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Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells III (1998)


Review : Inspirational, modern musical, British genius; unique in his field, or merely "that bloke who re-did the theme for Magpie"? Who can forget the sight of Tommy Boyd, frantically trying to keep time on the Triangle as Mr Mikefield ripped into a double-speed guitar version of "One for Sorrow...". I know we can't. We laughed. 
Such is the debate behind the backs of music. Is Oldfield really one of Englands finest exponents of individual front rock since "Transphonic Dripper" hit the streets?
The third and concluding Tubular Bells (or TB-3rd-conc as it has become effectionally known) owes much to the concepts and ideas of the previous two ("TB-1-A New Dawn" and "TB-2-Virgil's Motor"). Fans won't be disappointed, TB2's "The Loch Ness Monster" reappears with some primitive vocals and whilst it maybe impossible to resurrect Frankie Howerd for the Instrumental Introductions he made famous on TB1, leading E4 presenter Jim Silent does a grand job. There are even influences from non-TB work, as shown on the pop driven "Cat on my Lawn" which heavily draws upon MIkefield's only Bene-Lux hit "Gargoyle Schmuk". 
It was the method of capturing his idea's that many found unique. Sound Engineer Wayne Trappist writes...
"Old would get inspiration at the oddest times and would often carry a small 48 track recording deck around with him in the back of his Triumph Dolomite. Often, he would pull over on the hard shoulder and rush a few bars off an aging Telecaster into the Tonebandstimmen. We very nearly called it "The A47 Tapes", but luckily the accountants stepped in".
Indeed, the T.Bells branding and merchandising has really taken off. Small plastic figurines of a Axe-weilding Oldfield, still in their bubble casing can fetch as much 20 pounds online. There are strong rumours of the "Grand Piano" set going for as much as 22.50, but these have yet to be proved. But it was the Tubular Bells Pinball Table that is the real 'Object of Desire' for many, especially since the tie-in with early 70's horror flick "Demonique Driver"...which director Ray Weft has yet to release to the any format.
It may not have the impact of TB1, nor the novelty of TB2, but TB3 is like an old friend returning. Was that really Mick Robertson on triangle at the end?


Standout Tracks : "64 Cracks in my Madness", "Overdraft", "Oink! Temporale".
Standout Moments : 6:23 into "Finale Final 4" Jim Silent incorrectly introduces the "Hovermatic Twin Tub Guitar" is in fact a passing unicycle.
Standout Lyric : "Timpani through the mist, sails into the sky"
Artwork : Worrying Familiar
Try This : "Muffin' Man" - The Robin Tripp Debonaires, "Zero in my Sari" - Jeff Saffron, "Zipper Bhenign" - Ade Flip
Rating : 4 slightly distorted "*"

Mark Tallon

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