Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mike Oldfield - Exposed (1979) (mp3, 160kbps)

I recently got 'Echoes' by the California Guitar Trio. They have a beautiful version of Oldfield's classic (and defining) composition 'Tubular Bells'. It's a loving rendition and it got me thinking of the original. The music was written in 1973 and shot to popularity as part of the Exorcist original motion picture soundtrack. Oldfield may have a love/hate relationship with that theme, because it has so overshadowed everything else he's done. At the same time, it must be nice to be successful. Hopefully he had a decent licensing agreement because, to date, the movie has grossed over $400 million.

I'm not claiming to be an Oldfield fanatic, but at some point in the past, I became curious and picked up this live album. At the time, I was much more interested in bootlegs and live recordings, so I never even got the actual Tubular Bells, or any of the three alternate versions he recorded (not including this one) after the original. That theme must be like an ATM for this guy.

This recording comes from the 1978 tour and it's pretty nice. There is a standard rock band with thirty-some additional musicians to fill out the orchestra and choir. The result is a BIG sound that feels almost like classical music, but dumbed down a bit. The compositions are long and mostly instrumental, and there is a smoothness to this music that is not completely to my liking. The artist is not taking chances and doesn't want to alienate or offend his audience. But, if you can over the fact that he's trying to play it safe, then you will find a very enjoyable 90 plus minutes of music here. I especially like the Longfellow interpretation (the poem is 'Hiawatha') during the first track of Incantations.

So, yes, this is more New Age than Prog, but both large pieces of music are actually quite good and the record does an excellent job of capturing a large ensemble. It's not balls-to-the-wall, but it's very nice and we can't listen to Zappa all the time.

  1. Incantations (parts 1 & 2) (26:30)
  2. Incantations (parts 3 & 4) (20:50)
  3. Tubular Bells (part 1) (28:36)
  4. Tubular Bells (part 2) (11:09)
  5. Guilty (6:22)
The link is in the comments.

1 comment:

MPomy said...