Remembering Mark Hollis - by Jerome Dillon

"I like silence. If you're going to break into it, have a reason for doing it." Mark Hollis

The Talk Talk records changed my life: The Party's Over' rarely left my turntable in '82 and '83, 'It's My Life' was in my Walkman for '84 and '85, and 'The Colour of Spring' was the only cassette in my 1976 Chevy Impala for the better part of three years.

I was 19 when 'Spirit of Eden' was released. Looking back, that record was a benediction -- or rite of passage. I was in awe and realized what a callow musician I was. It convinced me that the most crucial component of the creative process is risk. It gave me direction.

'Spirit of Eden' is fearless and brutally honest. Everything is exposed for what it is, or more importantly, what it isn't. At points it's deceptively fragile and delicate, only to shift suddenly into midrange guitar feedback and a violent battery of drums and percussion.

When 'Laughing Stock' was released, I thought it was an amazing record, but it felt like the end. I didn't think that Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene could go any further. Lee Harris and Paul Webb had become an astounding rhythm section: perfectly balanced in supporting, pushing or staying inside the music.

In 1998, Mark's solo record was released and at first listen, I was reminded of what a callow musician I was. At 3:00 into the fifth track, "A Life (1895-1915)", the instrumentation deconstructed -- leaving only an isolated shaker in the left channel. For the next 1:26, the arrangement swelled into one of the most hypnotic and solemn sections of music I'd ever heard: alternating bars of six and seven with a repeating piano motif and vesperal female vocals soaring above the mix. When the record finished, I sat dumbstruck. It was so smart, restrained and visceral -- it pissed me off.

My favorite singer, songwriter and band. The impact is immeasurable and the music's depth, emotional resonance and atmosphere are timeless. Thank you, Mark. Godspeed. Jerome Dillon

Further reading:

Say Goodbye to Musical Genius Mark Hollis With These Gems .

Mark Hollis And Talk Talk’s Brilliant, Nuanced, Stubborn Visions .