1977 Mysterious Air Display

If there is one subject likely to fuel the imagination of Oldfield fans, then the major talking point of the year was the release of an LP that, even today, is still really quite puzzling. In the UK this LP was titled Mathematicians Air Display (V2084) and credited to Pekka Pohjola. Pekka is best remembered as the Finnish bassist used during the early live renditions of Tubular Bells and at first glance it appears that Mike was involved in its recording and production at his Througham studio. The doubt begins when you see the titles used on the overseas releases. Listed below are the various disguises used.

PEKKA THE MATHEMATICIANS AIR DISPLAY Released in the UK in 1977 on Virgin(V2084)

PEKKA POHJOLA KEESOJEN LEHTO Released in 1977 on Love (LRLP 219)

PEKKA POHJOLA SKUGGORNAS TJUVSTART Released in 1977 on Love (LRLP 219)

MIKE OLDFIELD, SALLY OLDFIELD / PEKKA POHJOLA Released in US in 1981 on Love (USLP-1-1101)

MIKE & SALLY OLDFIELD / PEKKA POHJOLA Released in 1981 on Happy Bird (90096)

MIKE & SALLY OLDFIELD / PEKKA POHJOLA Released in 1981 in Germany on Rare Bird (BID11002)

MIKE OLDFIELD THE CONSEQUENCES OF INDECISIONS Released in 1982 on Happy Bird (90133)

MIKE OLDFIELD THE CONSEQUENCES OF INDECISIONS Picture disc as above released in 1982 on Happy Bird (90133)

There were even rumours that a CD recording was released by Bellaphon in 1982 although there seems little truth in this as the CD didn't become widely available until 1983. The original releases between 1977 and 1982 are, apart from the titles, exactly the same. Mike appears on all the tracks except the first, playing a multitude of instruments which even included a whistle! Musically, the LP bears all the hallmarks of an Oldfield recording and is treasured by all fans who own a copy.

The year had begun on the 25th January with Mike appearing at the World premier performance of David Bedford's The Odyssey at Londons Royal Albert Hall. Along with Vangelis and Mike Ratledge, this performance received a mixed reception from the music press. Then on the llth February, Virgin released Mike's version of G.A Rossini's traditional tune William Tell Overture (VS167) (better know as the theme to the Lone Ranger). This was backed by the track Argiers which had previously appeared on European versions of First Excursion released the year before. Unfortunately this track failed to make any impact on the UK charts.

The second single release of the year was on November 25th and titled Cuckoo Song (VS198). Written by Praetorius and arranged by Mike with Les Penning on recorder, the B side consisted of Pipe Tune. As with the William Tell Overture this release failed to chart. Mike's association with Les Penning surfaced later in this year when Mike appeared on his Grenadiers single release on the Polydor label.

The year had started and finished with Mike collaborating with David Bedford. To finish the year Mike played on the title track on Bedford's 5th studio LP Instructions for Angels (V2090). Surprisingly, the track on which Mike appeared was recorded live at Worcester Cathedral on the Rolling Stones mobile recording studio. This track is quite breathtaking, with Bedford playing the cathedrals organ and Mike playing guitar, the natural acoustics of the cathedral make it sound quite awesome. Finally, the complete LP was mixed at Mike's Througham studio in BBC Matrix H Quad which was also stereo compatible.

┬ęPeter Evans