Sunday, 23 September 2012

Desert Island Discs 123 Mark Hollis by Mark Hollis

123: Mark Hollis by Mark Hollis 1998

Mark Hollis solo lp took to a natural conclusion where his band Talk Talk had been heading with their last 2 lps. It begins and ends with a period of silence and in between there are 8 pieces ( calling them songs doesn't really describe what goes on) which are as much about what is left out as what it put in. The spareness of sound means each brushed drum , plucked string , solitary chord and obtuse lyric has the maximum impact

His vocals also reach the extreme of the style he was developing where the syllables and words are joined together into one long tonal moan type sound.

The lp starts with the Colour of Spring that following 15 seconds of silence turns into a beautiful vocal and piano piece that touches on a sense of letting go and walking away. A fitting theme as nothing has been heard of Mark Hollis since the lp came out. It is if he knew with this lp he had taken his music as far as he could

Colour of Spring - Mark Hollis

Soar the bridges
That I burnt before
One song among us all

what follows are tracks that deal with the futility of war , a lament for lost youth and an overwhelming sense of sorrow and regret. Ambient , folk and the dreaded j word all feature in the arrangements but put through a minimalist filter where the gaps are just as important as the notes.

A real marmite lp that can't just be on , but has to be concentrated on and properly listened to

you can buy Mark Hollis here for only slightly more than a pint.


  1. Great choice; especially for a Sunday morning...

  2. I'm afraid I just didn't get this album ( or Laughing Stock for that matter ).I hoped that 'Spirit of Eden'was going to be a self indulgent one off!.Hats off to Mark Hollis for sticking to his guns, but it really didn't conect with me at all.
    OK my number 23 is the cinematic, double drummer ,sound of Rialto and their 1998 debut album
    Tel Aviv

  3. Hi Trev sunday mood was ruined by the football!

    Phil - I like the solo one better than the last 2 Talk Talk lps but can see how all 3 are marmite choices.

    I always thought Rialto like a lot of bands got unfaily caught up in the britpop tag. Really liked L elliotts's solo lp

  4. This album gets one word from me that just sums it all up... SPECIAL


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