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Topic: Tubular Bells 2009 remaster, so what do we all think?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Herod Offline




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Posted: June 16 2009, 09:45

Ehi! Does anybody know anything of the version I was talking about in my post?  :)  ;)

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Bassman Offline




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Posted: June 16 2009, 10:24

Herod, are there any other details about that particular pressing that you can see on the record itself?  What is the country of manufacture on it?  It may be some variation that hasn't shown up in any of the normal discogs.

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Tubularman Offline




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Posted: June 17 2009, 07:23

i don't think anything yet :( still im waiting for it... I dont understand.. according to the mail from them, 9 june my order status was sent.. But now it its almost 10 days after and still no in my mailbox :(

edit:  :D

I gooot it!!!
They have sent me wrong kolli number (number of the mail) so i can check out the status. So the thing is a bit weird, because my local mailoffice had it all the time!!!
So now i got it! The Ultimate Edition..
First of all.. The design is great!!! All the stuff inside and the book and rare photos. wow.. I like the colours and the look.
Now left only is the listening..


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Ugo Offline




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Posted: June 17 2009, 08:55

Having now listened to all of the 5.1 mixes on the DVD (which are evidently intented as Mike’s “main mixes” – the stereo mixes being just a reduction of those), I can finally comment on them. I’m a teacher, so I’ll draw up a kind of blackboard parted in two halves... like in the olden times, where the names of “good pupils” and “bad pupils” made up the two lists on it. However, I’m not evil enough to concern myself with “good points” and “bad points” when talking about music, so I’ll just list what are IMHO the pluses and the minuses. For clarity, I’ll use the track titles from TB 2003 to identify the ‘movements’ in the original TB, even if (of course) the original work had no movement titles. Also, time references are to the 2009 stereo mix (Disc 1 in the Ultimate Edition).

The mixes, as a whole, sound undoubtly clearer, brighter, more spacious and more open than the 1973 mixes. Those were a little dark, obscure, in some points. Here all of the darkness is gone, and the new versions sound like Mike got finally rid of the demons which haunted him back in 1973 and apparently still haunted him by the time he did TB III. TB 2009 is not ‘demonic music’ anymore, it’s almost heavenly. :)

Regarding some comments in here about Mike ‘adding’ things to the recording, after reading the book and listening carefully to the mixes I’m convinced that Mike didn’t add anything: everything you hear here was on the original master tapes. You couldn’t hear some things in the 1973 mix because they were either mixed very low or kept out of the mix, you can hear them in the 2009 version because they’ve been brought up in the mix. This is true at least for TB... see below. ;)

Now, on to the single tracks...

Tubular Bells Part One

Pluses
1) The very first statement of the Introduction theme, on solo piano, has more echo on it, which makes it sound mysterious and slightly arcane, more so than the original.
2) When the organ first enters at 0:07, its entry on the original mix has always sounded very slightly rushed to me – like an edit was being performed right there, or like there’s a very quick fade-in. The cut is clearer in the new mix, and the organ’s volume is a bit lower, which fits in nicely.
3) The organ stabs during the Introduction still scare me a bit, which is good.
4) During the transition from “Basses” into “Latin”, the acoustic guitar starting from 7:43 is much brighter and clearer.
5) During “Russian”, the second acoustic guitar part starting from 16:48, which was in the Boxed mix but couldn’t be heard anywhere else (except on some vinyl LP copies of The Complete), which accidentally (?) featured an excerpt of TB Part One in its Boxed mix). So it’s very nice to hear it restored and brought up here.
6) Viv Stanshall’s announcements, in the original mix, sounded a little bit like they were being broadcast on an AM radio. Now, on the DVD, they sound just like Viv Stanshall is standing on a podium somewhere in your living room. :)
7) The bells themselves don’t sound dull at all on the DVD – they sound very powerful. I particularily like all of the extra clangs which were not on the original mix (these are from the Boxed mix, where AFAIK the whole tubular bells part was re-recorded with a new set, the old one being damaged).
8) The girls singing are definitely Mundy Ellis and Sally Oldfield – it’s not a synth patch. You can get that vibrato from a synth patch. :D

Minuses
1) I don’t like the fact that there’s an organ playing the main melody in “Basses” along with the double bass parts. The 1973 original was perfect, IMHO Mike shouldn’t have tampered with it in any way. Even the “Basses” track on TB 2003 souds weird to me, as it features just guitars and no basses at all. On the other hand, I love Mike’s reworking of the same theme in TB II (at the end of “Dark Star”), because it features almost the same instrumentation, albeit played on synths.
2) I do miss Mike’s sniffing during “Latin”! In the 1973 mix you can definitely hear him sniffing (inhaling with his nose) out of emotion, while playing his acoustic guitar solo. As far as I remember, that’s one of the main things that Mike wished he hadn’t included in the 1973 mix – one of its faults – but I loved it as an audio verité moment, and I do miss it here.
3) “Jazz” sounds like it includes one repetition too much, which isn’t in any other version of TB and which definitely sounds to me like a cut-and-paste job. Wasn’t Mike the kind of guy who used to hate repeating things too many times (which is one of the reasons why he remixed HR)? Of course he may have changed his mind about that since 1974, but that passage sounds to me like the main theme on lead acoustic guitars is repeated one time too much.
4) The “Reed and pipe organ” in the Finale is the toy-organ-sounding one first heard in the Boxed mix. I prefer the louder, more buzzy sound heard in the 1973 mix (and on the Ultimate Edition’s second disc), but that’s personal.

Tubular Bells Part Two

Pluses
1) From the very beginning of Part Two, and particularily in the organ/acoustic guitar ‘duet’ during “Peace”, the elusive second acoustic guitar part has been pushed up a great deal. I love this.
2) The whole of “Peace”, pretty much, sounds great. The mandolin-like guitars are particularily effective, and when the transition to “Bagpipe Guitars” occurs, the sound really fills up the room.
3) There’s a lot more presence in the massed bagpipe guitars, during the eponymous movement. They really sound like an orchestra, à la Brian May.
4) The “Caveman” section is louder, harder [check out those drums!], rockier and, with Mike’s newly brought-up additional grunts, also funnier.
5) The Sailor’s Hornpipe is the one featured at the end of the Boxed mix, including the scraped fiddle and the ‘pinging’ solo guitar, which I’ve always loved, and which can’t really be heard in the original 1973 mix.

Minuses
1) During the transition from “Bagpipe Guitars” into “Caveman”, the guitars traling off the former movement don’t sound like they go into a full fade – they sound like they’re cut. But maybe that’s just my impression, or maybe they’ve always been that way.
2) “Ambient Guitars” seems to contain an extra guitar track which isn’t there in the 1973 mix. That one has always been my least-favourite section of TB, because it sounds to me like it’s going endlessly round and round without ever arriving anywhere – like most jazz improvisations. The 2009 mix seems to feature an extra guitar, which adds to the piece’s intricacy. To me that’s not a plus.
3) The very last buzzing note, from an acoustic guitar, is very faint. It’s another bit of audio verité which was in the original recording and I’m sort-of missing here.

Continued below...


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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: June 17 2009, 11:22

... as I was running out of allowed smileys... :D

Mike Oldfield’s Single

Plus
When the oboe is heard on its own, up to 0:17, a very nice synth choir part is featured under it. I think this is definitely a new addition (the only one in the whole Ultimate Edition) – unless Mike somehow managed to remove the acoustic guitar picking and just retained the guitar’s echo track. But, as I said, it sounds very nice – Mike removed the only instrument playing under the oboe up to 0:17 (i.e. an acoustic guitar), so the oboe part would sound very empty if there was nothing under it. Filling the void with a synth choir may not be the most coherent solution with the original work’s recording date, but hey, IMHO it works.
On second thoughts, I think it may also be an organ... who knows? ;)

Minus
Obviously I don’t like the fact that the piece has been shortened from 4:36 to 3:56. But maybe this is again Mike not wanting to repeat things too much – he made his statements and that’s enough to him.

Sailor’s Hornpipe – Viv Stanshall version

Plus
When I play the DVD, I hear Mike, Tom and Viv walking all around the room! :D They already did when I played the Boxed mix through my Dolby Pro Logic II decoder, but here it’s so much better... almost visual. Also, I can hear Mike and Tom laughing their asses off behind Viv, which is way cool. :cool:

Minus
Also here, I don’t like the fact that the music has been shortened. But, as above, I can understand the reason for this choice of Mike’s (or at least I think so): the point, here, wasn’t really to feature all the music, but to feature all of Mike, Tom and Viv’s funny walk. And all of it is here, so I guess I can’t really complain too much. :)

And now, a few nice surprises for all of you loyal Tubularians. Follow the links below...

Surprise 1
Surprise 2
Surprise 3
Surprise 4

If any of these links go dead for any reason, just tell me.


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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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Sir Mustapha Offline




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Posted: June 17 2009, 20:55

Ok, now is the veredict from the guy who's always right and knows everything.

Ladies and gentlemen: Oscar Wilde.

(what?? What do you mean, "he's dead"?)

Crap. I'm just listening to the final moments of the new mix, side 2. I think I can be succint this time around, and sum up my feelings in a few words.

The good thing: the clearer and spacier mix is, at most times, adequate. In general it helps the experience quite a lot, by "un-muddying" the sound.
The bad thing: the dynamics are pretty much gone. Particularly on side 1. No more the sound slinks back into the shadows only to come slashing at your throat. Now, it's pretty much all normalised, and it seems to fill much more its idiotic role as a "new age" or "ambient" record.

Oddly enough, the roles are switched sometimes. The pastoral organ part on side 2 is still gorgeous as always (which is good, since it's my favourite part on the entire album), and the dynamics are actually improved -- the volume swells and shrinks quite impressively. However, the mix spoils some of the most intense moments, like the part immediately after the basses, and I really don't like the treatment given to the guitars sounding like bagpipes -- the piano glissando and the jarring cut were cool!

I wouldn't call the mix "bad", though. I guess I'd live happily if for some reason I lost the original album forever and only had the remix to listen to (which I can't really say about the 2003 disaster), but I won't replace the original mix with it. I think Tubular Bells is ALL about dynamics and power.

Oh, two other things: the cool panning effect with the two organs during the bluesy bit on side 1 is undone here -- it seems both organs play all the way through. Also, the acoustic guitar coda to side 1 is a different take, right? Because it's definitely not the same recording as the original; the flourishes are different, and the ever so slight swells in volume and tempo are absent.

EDIT: And whomever says the female voices on part 1 were replaced by synths? Those are definitely human voices, and the same as the original.


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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
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nightspore Offline




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Posted: June 18 2009, 02:32

Quote (Sir Mustapha @ June 17 2009, 20:55)
Ok, now is the veredict from the guy who's always right and knows everything.

Ladies and gentlemen: Oscar Wilde.

Sir M, I have no idea why you're suddenly talking about Oscar Wilde, but it does provide a good opportunity to slip in one of my favourite Wilde quotes:

In love we begin by deceiving ourselves, and end by deceiving everybody else.
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: June 18 2009, 06:44

"And I, my lord, may I say nothing?" :D

And:

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes". :)


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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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The Caveman Offline




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Posted: June 18 2009, 09:13

Anyone else notice that Branson is trying to make himself sound better aqaunted in the booklet?We all know that Mike got the Bentley for doing the QEH gig.In his autobiography he tells us that the Bentley was a wedding present from his parent upon his first marriage to Kristen.In the TB 2009 booklet he says he bought it from George Harrison!I doubt very much that at that stage Harrison would have even known who he was let alone sold him a car that he never even owned!!!Not the first time Mr Branson could be accused of spouting BS! :laugh:

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THE COMING OF THE GREAT WHITE HANDKERCHEIF IS NIGH.
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HRFanUSA Offline




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Posted: June 19 2009, 06:15

Quote (Ugo @ June 17 2009, 11:22)
And now, a few nice surprises for all of you loyal Tubularians. Follow the links below...

Surprise 1
Surprise 2
Surprise 3
Surprise 4

If any of these links go dead for any reason, just tell me.

Hi Ugo,

All four of the "surprise" links come up with Rapid Share "Errors" - not sure how to get around this.
Any ideas?

Thanks, Harry
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: June 19 2009, 11:33

@ Harry & everybody else: the previous links are dead. The surprises are downloadable files (I'm not going to tell you what they are!! :D); each of them could be downloaded 10 times, evidently 10 people have already downloaded them. :) However, no need to worry - I'm  re-uploading all four. Here are the new links:

Surprise 1 (new link)
Surprise 2 (new link)
Surprise 3 (new link)
Surprise 4 (new link)

Enjoy! :)


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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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Ghostmojo Offline




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Posted: June 21 2009, 10:55

I'm still digesting all this stuff, but it is very interesting (after all this time) to hear the original demos for the first time. The TBpt1 1972 rough mix is quite curious too - just needing that final bit of spit and polish :cool:

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" ... if you feel a little glum - to Hergest Ridge you should come ... "
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mikeythewaterboy Offline




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Posted: June 21 2009, 19:31

Pity they had to be rar files, my computer cant/wont play them, any help?
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Scatterplot Offline




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Posted: June 21 2009, 20:21

Download Winrar and install it. Then right click on the file you want to un-rar or un-zip. Then click extract.

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captainjjb Offline




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Posted: June 23 2009, 17:59

so, a "single" that is nowhere near as good as the original and a cut down Vic Stanshall hornpipe.  Ultimate?  Bollocks.
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: June 24 2009, 05:48

Quote (captainjjb @ June 23 2009, 23:59)
so, a "single" that is nowhere near as good as the original [...]

Useless to say, I don't agree. And about the full Hornpipe with Viv, that was on Boxed. I don't think there was any point in including it again here.

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Herod Offline




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Posted: June 24 2009, 07:47

I agree with Ugo on the single. The original was just plain wonderful, but this remix seems to me more emotional.

As for the 'Sailor'...well, not many people know/have "Boxed", so it was a good idea to include it...a better idea would have been putting it directly in the remix  :laugh:


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The Caveman Offline




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Posted: June 24 2009, 08:35

Sorry but i don't agree.I have a copy of the original MO's Single and for years i've wanted a nice clean clear sounding version so i was really looking forward to hearing it on CD.Lo and behold he's messed around with it.It's not that i dislike what he's done so much as i wish he's left it alone and just presented a cleaned up version of the original.
 As for the Viv version of the hornpipe i'm fine with the version here.Bit mistified as to the way it's ends here with the fading in and out thing but it's ok.Why did Mike chop a chunk of the hornpipe on the end of side 2 though?


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THE COMING OF THE GREAT WHITE HANDKERCHEIF IS NIGH.
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Atrastorm Offline




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Posted: June 25 2009, 04:13

I must say I think this is the best mix of the album ive heard. Every instrument has it own place which is great and the clarity of it all is good too.
The single is fantastic and I had it on repeat for ages, a real nice mix. and of course I love the druken ramblings of Viv Stanshall in the sailors hornpipe.

10/10 fantassimo!
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Tati The Sentinel Offline




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Posted: June 25 2009, 08:37

I'm sure that Sir M has downloaded the album since we can't buy it here in Brazil...I did the same thing,but I'm still waiting for my signed box.

A few words I have to say about it,while I'm waiting to hear it on CD - I prefer this new mix rather the original one from 1973,it has become more coese and during the listening flux it flows perfectly in my head.

I think that TB 2003 wasn't a lack of time from Mike,but it did help him to make this mix,I'm sure  ;)


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"But it's always the outsider, the black sheep, that becomes the blockbuster." - Mike Oldfield, 2014

"I remember feeling that I'd been judged unfairly and that I was going to prove them wrong." - Peter Davison, 2011
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