View Full Version : Question about Mike Oldfield?

Apr-12-2007, 20:04
Mike Oldfeild and his album Tubular Bells was mentioned in a thread I was reading last night and as usual when I left the site I thought of a question to ask. Forgot to add it this afternoon so here goes before I completely forget.
I remember when I was introduced to the album that my friends warned me that contained within the rythm, beat, melody call it what you will were parts which affected you mentally as in like hypnosis.
I don't think I was affected in this way but have always wondered if what they told me had any truth at all? I hope I have described it accurately and can only liken it to how people seem to go into a trance like state with some forms of music like in the early rave days.
Does anyone have any idea?
Thanks Leigh

Apr-15-2007, 23:13
I have a suspicion that this rumour was put about by people that hadn't realised how many drugs that they'd been taking in the Seventies. I've heard Tubular Bells enough times and can state, categorically, that it is more likely to induce sleep than stupor.

Andrew Roussak
Apr-15-2007, 23:31
Hi, I agree with SecondBass about Tubular Bells. Although it is the most known work of Mike Oldfield, for me it was always the most boring - I found his later period ( 80es - early 90es ) significantly better. More commercial, though. BTW, the later and shortened version of the Tubular Bells ( vol.2, can't say anything about the year - sounds like the late 80es ) is worth listening anyway.

Jun-05-2007, 17:55
Tubular Bells 2 is a very worthwhile listen - it came after his commercial period and immediately after Amarok (which is an excellent listen as well). TB3 unfortunately I dont think is very good at all - too deep an excursion into the trip-hop and electronica stuff for my tastes.

Jul-09-2007, 09:39
Have a listen to his work with Kevin Ayers....melodic guitar work at it's best.Straight forward and simple.Worth checking out also Steve Hillage,David Bedford.Although Bedford made the worst concept album of all time,in the shape of "the rime of the ancient mariner," Oldfield plays on the sorry excuse of an album. And yet didn't he orchestrate Tubular Bells for the orchestral live album and performances.....I would have to check.

Jul-27-2007, 04:50
Despite two opinions here to the contrary, Oldfield's first three albums have long been high on my list of all time favourite albums (and are still pretty much at the top). As a composer and teacher, I find Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn are all superbly crafted and arranged albums, bursting with emotion too.

As for the issue of achieving a trance-like state through certain types of music, it depends on what sort of state you're after! Yes, the whole acid, trance beat is more to do with working oneself into a frenzy, whereas, it's been common practice for centuries in many Eastern cultures to use short, slower repeated fragments of melody to achieve a state of meditation (not unlike the opening piano figure in Tubular Bells). The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey can sometimes spin for hours (without any dizziness afterwards) once they've achieved the appropriate meditative state and this is often due to the appropriate musical accompaniment. Same thing with those amazingly low, gutteral notes that the Tibetan Monks can intone - many of them will only be able to do this effectively if they've reached a particular stage of meditation. The short, repetitive motifs you'll hear in Balinese Gamelans and Indian ensembles are also strongly to do with meditation.

The opening piano part of Oldfield's Tubular Bells (and many other repetitive parts of those early Oldfield albums) is a self-confessed borrowing from the Minimalist style of Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Elements of the Minimalist style are in turn based around some of these aformentioned Eastern meditative practices.

Don't know if that helps any - I'll stop harping on.:)


I'm not a fan of Oldfield's 90s stuff because the whole hip-hop sound grates on me very quickly and I'm not convinced his experiments with it were overly successful, but that's purely IMO

Sep-12-2007, 13:35
BTW, wasn't Tubular Bells composed for The Exorcist score?

Sep-24-2007, 07:31
The straight answer to that is No. The longer answer is: Although both were released in 1973, Tubular Bells was completed and released months before The Exorcist. Friedkin liked the music and approached Virgin for permission to use excerpts from it (mainly the opening sequence) in the film, and so for some years, the opening section of TB became indelibly associated with The Exorcist. This was not uncommon for directors to do around that time (think of the peculiar combinations of Classical, Romantic and Avant-Garde music styles that Stanley Kubrick used in 2001).

The first feature film for which Mike Oldfield specifically composed the music was in 1984 for The Killing Fields.

Sep-24-2007, 08:10
Thanx for the info. I was truly convinced that Tubular Bells had been composed for the most famous horror movie ever. Besides, its genesis is very interesting. Thanx again for posting it! :)