The death of Mark Hollis is such a deep loss, no words can ever describe. His music with Talk Talk as well as his single solo release “Mark Hollis” are timeless treasures, eternal.
I remember, when I was a child, around 13,14 years old, I was a big fan of their synth pop singles like Such a Shame, It´s my life and Dum Dum Girl. Listening to the LP “The Colour of Spring” in 1986 was like a shock to me. I was disappointed and curious at the same time, listening to the songs over and over again like a maniac, looking desperately for a catchy phrase or a hit, but there was none. Just 8 complex songs, each around 5 – 7 Minutes. I started to repeat them over and over again and slightly liked them and later, much later, really loved them.
When I lately had a deeper look at the sleeve, I found out, that I even stopped the time (digital 80ies alarm clocks!) of each song and wrote it by hand onto the sleeve like “6:54” for “Happiness is Easy”. It seemed to me important. Another mysterious thing, that stuck my mind were the handwritten lyrics on the sleeve.
And the track “april 5th” the most fragil song I ever heard in my life since then – my birthday was april 2nd. Was there some connection? Stupid thoughts of a boy, hardly understanding anything of the english words.
Around 25 years later, I was djing at a Festival near Berlin called “Am Ende der Wald” and I had a slot around 3 – 6 a.m. in the morning at a lovely lake, in the middle of the woods. So I played some danceable tunes by forest swords or some hypnagogic tracks that were quite en vogue that time.
Then I put on the first tunes of “Lifes what you make it”, the only LP I took with me to the festival, that was older than lets say 3 years and I was really wondering, how 20 to 30 year old youngsters would react to a quite slow 25 year old track, but it worked out quite well: After a short moment of consideration, People started moving to the amazing bass line and later were really freaking out to the guitar riff, so a lot of people asked me for the name of the band and were quite surprised, when I said, it´s from 1986. Never again, I saw people ecstatically dancing to such a melancholic tune like that time.
I guess many people can tell similar short stories about their first listening revelation of “The Colour of Spring “, “Spirit of Eden” or “The Laughing Stock”. I will not talk about the details of his musical genius, other writers are way better in that, e.g Rob Young in the Wire .
Just one thing: After having released two successful pop LP´s, changing the style so radically, consequently and in no way mainstream compatible is simply unique. As another commentary, I read lately wrote (sorry I forgot the name): With “Spirit of Eden” Mark Hollis brought the 80ies to an end.
Here she comes
Silent in her sound
Here she comes
Fresh upon the ground
Come gentle spring
Come at winter’s end
Gone is the pallor from a promise that’s nature’s gift
Waiting for the color of spring
Let me breathe
Let me breathe the color of spring
Farewell Mark & thank you for the music!
ps. Though the world has to move on, listen to the amazing mysterious Rustin Man release “Drift Code” LP, out via Domino Records in Europe by Rustin Man, aka Paul Webb, the bass player of Talk Talk, Think of Scott Walker, Robert Wyatt or even young David Bowie.
ps. Here´s an old mixtape of mine re-up again with a rare b – side of talk´s life´s what you make it featured here and 65 years of music history as well..