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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Desert Island Disc
I remember how eager I was to own this album when it first came out around 1990, and how on hearing it for the first time I was completely dumb struck. It is a feeling that has never diminished.
I get frustrated trying to explain just how good it is - how original, moving, unique and thought provoking, yet can never really do the piece justice. I once read an...
Published on 17 Feb. 2004 by stevewilliams52

versus
9 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy listening?
Talk Talk were one of the few 80's bands that emerged from the decade with any sort of credibility. Most people will identify the band with the string of melodic hit singles that adorned the period and time has only improved their status.
This album however marked a complete shift in direction for the band with a move away from the driving melodic sound that was so...
Published on 23 Mar. 2004 by phyllisasious


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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Desert Island Disc, 17 Feb. 2004
By 
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
I remember how eager I was to own this album when it first came out around 1990, and how on hearing it for the first time I was completely dumb struck. It is a feeling that has never diminished.
I get frustrated trying to explain just how good it is - how original, moving, unique and thought provoking, yet can never really do the piece justice. I once read an interview with Rob Dickinson (brother of Iron Maiden's Bruce) from the band Catherine Wheel, who summed it up perfectly by describing it as "organic, breathing, what love truly sounds like". He describes the opening section as like "blood seeping from a wall". I couldn't ever better it. It is indeed music for the soul. It commands you to sit quietly and just let it wash over you.
There are too many things to recommend about the Spirit of Eden, whilst it is in six parts, it is actually a "whole". If I had to choose one track, then "I believe in you" is the piece that will stay with me always. How does someone write a piece like that?
I would have to say it would be my Desert Island disc - it has been the soundtrack for so much of my life, including recently the birth of my Son.
I read recently an interview with Turin Brakes who also cite Talk Talk's influence on them. It seems to be the case for so many people.
It is one of those rare albums that can be classified as truly "timeless".
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Album of All Time, 9 Oct. 2007
By 
P. W. Moore (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
For ages I have wrestled with the idea of trying to put into words my thoughts on what has been my very favourite album for nearly 20 years (ever since my mate Jamie played it to me just after its release - I will never forget that enlightening moment). I know that I will fail miserably, particularly as there are many fine reviews below, but I must have a go. When "Spirit Of Eden" was released in 1988, hitherto there had been no album like it. Music journalists struggled for comparisons, suggesting Miles Davis' "In A Silent Way", Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" or Can's "Tago Mago", even Satie or Debussy. These are fair starting points, but nothing can prepare the virgin listener for the boldest, most adventurous yet introspective masterpiece in modern music. Any attempt to describe this music in mere words will never do it justice or even fully succeed. The only way is to listen to it - ideally, as Mark Hollis himself recommended, "...in a calm mood with no distractions." The apparent influence this album (and its sequel "Laughing Stock") has had on other musicians is immense: Elbow, Pineapple Thief, Bark Psychosis, Porcupine Tree, Oceansize, Radiohead, Portishead, to name but a handful. I will round off by saying to anyone reading this: if you are yet to hear this inspired work of art, please at least give it a try, and persevere with it if you don't fall in love with it immediately - its charms are many and subtle. It changed my life and, just in case Mr. Hollis, Friese-Green, Webb or Harris reads this, I wish to thank you so much...
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can music change your life? Discuss., 4 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
Can music change your life? Can music change anyone's life? I'm not so sure. Not directly, anyway. It's not like music can say, "Go for that job, support this policy, watch your cholesterol, have you ever thought of studying economics?" And if songs ever do say as much, then they're mostly pretty poor (U2, most solo Lennon, USA for Africa).

So: Did `Spirit of Eden' change my life?

I turned 17 at the end of 1988. For a present from a forgotten Auntie or Uncle - either for my birthday or Christmas (they're quite close) - I received a Woolworth's voucher. One of those lazy gifts you buy for a distant relative.

Now, before we all get rose-tinted about it, remember that Woolworth's always had a poor selection of music. Back when it was vinyl it had but a few rows of vinyl albums (and it never improved when CD's took over). Most of these were terrible albums too, but I went through them all anyway - we're only talking about a hundred at the very most - and apart from anything that I already had, `Spirit of Eden' stood out for two reasons. 1: It had/has a great cover sleeve and 2: It only had six songs on it. I had a fascination for albums with long & few songs on them. Plus, I had a vague recollection that Talk Talk had had a good song on the charts a few years previously. (When I bought `Colour of Spring' a year later I was immediately reminded: it was `Life's what you make it'.)

So home you go, put the record on, not expecting much and...

...Is there a better way to discover truly great music?

Nobody had told me, I hadn't read a review, hadn't heard a note, knew nothing of the record's existence `til I bought it and...

I could have shook; I wanted to shout. Did anybody else know?

No, actually. Nobody else did.

Talk Talk were my band; `Spirit of Eden' my album.

`The Rainbow' & `Desire' were my initial favourites. I didn't think much of side 2 for a while, I remember that. But then I did. Then I grew to like everything about the album. Then I grew to love everything about the album: That it was cut & spliced from hours of music recorded, rejected and reconstructed; that it was made in a disused church; that nocturnal habits were duly mentioned; that EMI were not happy bunnies, etc. But Talk Talk had done their own thing; Talk Talk had done absolutely their own thing. Slow, loud, quiet. That drum sound with the snare taken off, acoustic bass, a loud guitar, distorted harmonica, incredible Hammond, interlinked on side 1, long silences on side 2, all natural, beautiful and beyond.

The vinyl became so worn & scratchy as to be unlistenable, so I bought it again on CD. I'd never bought something twice before. Then I went backwards and got `Colour of Spring'. It had its moments - and is, of course, a bit of a masterpiece in its own right. But it's not the same. Could anything be the same?

So I started looking. Whenever the words Talk Talk got mentioned in a review, I sought it out. In this manner, I got `Bitches Brew.' I was initially disappointed. I'm not now, but I was right to think that it isn't much like `Spirit of Eden'. `In a Silent Way' is a more accurate descendant (and a better Miles starter to boot). Maybe Mark Hollis would disagree. Maybe Henry Lowther wouldn't.

And then I started looking into the lyrics, but I soon gave up realising that interpretation is open to itself (and I prefer it all to be a little vague anyway).

After Miles, it was Can. You can see the Can influence. (Compare the beats of Can's "One more night" from `Ege Bamyasi' to Talk Talk's "Ascension Day.") I'd never heard of Can `til then. Then there was John Martyn, Nick Drake, John Coltrane (although I latterly discovered that Alice Coltrane's albums - especially `Universal Consciousness' - are closer and, for me, the more beautiful for it). Then there was Robert Wyatt, Augustus Pablo, Ornette Coleman, even My Bloody Valentine. All new to me through this... unclassifiable art.

In subsequent years I went through umpteen musical phases, I discovered a whole host of different genres, bands, etc. I hope to continue to do so, but perhaps not at the cost of actually having a life as has been the case so often so far. But `Spirit of Eden' guided me towards a jazz, natural, open hearted manner that I still haven't achieved. The art seems to suggest that life can be as good as the art itself. So far, it hasn't been, and by quite a distance sometimes. But there've been some encouraging glimpses along the way, and it's a hazy aim which I've never quite managed to shake free from being my only true ambition. It's an aim I intend to stake out, clarify and attain.

When `Laughing Stock' came out in September 1991 I bought it on the very first day of release, the only time in my life I've ever done that. Another masterpiece. In fact it's even better, and possibly the most complete album ever made.

And STILL nobody else knew.

`Laughing Stock' got a great review in Melody Maker, but then it barely got mentioned ever again. I never once heard a second of it on the radio. Still haven't. In fact, out of the two albums I've only ever heard `I Believe In You' on the Mark Radcliffe/Stuart McConie show a year or two back, in connection with a brief-but-cool piece they did about Talk Talk & Mark Hollis. And after so much time and so many faces, I've still never actually met another living being who independently knows and loves these albums...

`Spirit of Eden' didn't entice me to start a rebellion, to cut my hair, to dress up, to blow up the Houses of Parliaments, to study harder, to find religion, to go on a march, to commit wanton acts or to join a cult. `Spirit of Eden' just encouraged me to look for different art and find what was suitable for me. I have managed this, mostly, with music, but at the cost of not sorting out my personal life or career to any great extent at all. I realise that this has to be my next phase.

So did the album change my life? Probably not, no.

Did it enhance my life?

In more ways than I could ever possibly describe, yes. Yes yes yes.

And now the rest is up to me...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where has this been all my life?, 26 Nov. 2008
By 
R. Davies (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
Wow....how good is Spirit of Eden?

I bought Laughing Stock about a year ago and, as with most great albums, after a number of listens, found it a most accomplished record. So I bought Spirit of Eden during an Amazon splurge and then didn't listen to it for a month.

I waited 24 years to own it and then wasted another month not listening!

Anyway, Spirit of Eden trumps not only Laughing Stock but nearly everything prior or since. Here, no instrument is too isolated, not a single note wasted. Where did Talk Talk find this in their system 4 albums in? The modern equivalent would be perhaps Keane suddenly producing an ageless masterpiece for their next album! Unbelievable!

Spirit of Eden rises and falls, sweeps and caresses, swaggers and stammers, builds and fades. It's been called the mother of all post-rock albums and perhaps it is - the tracks aren't exactly single entities, only the album is. Each track adds something, but also compliments the others.

During "I Believe In You", I often want to laugh and cry at Mark Hollis at the same time. His vocal is so achingly perfect to draw a tear, the sheer audacity to write the song forcing the grin.

This album is utterly, spellboundingly, magnificently brilliant. Here's my recommendation: buy it, find a good stereo in a room away from the daily grind, place on 'repeat' and listen. Alot.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have two copies of this album...., 12 July 2011
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
.....one for me and another to pass on to others, everyone should hear it. The greatest album ever made, in my opinion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music is in the Silence, 8 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
I've just rediscovered this album after a long period away from it. From the heady days of their pop past, Talk Talk emerged as one of the most musically experimental bands, ever. Their music metamorphisized album by album into some of the most beautiful music ever recorded. From the organic "The Colour of Spring" through to the majestic "Laughing Stock", Talk Talk prove that it is the SPACE you leave and the instruments that you decide NOT to put on a track that gives the music it's life. They hit their peak with this album. It's elegiac, stately and uncompromising in it's approach and execution. The album is summed up in the track, "I Believe in You". A glorious and upliftingly beautiful track with very little instrumentation save for drums, organ & guitar and a choir!
They then released their final album, "Laughing Stock", which was then followed by the only solo album Mark Hollis recorded. Again an understament in beauty and execution, very much in the style of Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. Then he disappeared!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atleast 5 more stars required please, 7 May 2012
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
This album is almost 24 years old. I bought it on vinyl in 1988, bought it again on cd in 1990, and finally bought it a third time - this beautifully detailed remaster - in 1997. It has never dated, and genuinely sounds better every couple of years whenever I rediscover it again (and again....)
Last night it blew me away once more - so deep, so powerful, so delicate, so beautiful, words really can't describe the music on Spirit Of Eden; you have to hear it for yourself. And you'll always find new elements to wonder at
This release is one of the most impressive, thoughtful, and sympathetic remasters I've heard, and that's fitting for one of the most important and influential records made in the last 40 years. It may have been commercial suicide, but few artists would balk at it's lasting dignity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album I have ever heard, 28 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
Spirit Of Eden is a rare album - each track is better than the last (no, really). Take a deep breath as the first sounds emerge, relax, give the music a chance and when the album ends you'll be in a state of bliss.
It is just beautiful. Quiet, always melodic (there's not a note out of place), with passionate noisy bits. And honest, it really does get better each time you listen to it - you can pick out every single sound.
I've loved this album for years now - late at night, when you're driving on a long journey, the miles just melt away.
Thank you Mark Hollis and the band for an album that I will always treasure. I can't imagine anything ever knocking this off my personal top slot.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite album of all time, ever., 13 Oct. 2006
By 
C. Porter (Worcester, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
Brave title for a review, eh?

Because I might, in a year's time, have found something better, mightn't I? Well, it's been no.1 in my headspace for 18 years so far, and showing no real signs of being threatened by a serious contender.

Why?

Maybe it's because it's a timeless production, with classical and jazz leanings, and a grandiose vision that helps it transcend everything else that shuffled out of the 1980s. Maybe it's because the lyrics are as good as impenetrable, and you can make of them what you will. Maybe it's because Talk Talk surpassed everything anyone could have expected of a former New Romantic floppy-fringed synth-pop band with this release. Maybe it's because it is such a bold musical statement (and one that lost them their record deal!).

Or maybe I'm right, and they achieved a perfect synergy of music, vocal, production, melody - everything.

The previous album (The Colour of Spring) showed they were going to get here, and the belated follow-up album (Laughing Stock) went even further (and left me behind a bit - it's a much more difficult listen, and sounds a lot more improvised than 'Spirit of Eden').

Whatever, it's almost impossible to write about music, but this album makes me want to try, in the hope that other people will get the message.

So, then. My favourite album of all time.

Ever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It warms my heart..., 16 Feb. 2009
By 
This review is from: Spirit Of Eden (Audio CD)
... to see so many rate this record so highly :)

I was a fan of the synth era Talk Talk, but as my musical taste grew, so did the band's music.

The reviews here share many of the feelings I have for SoE. It remains a stunning achievement, an album that has never dated, and was far ahead of it's time in retrospect (oxymoron alert!).

From Hollis' aching vocals, to the beautifully recorded drums (I love to hear every nuance of a drum kit - remember this was the time of electric drums or very heavily processed big kit sounds) - you can hear every tone of the cymbals.. More noticeable in the SACD version by the way.

Personally for me, the final 3 tracks are often less talked about, but I perhaps love the most.

It's nice to see bands/artists name checking this & Laughing Stock as an influence now. Perhaps the one that sticks in my mind are Bark Psychosis (Hex in particular), but nothing approaches the masterpiece that the final brace of TT albums & the Hollis solo record for sheer musical .... s*d it... genius.

Colour of Spring is great though, just in case you think I'm being truly elitist! :)
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