After the success of "Crises", Virgin boss Richard Branson pushed for an extension of Mike Oldfield's contract. The two had closed it in 1973; it ran over ten albums, of which the artist had to deliver two more. Although his relationship with Branson was no longer the best, Oldfield let his lawyer persuade him to make a new deal: he committed himself to three more records for Virgin and in return received a significant increase in his royalties, both on future releases and on the back catalogue. At the end of the 80s, when his friendship with Branson was finally shattered, he would still regret this step bitterly and subsequently deliver either a half-baked, or - with "Amarok" - a brilliant, yet highly non-commercial album. "Discovery", it seems from today's point of view, was Oldfield's last attempt to combine art and commerce on a high level.
There was enough to do. Because not only Branson, who as a businessman naturally expected a second "Crises", also Oldfield was inspired by the success. He had planned to record another song record in the style of the predecessor. The decision was all the easier for him when he unexpectedly received an offer from film producer David Puttnam to compose the soundtrack to Roland Joffé's work "The Killing Fields" about the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In this way, the musician was able to kill two birds with one stone: create elegiac instrumentals for the soundtrack and continue the commercial and artistic flight of fancy he had achieved on "Crises" with short pop songs.