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Mike Oldfield - Earth Moving CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

2.11 | 204 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars A crushing disappointment. Progressive fans lamented the lack of an instrumental track on this album, and worried that they'd seen the end of MIKE OLDFIELD'S stellar progressive instrumental works. This a single year before 'Amarok' delighted music fans around the world. I prefer to think of this album clearing the decks, so to speak, a compromise with his recalcitrant record company, an album of commercial pop music giving him the freedom to release an avant-garde album a year later. But at the time we didn't know what was to come.

That said, some of the pop here is much better than that on 'Islands', released two years previously. 'Holy' features ADRIAN BELEW on vocals, and the KING CRIMSON vocalist/guitarist does an excellent job. The original album track has been reworked, so if you own one of the interminable OLDFIELD compilations you'll probably hear a different version, as was the fashion of the time. 'Innocent' is the single; it's dreadful and probably sunk the album. OLDFIELD is trying to get with the next generation and he fails miserably here. Still, there's always the skip button. You'll use it quite a bit on this album.

'Earth Moving', the title track, is an entirely different thing. It crackles with energy, mostly through the excellent vocalist, NIKKI 'B' BENTLEY and a fabulous sax solo. At the start of the track she sounds like yet another sweet-voiced OLDFIELD girl, but just listen to her on the chorus: she really tears it up. It's not OLDFIELD'S best work, but it has juice! Again, those with compilations ('Elements' for example) will have a reworked version with extra synths that do nothing but distract the listener from BENTLEY'S voice.

Nothing else of note here. Two tracks worthy of MIKE OLDFIELD, so two stars - and that only if you're tolerant. If you hate eighties style production, you'll hate this. Drums that sound like they were recorded in a lift shaft, synth stabs and virtually no guitar. And absolutely nothing, not a single thing, for the connoisseur of progressive rock.

russellk | 2/5 |


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