1989 Earth Moving Experiences

From the latter end of 1988 to mid 1989, Mike had spent time writing and recording his next studio LP. Titled Earth Moving (V2610), it was released in July and caused quite a stir amongst fans and critics as it was the first Oldfield LP not to have an instrumental, being solely made up of nine quality vocal tracks. Of these tracks, Mike was to utilise the vocal talents of Nikkie "B" Bentley, Carol Kenyon, Max Bacon, girlfriend Anita and a welcome return of Maggie Reilly on the Moonlight Shadow-ish Blue Night. Many were surprised by the almost religious nature of the lyrics which were amongst the best ever written by Mike. The LP was fairly successful, reaching No 30 in the UK album charts.

To coincide with the release of the album, the title track was released as a single (VS1189) in all formats including 3" CD. All 3 formats included Bridge to Paradise as the B side, although the 12" (VST1189) and the 3" CD (VSCD1189) included a "Disco Mix" version of Earth Moving. This re-mix, or Disco version, was certainly slightly more "heavier and funkier" than the final product with distorted electric guitar evident throughout. Unfortunately, like most single releases that had gone before, it failed to chart.

In October Innocent (VS1214) was released with Anita on lead vocals. All three formats included Earth Moving (Club Version) as the B side. Strangely though this was exactly the same as the Disco Version included on the Earth Moving release.

The 12" (VST1214) and the 3" CD (VSCD1214) both included a splendid 5 minute 35 second 12" remix of the title track by German producer Bob Kraushaar. Again, this single failed to make any impression on the UK charts. Strangely there were two versions of the video to accompany Innocent. The first was a pure mix of animation and real life, with a guest appearance by Greta, Mike's first child by Anita whilst the second featured Mike, Anita, a nurse and a scientist! This was to prove the last Earth Moving release in the UK, although in Germany the track Holy was released as One Glance is Holy. This featured four very different re-mixed versions including a Hard and Holy Mix, Single Remix, Single Edit and a Holy Groove Instrumental.

The only other Oldfield related releases this year were a budget re-issue of The Orchestral Tubular Bells (WIP101) on the Pickwick label and re-issue LP's and cassette's of Platinum (OVED223) and QE2 (OVED235). As previously explained, all the cassette versions used the catalogue numbers with OVEC as the prefix. There was also to be yet another attempt at a The Best of Kevin Ayers (CM2032) released by the See for Miles label. Mike was included on the following tracks, Butterfly Dance, Rheinhardt & Geraldine, Colures Para Dolures and Stars.

It was at this point that Mike decided that a return to the tried and tested formula of instrumental music was in order, so he set about putting his ideas of what was then looking like an Ommadawn Part 2 down on paper.

©Peter Evans