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Topic: Tubular Bells The Re recording released end of May< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Thomas Höögh Offline




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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 00:38

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Untill you started it was quite peaceful here :) No hard feelings.


Did you missed that part TOBY? I have nothing against liron and I too welcome this debate, it has been most interesting to read and follow and there never was and there is no hard feelings for liron from my side. I do not see liron as an official disturber of the peace here if thats what you think. I really do think it is great that someone for once started and took a debate here. But then again, I must say lirons alphabetic reply to my words in the debate was rather childish and surprised me quite a lot considering the quality of his other replies have.


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Crazy, terrible, wonderful, perfect!!!!

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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 03:59

You didn't object to working within the painting analogy while it looked like I'd got the facts wrong, liron ;)

But more seriously, it would probably be fair to say that comparing painting with music is like comparing apples with oranges (as the old saying goes). Put them next to each other in the fruit bowl and you're hardly going to mistake one for the other. But simply acknowledging their differences would be to ignore what the apple and the orange have in common; that they're both the fruit of a tree and have grown with light from the same sun and drops of rain falling from the same sky. If one was to talk about growing apples and oranges, the process is quite similar - the differences are just in the details.
So, I feel that if we're going to talk about what makes a quality piece of art, I don't think it matters whether we're talking about a piece of music, a painting or anything else - what matters is the quality of the ideas and of their execution, whether the work makes us feel something, whether it has that certain something that makes us come back to it.
Of course, lots of things shape the way we think, and to many of us the concept of a painter producing multiple versions of a work may seem more acceptable than a recording artist producing multiple different versions of an album. I don't think there's really any reason why one should be more acceptable than the other - at the end of the day, they're both taking the same idea and re-executing it, perhaps in pursuit of perfection, perhaps of something more indefinable. Of course, if it's because the artist has run out of ideas and just wants to make easy money, it's more of a sad situation...

This is all a long (and that's without me going off on tangents related to all the other points and sub-points...ulp! ) way of saying that, if Mike has done as he said and created this new version in order to realise his original idea in a way that feels right to him, that's great. If he's done it for more commercial reasons, that's unfortunate, and it's a shame he felt that it was the only path left open to him.
I don't think that the new version necessarily (and big emphasis on that 'necessarily'! ) has to be held in any less regard as a performance or as a piece of music because it's been recorded before (an example that comes to mind would be when people prefer versions of songs/pieces on live albums - the performance in a new setting can give the music a whole new lease of life).

I agree that Tubular Bells has a character about it that's impossible to recreate; indeed, some of the things which lend it that character are the things Mike has set out to get rid of. That's not to say that it's the character that it should have - it's just the character which we're used to it having. How the album is meant to sound and feel is Mike's decision - it's his work - and if we don't happen to like that, we can ignore the new recording and keep on listening to the old one. I'd therefore agree with SCprogfan that it's not up to us to decide which is the definitive recording - we can decide which one is the definitive one for us, but if Mike wants to call the new one definitive, he's welcome to if you ask me.
If Mike had asked me whether I thought re-recording Tubular Bells was a good idea, I doubt I'd have said yes...similarly if Van Gough had showed me the first of his sunflower paintings and asked if I thought he should try again, he'd have got the same answer. But they both just went ahead and did what they wanted (ok, that could be seen as debatable). The upside is that we get several versions to choose from, and at the end of the day, looking for the upside is the way to go, as the album's coming our way whether we like it or not.

As for sleeve notes, it would be nice if they could sort out something that has the same accuracy and attention to detail as Mike's re-recording (perhaps the record company will deliver me the proofs by winged swine so I can make sure...).

Now let's watch that the debate doesn't get...tautological...(and if people can keep away from each other's throats, that would be much appreciated by everyone).
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liron
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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 16:00

holy moly, talk about a storm in a tea cup...

thomas me'luv, i admit of being a bit angry, frustrated and patronising on yeterday's note. it's just that i can't stand these (and toby has said it right) unending, unfruitful, infantile discussions about "best record" issue. these are pure word-musterbation debates to me, and your point was certainly well planted within the grounds of "but I like TB3 - how can YOU not?!". well love, i just had enough. so sorry if i took it all out on you. but as you well have noticed - i don't obey politicaly correct policies just to be nice to people. not here, and not in real life. the second thing was that i repeat my point so much without reaching an understanding with the people who read what i say, that i almost feel like a re-recording of myself (which really makes me look stupid critisizing TBR). you must understand as i have stated, that this is a discussion about the nature of art these days, and of TBR as a prime example to it. mike oldfield has in some long time become his own myth. he's a brand name these days, and the product is TB. if you'd ask me, i don't give a shit. it's his life, and he can do whatever he likes with it. it's a shame though (as i have stated) that such a talent is mutilating his own self with unworthy acts.  
now we can all be so smart and throw in the towel of "relativism". as always, relativism kills discussion. an example of a relativistic phrase is korg's remark that "if we don't happen to like that, we can ignore the new recording and keep on listening to the old one", another will be "there is no objective meanning to the word art, as there is no objective knowledge in this world, therefor art is what i dub as such". obviously i can't argue with these statments. they are "calmers", or "antidotes" for discussion.
subjective reality aside, when i say "art", the word contains a meaning that transcends the subjective. esspecially since we are all western culture habitted creatures. this is not a discussion between a chinese man and a franch about the essence of art. we suck on the same nipple when it comes to art and culture (sadly these past 50 years it's uncle sam's).

korg:

i didn't think you got the facts wrong, as i think they are not the same picture (the reasons of which i wrote earlier). art mediums all draw their vitality from the same place - the human psyche. that is true. in that manner you are right saying:
"what matters is the quality of the ideas and of their execution".
but you brought in the van gogh analogy and i felt its inapropriate to use a painter in the context of musician. especially an artist which lived 2 centuries ago, was unknown throughout  his life and was a painter. the reason of painting 3 pictures is not as suggested - for practice, improvment, perfection or recreation. a painter tries to interprate reality, not to perfect a picture. take the latter and use it on mike oldfield's artistic behaviour. ask yourself: is he perfecting? or interprating? which of the two is the trade of the artist, and which is the trade of a horse breeder? what is mike oldfield doing more since 1978? in which basket does it put TBR?

toby:
cheers to you too mate


:)
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EpesiK
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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 17:23

Wow, you guys must have a lot of time to waste... Frankly I think this discussion about what's art and what's not is kinda silly. Mike is a true artist at heart and my personal belief is that he's always sincere when he's playing/making music. More in some cases than in others, but on the whole I think he conveys very sincere feelings, and that's why only a few notes from his guitar say more than Britney's entire discography (to me, anyway).

Art is also about skill and craftsmanship. That's what good composition and production is about. It's like sculpting. To me, good composition and production is art. By the way, to me John Lennon's 'Imagine' is, more or less, a tasteless piece of crap, both musically and lyrically (although I know most people consider it to be state of the art). That is as clear to me as it is to you that TB3 is complete BS. What's the purpose of having a discussion about this?

Liron, I heard a short piece that you did and I think you're really good. Do you consider your own work to be more artistic than say TB2 or TB3? If yes - why do you think that? Is your music more sincere than those works? If yes - how can you say/know that? If you're so disappointed with Mike's efforts, why don't you concentrate on your own music instead of spending your time complaining? Cut the guy some slack. He's still sincere, he still has ideas. I hate that cheesy saxophone sound, and Music VR isn't very impressive, but Mike is still sincere and passionate about what he's doing.

I think TB is a wonderful piece of music (although Mike's ability to construct an entire album at that time can be questioned, and at times it's a bit cheesy), but the horrible sound has always kind of put me off (even though, like he said himself, it's magical in places). I'm really looking forward to the re-recording. The professional production will complete the picture. And...John Cleese kicks Viv Stanshall's ass! ;)

Yours sincerely,
Monsieur Epesi Kidole

P.S. Liron, I'd like to hear more of your music! Do you have a website? D.S.
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EpesiK
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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 17:30

By the way, I don't suck Uncle Sam's nipples!  :p
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TOBY Offline




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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 17:42

Liron I think your last observation is fairly astute, I would perhaps regard TB2 as an interpretation of the various themes of TB. I think you could easily argue over whether it's artisticaly healthy for an artist to re-interperate themselves, or indeed whether that interpretation is really a blatant rehash of past themes merely done for either novelty value or more likely because of a lack of fresh ideas. I would certainaly say Mike in this regard has suffered from the latter although admittedly I regard TBR as symptematic of his desire for perfection rather than his sheer inability to come up with anything new.(Although that may well be part of the problem)

Part of me thinks this debate can only go so far until we actualy hear the thing and then we can really compare the two. At the moment the debate revolves around the sheer principle of the re-recording issue and what questions it raises about Mike's career and how its percieved (Just to re-cap chaps)

My sort of last word on the issue is that I don't believe Mike's doing it for the money or the fame he's doing it for reasons of perfection. Is this an artisticlly healthy thing for him to do? I would argue because of the existance of TB2, TB3 and TMB definately not. IF those albums didn't exist I would argue that it would put him in a much stonger position to get away with what he's doing (or done). But like Liron angles at above Mike's trying to perfect something that shouldn't be perfected, its perfect in its imperfection, and thats part of what real art is.

To Epesik. Please, please, please read my last post. This is all about CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISISM. No Liron or myself or Korgscrew or anybody else can compose music like Mike's but that doesn't mean we as fans can't CONSTRUCTIVELY CRITISISE it, thats what these forums are partly for. And please don't subvert the debate down to the realms of subjectivety again, its pointless and not what this discussion is about anyway.
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liron
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Posted: Mar. 11 2003, 18:16

.....hmm... embaracing... i guess olivier kept that piece of music i sent him about 2 years ago. friend of yours?

dear epesik,
i agree totally that this is a waste of time. and that the discussion is silly at it's core. especially when you put on the relativist mask. but even when you don't.
mike's playing of the guitar will always be more sencere compasred to mrs. spears. no doubt. as to the purpose of this discussion? well... i guess we all want to be loved.

as to my work. this is a very complicated issue, and my feelings towards my work is ambivalent, at times i feel i've made a progress, on the other times i feel like a parrot mimmiking a style which is not mine. i yearn to find a voice of my own, and i feel phisical pain and frustration when all i come up with is what the things i know how to do (i.e. oldfildish tunes). as a matter of fact it is my playing which has refined my musical taste to the degree i can call an oldfield album pure crap, what i struggle to find in my playing are the key elements, that made the five albums i mentioned before what they are. do i consider my music as more artistic then TB2 and 3? what kind of question is this to ask the man that created it? i can answer only this - when i play and record music, i try, conciously, to come with a result that is as far as it can be from those records. that is, the mental state and drives that created them. this is not to say that before i start playing i concentrate on the image of a bell and say "this is no-no". only that i try to notice when something i've done is nothing but a beatiful yet hollow jem (and being the critisizing person i am, i must say that it is mostley THAT result i hear. i've been recording music for 6 years now and the combined  amount of  worthy music left is about 4-5 minutes. a lot of what i do goes to the garbage - including, i think, the track you heard. which one was it by the way?).

is my music more sincere than? i don't know. but this is not a fair question to ask me.

"If you're so disappointed with Mike's efforts, why don't you concentrate on your own music instead of spending your time complaining? "

the two parts of your sentence are not logically connected. i AM disappointed, and i DO concentrate on my music. complaining is not what i tried to do here, i tried to offer a new way of looking at the TB2,3,M,R,O projects, which to me had an interesting point.

i'd love to cut the guy some slack, but he has done nothing but proving to be a burnt out charcoal that won't fire up.

finally, i do not have a website, epesik dear... but maybe i'll upload something of mine to this place (although under no  circumstances am i going to invest time in an oldfield cover version. it is enough, as you said, that i waste my time writing this notes with self important voice).

thanx for the complement (though, i feel i don't deserve it).

liron
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EpesiK
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Posted: Mar. 12 2003, 06:40

Yes, Olivier sent me that demo track of yours, and I still like it. You shouldn't be embarrassed (well, you could have recorded in stereo ;-). I agree that the guitar is very much like "hey I can play like Oldfield", but that's because he's the only one who has that style. Compare with 'classical soloists' (violin etc), they sound even more alike. I wasn't at all interested in our beloved six stringed instrument before I started listening to MO, and he's the only influence I've had. And that's how I want to play. I wouldn't call myself a parrot guitar player ;-) I don't try to copy Mike's music (even though I've recorded a couple of covers/remakes to learn more about production, and to get a free CD for my Amarok Medley ;). Well, I don't care if something I do is reminiscent of something else, as long as I've enjoyed myself and think I've done a good job with the composition and production. Then I don't give a damn about whether you think it's art or just crap ;-)

I think you should relax more and just enjoy yourself. Really. Do you feel trapped in Oldfield style folk rock? Try to broaden your musical vision. Anyway, I'd really like to hear more of your music. Try to upload something, here or elsewhere.

Med hwänlige hälfninger,
Herr Epesi Kidole
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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Mar. 12 2003, 11:09

I'd say that Mike's been doing more re-interpreting, in regards to Tubuar Bells. Perfecting his technique perhaps, but I think it would be a silly exercise in rewording to say that artists don't wish to perfect their technique ('improving their ability to interpret' you could say...same thing looked at from a different angle if you ask me). Tubular Bells II and III are definitely re-interpretations of the ideas than perfected versions of them. What bracket TBR goes into could again come down to a silly battle of definition...it could be an attempt to better his interpretation...
Tubular Bells could be split in half - indeed, this is what Mike has done - into a composition and a performance. I think that Mike's argument may be that any 'art' is in the music and that the original performance (and the performance could be seen as an interpretation of the composition, as it is when a classical musician performs a pre-existing work) detracts from that. The other side of the argument is to say that the piece developed in the studio and as a result the composition and performance are forever linked, and to split them is to remove something crucial...

It's true that when one of us says 'art', we mean a certain thing. That's often a subjective thing though, as words tend to end up meaning different things to different people...
Look in the Oxford English Dictionary and we'll find, amongst other definitions, these:

Quote
The application of skill to subjects of taste, as poetry, music, dancing, the drama, oratory, literary composition, and the like; esp. in mod. use: Skill displaying itself in perfection of workmanship, perfection of execution as an object in itself.

Quote
The application of skill to the arts of imitation and design, painting, engraving, sculpture, architecture; the cultivation of these in its principles, practice, and results; the skilful production of the beautiful in visible forms.

Those are the two I felt most relevant to our context - if you feel I may be overlooking something more relevant, take a look for yourself...
I think that both of those definitions apply to a lot of Mike's work (though this depends on what we feel perfection is, and what we find to be skilful and beautiful).
Dictionary definitions are about as objective as we're ever going to get, but how many of us agree that those definitions describe what we feel art to be? (incidentally, most other dictionaries appear to give similar definitions, though I've not tried them all...I'd rather this didn't turn into 'battle of the dictionaries' ;)).

Anyway, I still don't feel that a painter and any other kind of 'artist' are doing anything different - both are using various tools, building blocks, to take something from their heads (whether that thing is an interpretation of something that's been seen, or an idea that's seemingly sprung from nowhere...though I'd say that they never spring from nowhere, even though it may seem they have) and bring it into a tangible form.

As for cover versions, I think they're far from a waste of time - nothing beats the thrill of playing Amarok on kazoo and ukulele...
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TWinBOR
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Posted: Mar. 13 2003, 14:56

Mike wont do Tubular Bells 4. It's inposible.
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Olivier Offline




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Posted: Mar. 13 2003, 15:39

Inposible is not English. ;) (In France, we say "Impossible is not French")
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SCprogfan
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Posted: Mar. 13 2003, 17:31

Maybe next it will be time for "Spherical Bells", or I guess you could call it "Globular Bells".
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Pieter
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Posted: Mar. 13 2003, 23:33

How about "The making of Tubular Bells - The Re-edition"?
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Ugo Offline




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Posted: Mar. 14 2003, 09:13

Mike will do Tubular Bells 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.... ad infinitum. :D :D And I'll be very happy about that. :D

Didn't (the group) Chicago do the same? Chicago 2 through... 25? [I don't remember what was their last one. :)]


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Ugo C. - a devoted Amarokian
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tubularbills Offline




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Posted: Mar. 14 2003, 10:11

<- Agrees with Ugo. don't know if he will actually do a #4,5,6,7,,etc... but if he does, i'll be Extatic (i'm a huge bell fan!;)

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Korgscrew Offline




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Posted: Mar. 14 2003, 10:14

I think it could be fine him calling them that as long as the music's still exciting and he's still bringing new ideas to it. If I were him, I'd be putting the current 'starting with the piano and ending with the bell' concept to rest, as I think there are only so many variations on the theme which can be done whilst avoiding making it all seem just a little bit strained and false (and as people are feeling that's the case already, I think that limit has probably been reached). Hearing variations on the idea is interesting to me, as is hearing different interpretations (when played live, re-recorded, etc), but I think there is a point when it's time to say "Right, that was great to do, but let's try something else now".

I'd not personally even use the Tubular Bells name much more, though I still think there could be mileage in doing Tubular Bells parts 3 and 4 (though even that could seem more like a marketing idea than an artistic one - it would need care taken to make it feel like part of the Tubular Bells family, and not just that he'd taken any old album and stuck the TB name on it in an effort to sell more copies).
With that said about business versus artistry, I think it was Robert Fripp who once said something like 'the concern of a musician is music; the concern of a professional musician is business'. It does have to be borne in mind with relation to Mike, in that he does sometimes have to make decisions that are going to get him the money which he needs to keep himself in the business (especially when he relies on having a studio packed with state of the art equipment...things are only state of the art for so long). Whether he always makes the right decisions is open to debate, but there are always constraints within which he has to keep, if he wishes to continue getting record contracts and so on.
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