(Eagle Rock/Eagle Records)
Multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and guitarist extraordinaire Mike Oldfield and producer Torsten “York” Stenzel offer up some new beat-tastic takes on 11 songs from Oldfield’s immense oeuvre on Tubular Beats.
“Let There Be Light” is a lilting little remix but “Far Above the Clouds” sounds much grander in scope with its tribal beat undertones. The remix of “Ommadawn” sees both Oldfield and York on-hand (they sing together on most songs) and though a decidedly heady piece to tackle, the chunky spacey keys and flapping back echo vocals go nowhere fast in its 10-minutes-plus span.
The famous opening of “Tubular Bells” lilts around a reverb guitar at the beginning of this version of what is arguably Oldfield’s most famous composition. Again, we get York’s go-to, distorted vocals crackling under the sounds, a rather tiny drum loop and oscillating keys. This is probably the first most realized piece here and the fantastic piano is the best part of the nearly 11-minute song.
“To France,” a spritey keyboard workout, is a York and Steve Brian radio mix. I love the disco-ness of “Northstar,” where we finally, thankfully get real guitar playing from Oldfield. And “Guilty,” a York and Mike “electrofunkmix,” sounds quite like Hot Butter’s “Popcorn”; it’s one of the best tunes here.
The last tune, “Never Too Far,” is a brand new one. Opening with a pretty and sweet echo piano and Tarja Turunen’s high “ah’s,” we are soon into a great arpeggiated guitar line and the ex-Nightwish singer into some great melodic singing mixed with Oldfield’s perfect, clean guitar lines.