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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can one say!!
A lot has been said already about this superb release in 1998, I feel I have to comment also as I have been a devout Talk Talk fan for 24 years!

This album is beautifully crafted and patiently played by some excellent musicians. We get bassoon, trumpet, flute, harmonica and clarinet along with double bass and spine chilling piano all playing with the softest of...
Published on 10 Jun 2006 by Simon J. Hill

versus
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A step too far?
Not sure about this one. Talk Talk's final 3 albums are all glorious (Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock) but they chart a course away from the mainstream into minimalist experimentalism, and I think Mark Hollis's album takes it too far. You'll find nothing on here that resembles a tune - it's all long pauses, sporadic piano chords and pained (though...
Published on 25 Jan 2009 by G. ADAIR


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can one say!!, 10 Jun 2006
By 
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
A lot has been said already about this superb release in 1998, I feel I have to comment also as I have been a devout Talk Talk fan for 24 years!

This album is beautifully crafted and patiently played by some excellent musicians. We get bassoon, trumpet, flute, harmonica and clarinet along with double bass and spine chilling piano all playing with the softest of approaches.
Minimilistic and sparse are terms that have both been used already, but there is no other way to describe what feels like minutes of elongated one notes, creaking piano stools, echo, silence and of coarse Mark's haunting vocal style which has set him apart from the norm.

'The Colour Of Spring' written with Phil Ramacon who worked with messers Harris and Webb on 'Herd Of Instinct' by O'Rang opens the set which has to be my favourite, piano and voice that plays havoc with my goosebumps everytime I hear it! It follows on from 'Chameleon Day' (1986) the first taster of his eventual sound and style.

Long time collaborator Tim Friese-Greene has gone but Mark has found another co-writer in the form of Warne Livesey who are responsible for 'Watershed' 'The Gift' 'A Life (1895-1915)' 'The Daily Planet' and 'A New Jerusalem'. 'Westward Bound' is co-written with Domonic Miller and 'Inside Looking Out' is the only self penned song which is one of the strongest peices here. The entire album is a highlight, no individual track lets it down, all the songs are statements, there is no need for verse after verse to get ones point across. 'A Life (1895-1915)' is a perfect example, over 8 minutes long and using 14 words, it describes the euphoria surrounding the charge of nieve but willing young men, joining up to fight for King and Country in WW1 only to find terror, pain, suffering and eventual death. 'A New Jerusalem' closes the album with almost 2 minutes of silence, as if to invite the listener to reflect on the recorded content before returning to everyday life.

This is an album of breathtaking ability and I for one hope we can coax him out of retirement for a follow up soon.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enigmatic Happieness is Easy, 6 Sep 2003
By 
Bruce Percy - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
I must warn potential purchasers that this album is not for everyone. If you love Talk Talk, and in particular the later works - Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, then you will most certainly like this album. If you are new to Talk Talk, or to Mark Hollis, then I would imagine that you have arrived here because you like Jazz, Miles Davis, Fusion, Keith Jarret et al. In otherwords you like something different, and this is certainly something different.
It's a beautiful album which is very sparse sounding, lots of silence, apparent melancholy (although I think there is something happy and uplifting about the pieces), and above all else, it appears to be a late evening album. Contemplative by nature.
If you like buying music that you have to work at, learn to love, find that it grows on you until you can't ever part with it, then this is worth a go.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Introspective and beautiful, 15 Sep 2004
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
Whilst so much of today's music aims to explode out of the speakers and redefine your world, with this album you really must listen closely and allow yourself to get sucked into the world of thoughts and feelings it endeavours to elucidate-and the experience is well worth while. This is a very well accomplished album, with a range of styles-some tracks jazzy, others tending in the direction of a more classical style, and all recorded in an intimate acoustic arrangement (including creaking guitars on certain tracks and beautifully sparse piano playing on others). The only question this album leaves the listener with is how long will we have to wait for another album fom this extremely unique and talented artist?
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Achingly Beautiful, 19 Jun 2004
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
This really is an exceptional album. Like all the best things in life it is an aquired taste. The first time I listened it made almost no impression on me at all - and I was brought to it by my enjoyment of the more reflective tracks of "Spirit Of Eden"!
The brilliance comes from the sheer sensitivity and economy of the recording - there is not a single superfluous moment. It is like the sparsest of pencil drawings.
It is a mark of genius that he has been able to reduce each track to little more than handful of musical and vocal gestures.
Just to think that I may have missed this one!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful music, 18 Jun 2002
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
After the well documented latter talk talk albums comes Mark Hollis,s wonderful and overlooked solo opus.Reading reviews before buying is always a risky business, and i must say after the reviews written about this i was expecting an album which was initially hard work but ultimately rewarding.I was then pleasantly surprised to hear the opening tracks gentle beauty and i must say after numerous listens it opens up more treasures with every listen ,I could say the same for the album as a whole.to sumarise an album of genius like this to a few words is an injustice,but we must ,so in my opinion better than both Eden and Laughing stock and thats not something said lightly. i would just add the marks vocals on this album are the most stunning i have ever heard , and i have heard a few.BUY this album and better your life
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it just keeps getting more beautiful, 17 Jun 2005
By 
Papalamour "papalamour" (caernarfon. Cymru/Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
I cannot think of any record, or piece of music in my collection which is similar or even bears comparison to this CD, Mark Hollis is unique.
Less is more, textural and achingly sparse, Mark Hollis's only solo record is a spacious ethereal beauty. The melodies, not evident on a first listening, grow and take form gradually with every play and will eventually overwhelm you. This is not, i repeat, not a "clever" record, it is simple, it makes me feel good. Do not however expect a revelation on it's first playing... you need to give this one the time and space it desreves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bare, stark and wonderful, 6 Oct 2010
By 
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
This was the only solo album released by Mark Hollis, once of Talk Talk. Released in 1998, it takes the musical direction forged by Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock to a more minimalist and sparse setting.

The album doesn't represent a major departure from these, as the 8 songs contained within are all framed by Hollis' fragile, quivering voice. After 20 seconds of silence, opening track The Colour of Spring starts off sounding reasonably conventional before retreating in on itself with a beautifully quiet Satie-esque piano part. It's like REM's Everybody Hurts turned inside out and stripped down to bare bones. Watershed is more fleshed out, with more instruments but never so much that the instruments overwhelm the music with each individual instrument line given a chance to breathe in this setting. The merest flaws, strings squeaking and background noise can be picked out in these songs.

Inside Looking Out is rather sombre, almost forbidding. You nearly hold your breath listening to songs like these, as if even breathing could disturb the mood. Hollis sings in a gossamer-like voice words which are not lyrics in the conventional sense but more impressionistic ("left no life no more"). The song is dominated by the sparsest of piano progressions, with a little guitar and keyboards here and there, and production so bare you can here occasional creaks here and there. It's breathtaking.

The Gift is busier, along the lines of Watershed, and tinged with regret with some wonderful acoustic guitar peeking in and out of the track before ending with woodwind. A Life (1895-1915) opens with clarinet and is light years away from conventional rock music, with parts of it very silent indeed, until after 3 minutes a piano part enters to carry the song for 2 minutes, along with some spectral backing vocals.

Westward Bound has a ratcheting guitar figure along the lines of Runeii from Talk Talk's Laughing Stock, while The Daily Planet reaches back further (after a cor anglaise opening) to Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden album. Guitar, some lovely piano and harmonica blend together to create a muted epic.

Final track, A New Jerusalem is the sound of music being put away. Funereal in tempo, it's blissfully bleak. The album finishes as it starts, with silence. It takes an age to get into this album, but it does reward. This really is a modern form of that age old genre, the blues. However it's hard to see where Hollis can go from here, and I understand he has retired from the music business.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best singer/song writers of his generation, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
Mark Hollis, former lead singer of one of the best groups of all time, Talk Talk, is in the top league of atmospheric and ethereal song composers and singers. I love this solo work because it demonstrates his knowledge of instrumentation and a perfect synthesis with his style of singing. The world always feels more enriched with musicians like Mark Hollis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good album, 27 Sep 2010
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
You can listen to the entire album again and again without feeling the need to skip through tracks. Always lifts my spirits. Really enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cherry blossom, 4 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: Mark Hollis (Audio CD)
I bought this album on its original release date. I thought it was an interesting album with touches of the later Talk Talk, but it seemed to lack something.
Coming back to it I am blown away by it's quite presence. Such a delicate thing, perhaps something like a cherry blossom...
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