Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mark Hollis, 1955-2019

Paul Webb, Talk Talk's bassist, posts on instagram:

I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis. Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas. He knew how to create depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.

Guardian has something longer. Excerpt:

The success of The Colour of Spring meant that Talk Talk had a bigger budget to play with on the follow-up, Spirit of Eden (1988), but Hollis’s musical thinking was now geared towards Debussy, Erik Satie and Ornette Coleman rather than other pop or rock acts. Spirit of Eden, with its startling musical textures, sudden changes of pace and interludes of silence, was as much a modern classical album as a pop record. Though many critics hailed it as a masterpiece and it reached the UK Top 20, EMI were frustrated at its lack of commercial selling points. After months of legal wrangling, band and label parted company.

With the band now reduced to Hollis and Harris, with Friese-Greene producing and playing keyboards, Talk Talk’s final album Laughing Stock (1991) was released by Polydor’s Verve label, and pushed the musical envelope a little further (it began with 18 seconds of silence). Though sombre and uncompromising, it reached 26 in the UK, a reflection perhaps of the strange, lingering allure of pieces such as Taphead and Ascension Day.

In short, everyone hated Talk Talk's post-Colour of Spring direction except for the longhairs. I was in a band when Spirit of Eden came out. We were nowhere near the genius of Hollis et alia; we listened to Spirit several times a week. The lyrics for I Believe in You were sort of a Jesus-prayer like mantra. ("Spirit... How long... Spirit... How long...")

Rest in peace, sir.

"Rage on omnipotent"

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