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Mike Oldfield: The 1984 Suite
||Virgin EMI Records
||Mike Oldfield, Simon Phillips
|Price in €:
 To France - 4:47
 The Lake - 13:44
 The Killing Fields [Main Theme] - 2:45
 Etude - 4:38
 The Royal Mile [Re-Discovered Track] - 3:37
 Zombies [Halloween Special] - 3:46
 Discovery - 4:27
Mike Oldfield - Guitars, Basses, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Synths, Vocals
Barry Palmer - Vocals
Simon Phillips - Drums
Maggie Reilly - Vocals
2016 LP Virgin-EMI Records / Mercury - 474 779-1
A newly created work by Mike Oldfield from material released in 1984.
The 1984 Suite is a compilation album by the British musician, Mike
Oldfield released in 2016. The compilation pulls together tracks from
his two 1984 studio albums; Discovery and The Killing Fields. The album
is available as part of the Discovery Deluxe Edition or as a standalone
vinyl LP but not as a standalone CD. It has also been released in 5.1
Surround Sound as part of the Discovery Deluxe set (Surround Sound Mixes
by Mike Oldfield). The album features two previously unreleased tracks:
"The Royal Mile", a newly rediscovered track from the 1984 period; and
"Zombies (Halloween Special)", a reworking of the song "Poison Arrows"
with the original vocals replaced by robotic "Stephen Hawking" style
vocals with the lines "Somebody's out to get you" replaced with "Zombies
are out to get you".
Released as a companion to the newly-remastered and expanded edition of
Discovery, The 1984 Suite is essentially a medley of several tracks
taken from Oldfield's two albums released that year including the
soundtrack to The Killing Fields. Compiled, enhanced and sequenced by
Oldfield himself rather than just 'remixed', its concept is in essence
an excuse to give the artist free reign.
The familiar To France kicks things off with Maggie Reilly's folksy
vocals supporting the sort of song that Heart or Fleetwood Mac might
have tackled during their hippier stages - quite how it didn't repeat
the success of Moonlight Shadow is anyone's guess. There follows a few
instrumentals - The Lake from Discovery is not one of Oldfield's most
endearing epics, instead sounding like Jethro Tull meets Marillion en
route to a Dream Theater concert, while the two extracts from The
Killing Fields, including the pretty Etude, work better together.
Previously unreleased pieces include the celtic-inspired The Royal Mile,
adapted from the b-side Afghan and now featuring Oldfield's trademark
bagpipe-style squeal to full effect, and Poison Arrows revisited as
Zombies, a sort of Halloween-inspired rock romp with Stephen
Hawking-style vocals. The suite ends with the title track to Discovery.
I'm not convinced this brings anything to the party but it's interesting
to hear tracks getting re-ordered by the artist. The sleeve is superb,
by the way.
As for its parent album, Discovery is a typical mid-to-late '80s
Oldfield album with one noticeable difference - the usual lengthy
instrumental gets repositioned here in order to close the album rather
than start it. Maggie Reilly's sweet crystal-clear voice brought a
certain amount of warmth to the songs, in particular the To France
soundalike Talk About Your Life and the pleasant Crystal Gazing. The
remainder of the album is fairly predictable, save for Tricks of the
Light which benefits from Barry Palmer's husky vocal strains but it's no
Crime Of Passion.
Ultimately though, Discovery heralded the end of Mike Oldfield's
continuous Top 10 chart presence in the UK and the beginning of a run of
overblown long-players best forgotten. Mind you, if you include The
Killing Fields, Mike Oldfield recorded ten decent albums on the bounce
from Tubular Bells onwards, no mean feat.
Extras on the double CD include various b-sides such as the percussive
pre-Amarok Bones, the extended version of To France and that 1984 Suite
Also reissued is The Killing Fields, the soundtrack to the chilling film
of the same name and Oldfield's only committal to cinematic endeavours
to date. Written using a Fairlight and orchestrated by David Bedford,
there are a few iconic pieces that marry up with the on-screen action,
in particular the Chinook-mimicking Evacuation, the pretty Etude and the
mournful Pran's Theme variants.
Paul Pledger - 30th January, 2016
The 1984 Suite is a remix/compilation album by the British musician,
Mike Oldfield released in 2016. The compilation pulls together tracks
from his two 1984 studio albums; Discovery and The Killing Fields. The
album is available as part of the Discovery deluxe edition or as a
standalone vinyl LP but not as a standalone CD. It has also been
released in 5.1 Surround Sound as part of the Discovery deluxe set.
The album features two previously unreleased tracks: "The Royal Mile",
which is labelled as a newly rediscovered track from the 1984 period,
but is in fact a re-worked version of "Afghan", a B-side of "Tricks of
the Light"; and "Zombies (Halloween Special)", a reworking of the song
"Poison Arrows" with the original vocals replaced by robotic "Stephen
Hawking" style vocals with the lines "Somebody's out to get you"
replaced with "Zombies are out to get you". The album also contains a
slightly longer version of "The Lake" than the version on Discovery. All
tracks were newly re-mixed from the original multitrack tapes.
The track "Zombies (Halloween Special)" was released as a digital single on 31 October 2015 with a new promotional video.
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