The Killing Fields November 26th, 1984
Cover by C-More-Tone-Studios, photos by David Appleby
1. Pran’s Theme 0:47 2. Requiem For A City 2:10 3. Evacuation 5:12 4. Pran’s Theme 2 1:40 5. Capture 2:23 6. Execution 4:47 7. Bad News 1:11 8. Pran’s Departure 2:04 9. Worksite 1:16 10. The Year Zero 0:27 11. Blood Sucking 1:18 12. The Year Zero 2 0:37 13. Pran’s Escape/The Killing Fields 3:17 14. The Trek 2:00 15. The Boy’s Burial/Pran Sees The Red Cross 2:43 16. Good News 1:44 17. Etude 4:38
Musicians: Mike Oldfield: Guitars, Synthesizers & Fairlight computer Preston Heyman: Oriental Percussion (on ‘Blood Sucking’) Morris Pert: Percussion (on ‘Etude’)
Orchestra of the Bavarian state opera & Tölzer Boys Choir Conducted by Eberhard Schoener
All Tracks by Mike Oldfield, except: ‘The Year zero’ by David Bedford, ‘Etude’ by Francisco Tarrega arr.M.Oldfield
Choral & Orchestral Arrangements & album Soundtrack Editor: David Bedford Soundtrack Engineer: Geoff Young Produced & Engineered by Mike Oldfield Recorded in England, Germany & Switzerland
Additional notes from Richard Carter
Notes On The Instruments
Guitars – Fairly few and far between on the album. A Strat features on ‘Bad News’, while distorted guitars are used on ‘Good News’ and ‘Étude’ (probably one of Mike’s SGs or Les Paul Juniors, which he seemed to favour for distorted sounds at the time).
Fairlight CMI – Like with Discovery, Mike used this as his main compositional tool for The Killing Fields, this time in conjunction with a video synchroniser that allowed the CMI’s sequencer to run in sync with a timecoded video tape.
Notes On The Musicians
Preston Heyman – Session drummer who has played drums with Kate Bush, Roxy Music, Emma Bunton and numerous others (including atomic Rooster, a group who had previously featured drummer Carl Palmer). Preston also played percussion with Brand X, the funk jazz group with Phil Collins on drums.
Morris Pert – After having contributed drums to Platinum, QE2 and Five Miles Out, Morris Pert returns here on percussion, the job he’s perhaps better known for.
Orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera – As the name suggests, the orchestra associated with the Bavarian State Opera, who are based in the National Theatre in Munich, Germany.
Tölzer Boys Choir – A boys choir, also based in Munich. They have a website (available in German and English) which provides information on all aspects of the choir’s work.
This is the soundtrack to the film of the same name (produced by David Puttnam and directed by Roland Joffe), the story of a pair of journalists, one American, one Cambodian, in Cambodia during the reign of Pol Pot’s regime.
Though Mike found it interesting to work together with people who were creative in different fields from himself, he also found the exercise of writing music for the film frustrating. He worked for six months on the music, before going on tour. On returning, Mike found that the director wasn’t happy with what he’d done, prompting Mike to ask for the extra budget for a choir and full orchestra. The producers agreed, so Mike worked for another three months on more music, together with arranger (and old friend) David Bedford, who also provided the piece ‘The Year Zero’. A similar story tells of how Mike had just finished the music, when the director decided to re-cut the film, meaning that Mike had to go back and rework the music he had recorded. Mike didn’t like the elements of compromise involved in producing the soundtrack, later saying that he wasused to producing music simply to please himself rather than to please other people, like film directors (though it could be argued that there have been attempts by him to please his record companies at times).
Étude is based on the piece for solo classical guitar, ‘Recuerdos de la Alhambra’ (Memories of the Alhambra), by Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega. The piece wasn’t originally intended for the film, but came out of a session with Morris Pert. Mike felt, after listening to it, that it had a feel of Cambodian music to it, so he included it in the film soundtrack, where it features beneath the closing credits.
There are a few pieces of music by Mike in the film which didn’t make it onto the album, the most famous of which being the part behind the ‘darkroom’ scene.
© Richard Carter 2002