When I do these discography projects of mine, what is ed where I go overboard and try my best to listen to every single thing a certain artist or band has recorded — I inevitably don’t make it all the way to the end. Not for lack of fortitude, but a lot of the time, out of lack of willpower. Often it will grind me down into a powder. When was the last time you managed to make it front-to-back through the Stones post-”Dirty Work”, Prince post-”Diamonds And Pearls” or Queen post-”The Game”?

I half-expected my run through the work of Mike Oldfield to go from fun to unlistenable rather quickly. Erroneously lumped into the crusty “New Age” category by my snap judgment early on in my days of snobbery, without ever having heard his debut album “Tubular Bells”, I took a chance on actually giving him a shot rather recently, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was “Tubular Bells” kind of terrific, but lots of his later ’70s and early ’80s work is sharp as well, in the prog-pop vein (a little like Eno, but without the squelch factor.)

As with most recording artists, however, Oldfield did make the inevitable slide into slack-jawed banality after a little more than ten years’ worth of work. This album, the soundtrack to the ’80s period piece about Cambodia’s infamous and bloody Pol Pot regime, is Oldfield’s final slab of solid creativity and clarity before it all became way too plastic and hippy-dippy for me. One Amazon reviewer sez:

This is Oldfield’s most visually evocative album ever. The music was so brilliantly matched to the action that every track brings a scene vividly to mind. A helicopter landing in a bombed-out street, a cow being airlifted, the sweep of the Cambodian rainforest, the horror of the “killing fields.”…[T]here’s some serious sound experimentation going on here.

Mike Oldfield – “The Killing Fields” soundtrack (ZIP file)

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145 Responses to MIKE OLDFIELD

  1. Roger_Camden says:

    never gave Oldfield much consideration beyond Tubular Bells
    guess I’ll have to remedy that

  2. MrFab says:

    “without ever having heard his debut album “Tubular Bells”

    But a movie guy like you knew that it was the theme to “The Exorcist,” right? And, hence, drummed into your subconsious since birth.

    I really liked the song “5 Miles Out” as a youngster (KXLU used to play it) so I downloaded it last year out of curiosity, and, yep, still really like it. Good vocoder.

  3. Mr X says:

    Agree with your assessment of Mike Oldfield. Think its worth mentioning that Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn are as good as Tubular Bells for anyone new to Oldfield. And that there are many versions of TB but the one to get is the first.

  4. Dwayne Erickson says:

    Five Miles Out album is my favorite. So far…