Mike Oldfield – Five Miles Out/Crises: Collectors’ Editions (2013)

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Best known perhaps as a pair of albums that produced hit singles (!) for Mike Oldfield, new 30th anniversary editions of Five Miles Out and Crises illustrate the imaginative depth found elsewhere.

1983’s Crises was, of course home to “Moonlight Shadow,” a Maggie Reilly-voiced No. 4 hit in the UK — and a Top 10 entry in four other countries. A year earlier, Five Miles Out had included “Family Man,” though Reilly vocal version wasn’t the hit. Instead, Hall and Oates covered the tune on H20, taking the song to No. 6 in 1983.

These forthcoming limited edition reissues, available in a variety of formats on September 3, 2013, via Mercury/Universal, not only expand our understanding of those familiar sounds (there’s a lovely unplugged version of “Moonlight” included), they underscore the connective qualities these projects had with Oldfield’s career-making long-form creations like Tubular Bells.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Asked to select his all-time favorite work, Mike Oldfield doesn’t pick ‘Tubular Bells’ – or even one of these two new reissues.]

With Five Miles Out, there is the raucous and complex 24-minute opening piece “Taurus II”; on Crises, Oldfield unleashes a 20-minute introductory title song. Both make liberal use of the newest synthesizer technology, even as they weave in newer ideas in a layered narrative format so utterly unlike the songs that found their way onto the charts. Radio listeners may have thought that Oldfield had changed his focus; instead, he had simply broadened it.

Meanwhile, Yes’ Jon Anderson contributes vocals to “In High Places” from Crises; Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake and Palmer fame added percussion to Five Miles Out. Notable extras include a demo of “Five Miles Out”; an unplugged version of “Shadow on the Wall” to go with the previously mentioned “Moonlight Shadow”; the B-side to the 1982 “Mistake” single, called “Waldberg (The Peak); and an extended take on “Crime of Passion.”

So now, the question becomes: What to buy? Oldfield has overseen an impressively robust array of options — from 180-gram vinyl reissues and limited-edition color vinyl to single- and double-CD packages. Crises is also offered in a box set that includes a two-CD presentation of the Wembley date from the 1983 tour, a 32-page book and a new 5.1 mix overseen my Oldfield. Five Miles Out is available in a 2CD/1DVD package that also includes highlights from a December 1982 concert, a 16-page booklet and a new 5.1 surround mix.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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