painter - as his arm moves and the brush-stroke is made, he is able to control very precisely what's happening. The difference between a great painting and a merely good one is often due to barely perceptible nuances of line and colour and tone. But a kind of organic precision lies at the heart of it. Even the apparently rough brush strokes of a painting by Monet are laid with great clarity of purpose.

Now I think that's what Mike was trying to do in TB2003, conscious that he hadn't quite managed in in the original version. You might not like the result on a purely subjective level - but I can't see a problem with the process. But then, I'm not at all clear about what you're saying.

If a painter attempted to replicate a famous painting some 30 years after the original was first unveiled, but in the updated version had chosen to alter several much-loved elements of the painting, and even more controversially had painted some of the canvas not with a brush but with an aerosol spray, then you would expect the result to be controversial and the fans of the original painting to be somewhat critical, wouldn't you?

I think most folks would prefer the first painting because they has admired it for 30 years and gotten to know its every detail.  Some folks new to the artist might prefer the new version, maybe because the airbrush technique made the result look more polished or even 'perfect'.

I think very few people would admire the two canvases equally, with an almost detatched emotional response.

I think an artist attempting to recreate a masterpiece is always going to be a controversial move.  In 99% of cases, I'd actually think it to be a pointless move.  Plus I do think a degree of sterility has crept into Mike's recording methods which detracts from the 2003 version.

So my heart agrees with Sir M, whereas my head can relate to Alan's arguments.

Ultimately, as Alan says, we have both versions.  It's not like the remix of Hergest Ridge where Mike sought to virtually wipe out the original version.

Jules


--------------
I like beer and I like cheese
Back to top
Profile PM 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 11 2005, 07:33

Quote (familyjules @ May 11 2005, 09:36)
I think very few people would admire the two canvases equally, with an almost detatched emotional response.

There's a muddle arising here because the discussion is trying to tackle two issues at once, and confusing them.

My post was really looking at Sir M's worry about 'definition', and what I wanted to point out is that all great art is well defined, even if it doesn't obviously look as though it is. So the idea that Mike realised (in hindsight) that there are areas in the original TB that he'd lost control of, and were not what he hoped for - that isn't in itself either surprising or reprehensible. That's my first and most important point.

The other issue is whether he should have attempted to 'improve' on it, and I agree that it's a highly dangerous road to travel, and it could have been a disaster - and some people think it was! But really I think this is the source of our differing preferences - not some strange idea about 'definition'.

But also I'd say that the analogy between music and painting breaks down, useful though it is as far as it goes. And the reason for that is that music is effectively recreated every time it's performed. Mike has been re-making Tubular Bells in live performance ever since he recorded it, often producing (in my view) more satisfying renditions than the original studio version. TB2003 could be seen as just another in a long line of re-creations.
Back to top
Profile PM 
Alan D Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 3670
Joined: Aug. 2004
Posted: May 11 2005, 07:53

I've just thought of another interesting parallel with painting.

When Constable was preparing his 6-foot landscapes for the Royal Academy, he painted a preliminary version at full size, using a broad brush. Then he started again and painted the 'final' (exhibited) version. Both versions survive.

And the same kind of argument still buzzes more than 150 years later. The full size sketches are very attractive and lively to modern eyes, and many people think the more 'refined' versions inferior - and vice versa.

But the same response applies. We have both, and can recognise differing merits (and demerits) in each. There is no 'best' version.
Back to top
Profile PM 
arron11196 Offline




Group: Members
Posts: 826
Joined: April 2005
Posted: May 11 2005, 08:21

As my Product Design teacher said, 'there is no right or wrong, only more.'

--------------
Arron J Eagling

Everyone's interpretation is different, and everyone has a right to that opinion. There is no "right" one, I am adding this post to communicate my thoughts to share them with like-minded souls who will be able to comment in good nature.

(insert the last 5 mins of Crises here)
Back to top
Profile PM 
119 replies since Aug. 06 2003, 15:11 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track this topic :: Email this topic :: Print this topic ]

Pages: (6) < 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 >






Forums | Links | Instruments | Discography | Tours | Articles | FAQ | Artwork | Wallpapers
Biography | Gallery | Videos | MIDI / Ringtones | Tabs | Lyrics | Books | Sitemap | Contact

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net