- 2009 5.1 Surround Sound Mix. Part 1
- 2009 5.1 Surround Sound Mix. Part 2
- Mike Oldfield's Single
- Sailor's Hornpipe
- Part 1 (Visual Content). Broadcast as part of the series "2nd House" on
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No matter that one could now stuff a medium-sized record collection with versions and variations of Mike Oldfield's breakthrough album, the fact that so many people have happily done so is perhaps the most potent testament yet to just how crucial a piece of music it is. From the moment it appeared in 1973, Tubular Bells has stood as a benchmark that nothing has been able to displace, either in Oldfield's own canon or beyond; and the seemingly tireless ease with which artist and label have been able to mine its reputation only amplifies its significance. This package is the loudest yet. Opening the box reveals, in no particular order, a gorgeous hardbound book documenting the life and times of Tubular Bells; a newly pressed copy of the original vinyl LP with a brand new gatefold sleeve; a handful of novelty souvenir cut-outs; a DVD repeating the 1973 BBC live performance of side one, and three CDs comprising: a 2009 remix of the original music, the original 1973 mix, and finally, a series of Oldfield's original demos -- which, for the collector, is certainly the place to begin. So many elements of what would become the finished product are here of course, but so are many that would not survive. There's little that strikes the listener as a crucial omission from the finished piece, of course, but it is fascinating to hear Tubular Bells wander from its traditional course, even if for just a few moments. Five sequences of varying length include the album in its entirety in demo form, and its first part as a rough mix, and the procession through those and into the released version and onto the live DVD broadcast is a delight to experience. Indeed, from these so intimately connected peaks, the 2009 remix is almost an unwelcome intrusion although, in fairness, it does little to the original beyond some light housework, and might be more accurately termed an ambitious remastering than an absolute remix. Assuming you already own one of the other Tubular Bells releases, and the Elements DVD compilation, which also features the BBC performance, purchase of this (not inexpensive) box set essentially offers you nothing more than some snazzy packaging, a sparsely worded (but well-designed) book, some cut-out guitar picks, and the demos disc. But it is a beautiful package, well thought out and exquisitely presented. And the demos are fabulous. So... yeah, do it. And then start saving up for the next revisit. You know there'll be one! [A deluxe edition was released in 2009.]