Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mike Oldfield, The Devil, and Virgin Records

I first remember listening to Tubular Bells when I was 6 or 7. My dad used to play the album and I'd get lost in the odd chord changes and strange moods it evoked. When I was around 16 I discovered that Oldfield had done 2 other similarly structured albums: they were all instrumental, contained one movement on each side of the record, and most of the instruments he played himself, which he overdubbed to create layered orchestrations. On top of this, he was just 20 years old when he recorded Tubular Bells. I began to imagine that he had made a deal with the Devil to come up with such authentic, eerie, and beautiful albums. Of course, associating Tubular Bells with The Exorcist didn't help.

I started putting together a strange connection between Roger Dean's design for the Virgin logo as a mirrored image of Linda Blair and the Caveman sequence on Tubular Bells as the Pazuzu demon from The Exorcist. I was pretty off base as it turns out, but all of these elements just seemed to strengthen my theory that Mike Oldfield was in the same league of musical figures as Paganini or Robert Johnson, all of whom were suspiciously brilliant.

Here are some of Dean Roger's designs for the original Virgin Records logo and a few "rare" demos and singles from Mike Oldfield's first 3 albums. If you're new to his music these recordings might not be as impressive as Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, or Ommadawn, but they're great supplements to the aforementioned albums. The most interesting track is the lost Ommadawn recording, the tape was supposedly recorded onto so much from overdubbing that it was ruined, guess Old Nick had it hidden somewhere.

Below is the reworked cover I made for this collection of songs from a magazine add for Tubular Bells. I think it's fitting that the model is pregnant, seeing as most of these songs were not given birth to until the final recordings were released. 

Original Virgin add for Tubular Bells

Demos + Singles mediafire link

And last but not least, this is a two part documentary on Oldfield at the time of recording Ommadawn.  

No comments:

Post a Comment