Music that sounds like 'Spirit of Eden' and 'Laughing Stock'

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Ok, these two sit pretty much above all else for me. I'm sure I'm not alone. The production, the beautiful sparsity of the songs, the delicate uses of instrumentation, and on and on and on . . .

One of my most favourite musical pursuits is seeking out records that seem either influences, relations in feeling or are directly influenced by later period Talk Talk. So yeah, obviously I'm all over 'Hex' and Bark Pychosis. I'm ga-ga over everything anyone in the band did since from Mark Hollis' solo LP to Heligoland and O'Rang. I hear the genesis of the sound in things like 'Leb Whol' by Neu and Miles Davis' 'In a Silent Way'. As I mentioned in the recent Talk Talk poll, I'll generally seek out anything that gets compared to either of those two final records. I'd be particularly interested to learn where others feel those vibes.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:09 (ten years ago) link

david sylvian - gone to earth & secrets of the beehive

hotel califor.nia (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:13 (ten years ago) link

For example. I recently picked up 'A Walk Across the Rooftops' by The Blue Nile purely because it'd come up in some quote somewhere on ILM as a precursor to 'Hex'.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:13 (ten years ago) link

Funnily enough one of the reasons I wanted to start this thread is because 10 minutes ago I was hovering the mouse cursor over the buy button on Amazon for David Sylvian's 'Secrets of the Beehive' having never heard him before (except from the song on the Fennesz 'Venice' LP) but ever so tempted to order just because someone must've mentioned Talk Talk at some point when discussing him.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:17 (ten years ago) link

As far as Sylvian goes, the Rain Tree Crow album is far closer to TT than anything else he has been involved with. Get that first.

Maybe some Jon Hassell in non-dancey mode? I am not a Hassell expert.

That BLue Nile record is one of my top 10 80s albums but I do not hear it in the SoE/LS continuum.

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:21 (ten years ago) link

In fact the first time I ever heard LS, specifically 'Taphead', on college radio in Madison Wisconsin 1991, the host intro'd it by drawing comparisons to the Rain Tree Crow.

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:22 (ten years ago) link

Great thanks, I was fishing for a Sylvian tip.

Not sure I hear any clear connection with The Blue Nile either, sometimes when the music gently swells it kinda reminds me of 'Spirit of Eden'.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:23 (ten years ago) link

Hood's late 90's output to thread

pretty girl, filking a clown (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:23 (ten years ago) link

Shearwater totally WANT to be in this thread so I'll begrudge them one acknowledgment

pretty girl, filking a clown (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:23 (ten years ago) link

I still haven't heard that goddamn Hood stuff! The only Hood they have on eMusic is later on.

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:24 (ten years ago) link

As far as Sylvian goes, the Rain Tree Crow album is far closer to TT than anything else he has been involved with. Get that first.

lol, no

hotel califor.nia (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:24 (ten years ago) link

Also you kind of have to mention the Beth Gibbons & Rustin' Man record since it has at least three Talk Talk members in it (I am counting Mark Feltham).

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:25 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, I picked up the Beth Gibbons & Rustin' Man record but it never really did anything for me. Been meaning to give it a fresh listen for a while now though.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:27 (ten years ago) link

there's some good stuff along these lines in this thread

sounds like late period Roxy Music

hotel califor.nia (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:31 (ten years ago) link

solo sylvian to me is like the archetypal new wave dude explores organic instrumentation and experimental song structures, as much as i love the rain tree crow album i'm not sure why you'd recommend rain tree crow first

i like to think that mark hollis was in someway influenced by those first three sylvian albums, has he ever mentioned this in interviews?

hotel califor.nia (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:40 (ten years ago) link

What is the most Talk Talk sounding Sylvian album?

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:46 (ten years ago) link

S. Reynolds says in Blissed Out that along with Miles' In a Silent Way and Sketches of Spain, other precursors to the late Talk Talk sound are John Martyn's Solid Air and Roy Harper's Stormcock and albums from the jazz label ECM...*

*I have never heard any of the above-mentioned albums ever, not even late period Talk Talk (I know, I know...!)

gonna have to change jobs & change gods (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:47 (ten years ago) link

I picked up 'Solid Air' many years ago. Of course, it's great. Pretty sure I picked it up because of a Talk Talk connection. Think Mark Hollis himself might have mentioned his name as an influence.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:49 (ten years ago) link

Stormcock is a great, great record but I don't hear much late TT in it. It's more like if Zep had a better singer and made an entire record of their best pastoral/arcadian stuff.

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:06 (ten years ago) link

I tried Solid Air and kinda couldn't roll with it. The ECM catalog surely contains more apposite examples but I don't know what they are.

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:06 (ten years ago) link

I'd definitely second the Hood recommendation. I have them in my mind as closer to Bark Psychosis (and even Disco Inferno) than TT (been years since I've really listened), but you should certainly give them a listen. "Cold House" is a great album.

Duke, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:33 (ten years ago) link

Autistic Daughters (on Kranky) especially the second album.

You Weaked It! (MaresNest), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:34 (ten years ago) link

SF band Laughingstock.

Mr. Hal Jam, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:34 (ten years ago) link

Also what is the name of that French band, Bed? Bedhed?

You Weaked It! (MaresNest), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:35 (ten years ago) link

yeah, Bed.

Mr. Hal Jam, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 18:46 (ten years ago) link

Movietone - The Blossom-Filled Streets, this one sounds more like LS though.

Davek (davek_00), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 19:13 (ten years ago) link

Someone mentioned that in a recent Talk Talk thread and right away, even without even hearing it, I was already getting annoyed at how scarce it seems to be.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 19:49 (ten years ago) link

hahahaha it was me. I can upload it if you like. I'm sure it's readily available for high quality legal download too.

Davek (davek_00), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 19:59 (ten years ago) link

i always imagined that Climate of Hunter by Scott Walker sounded in this vein but I've never actually heard it.

m@tt (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:00 (ten years ago) link

Cheers Davek, as if if I'm not losing enough sleep with all this stuff already!!! =)

Afraid I'm a lossless guy. If I can't buy something I get mighty upset.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:02 (ten years ago) link

Autistic Daughters (on Kranky) especially the second album.

Ditto! I think that me and MaresNest say this every damn time this question comes up. They don't have the same diversity of instrumentation that Talk Talk had -just double bass, drums, guitar and voice really- but as far as honing in on that whole sustained mood, these guys are totally OTM. Guess you'd call them improvised ambient rock. The Dean Roberts solo stuff is great too, particularly the one on Kranky (Be Mine Tonight) and And The Black Moths Play The Grand Cinema which originally came out on Mille Plateaux but got reissued later by Staubgold.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Farting in Space (NickB), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:23 (ten years ago) link

The most recent Zelienople album (Give It Up) is kind of in the same vein too, but a bit more rainswept and autumnal. Actually, they're probably a closer match for Bark Psychosis, in that they're more identifiably indie than Talk Talk ever were.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Farting in Space (NickB), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:27 (ten years ago) link

Thanks for the Autistic Daughters heads up. I'll buy almost anthing on Kranky with confidence so that one's right to the top of the pile.

AnotherDeadHero, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:31 (ten years ago) link

It's a shame they have such a terrible name really, cos the music is nothing like you might imagine it would be.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Farting in Space (NickB), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:37 (ten years ago) link

Mind you, Talk Talk is a really shitty name too tbh.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Farting in Space (NickB), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:37 (ten years ago) link

Ah, I was looking for a thread like this just the other day:

dlp9001, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:42 (ten years ago) link

M@tt Climate Of Hunter is kind of like late Roxy Music/Japan but gone quiveringly paranoid and fearful. It's an incredible record and would probably appeal to most late-TT fans though I don't hear much real sonic kinship. There is this multitracked soprano sax break in Climate Of Hunter that is as much of a sonic epiphany as anything on Laughingstock.

I Smell Xasthur Williams (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 20:45 (ten years ago) link

I would mention Shearwater from a listener's perspective even if I didn't know they know these albums. Their new one, The Golden Archipelago, is one of my favorites of 2010 so far.

The Blue Nile are the closest thing in my mind to actual Talk Talk peers, even if their balance of elements is different. Thomas Dolby's album The Flat Earth is worth hearing, if you've never heard it, for another interesting example of New Wave synthpop starting to turn into something else.

And the band that actually comes closest to affecting me the way these two albums did is Low, maybe because they're doing something different enough that I don't find myself wanting to listen to Spirit of Eden instead. Haunting minimalism, more intense and less airy, more Winter than Spring.

Oh, and two other wildcards that you're probably 94% likely to find irrelevant but for the other 6%'s sake: Officium, by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble (jazz improv sax over early-music choir, new-age-y but for me it works), and Amazing Things, by the Celtic-rock band Runrig (neither spare nor delicate, but up there with Spirit of Eden in my pantheon of the greatest life-affirming records).

glenn mcdonald, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:05 (ten years ago) link

X-Post: Ha yep, A.D. always come up at these times. I never did thank you Nick for the heads up on Dean's solo records, all fantasic! So, thank you.

The Low/Dirty Three 'In the Fishtank' record has a version of Down By The River that substitues the long guitar solos with a front-loaded scratching about section that sounds a lot like Spirit Of Eden.

You Weaked It! (MaresNest), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:18 (ten years ago) link

It doesn't necessarily use the same instruments, but with regards to dynamics and structure, I think Mary Lou Williams' Black Christ of the Andes is a pretty close correlative. The ECM recommendations are also pretty on the nose.

talrose, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:27 (ten years ago) link

The middle of the album is boilerplate Van bebop sputtering, but the bookend tracks on Van Morrison's Common One sound exactly like Talk Talk and are two of his best tracks ever. Very much in the same tone and spirit as Veedon Fleece but much more expansive and ethereal. I would describe it as In a Silent Way with soft, distant Van singing in the distance.

talrose, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:31 (ten years ago) link

Oh yeah, 'Haunts of Ancient Peace' OTM!

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Farting in Space (NickB), Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:33 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

sometimes LS reminds me of Giant Sand/Calexico/Calla type of desert music

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Friday, 14 September 2012 15:18 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

"Spanish Dancer" by Steve Winwood

bham, Friday, 26 October 2012 10:04 (seven years ago) link

I intro to this '80s cheese nugget is totally "Colour of Spring" y.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 26 October 2012 13:13 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

As mentioned, similar music to Spirit of Eden is Miles Davis' In A Silent Way and Hex (Bark Psychosis) which is one of my favorite albums and is, for me, perfect late-night listening and the quintessential winter album.

Spirit of Eden is one of my Desert Island albums, alongside
A Storm in Heaven (The Verve)
No Other (Gene Clark)
Lazer Guided Melodies (Spiritualized)

Graveyard Poet, Monday, 25 February 2013 09:42 (seven years ago) link

Aside from the obvious... Bits of Grizzly Bear's output. Bits of the last Notwist album. Rook by Shearwater. That french band called Bed (but they only sound like the quiet bits). Bits of Hidden by These New Puritans. Bits of early Elbow. Reckoner by Radiohead. That Unkle song that samples laughing Stock and has Thom Yorke on vocals. Bits of Wild Beasts.

they all are afflicted with a sickness of existence (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 25 February 2013 10:00 (seven years ago) link

I hear you on that Notwist album. Great thing about it is it seem's to draw influence from the more abrasive side of late Talk Talk rather than just the ethereal pretty side which seems to be the norm. See for example the wicked one note noise solo in 'Alphabet'.

Internet Alan, Monday, 25 February 2013 10:12 (seven years ago) link

four years pass...

No-Man's Together We're Stranger fits the bill.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 14:12 (two years ago) link

Listening to Sensory Replication Series now. Very good so far. Thanks for the mixes. I've just followed you on Mixcloud too, so i'm looking forward to catching new mixes soon.

I too have done some mixes, though perhaps not quite as nice as yours, but they do fit with the vibe here. Horizontal Street Fighting is perhaps the closest:, but Ambient Excursions, Reflections on the Edge of Summer, and Ancient Heavenly Connection also tread this line. They stray into modern classical and the atmospheric side of balaeric, but they include lots of space between the noises and quiet moments.

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 30 November 2017 01:26 (two years ago) link

the last track of the new bitchin bajas hits this zone for me

global tetrahedron, Thursday, 30 November 2017 02:07 (two years ago) link

That Khan Jamal is nice, too. It's 'Spirit of Eden' mostly in the same sense that 'In A Silent Way' is clearly an influence, but the dubby quality and occasional bursts of louder sound are definitely in the right zone.

Soundslike, Thursday, 30 November 2017 02:17 (two years ago) link

Listening to 'Horizontal Street Fighting' now--can you post a tracklist Brotherlovesdub? Thanks for listening to mine!

Soundslike, Thursday, 30 November 2017 02:19 (two years ago) link

1. Interference (excerpt)by Lightning in a Twilight Hour
2. Street Fight by Durutti Column
3 Cala Conta Sunset by Coyote
4 Wireless MK 2 (featuring Roger Eno) by The Orb
5 Scripted Space by Suzanne Kraft
6 Post Tenebras Lux by Bartosz Kruczyński
7 Crazy For You by Slowdive
8 Cristina And Carolina by Jonny Nash
9 Interference (excerpt) by Lighting in a Twilight Hour
10 Please Drive Carefully by Jon Brooks
11 Children On The Hill by Harold Budd
12 Newport Market by The Hardy Tree
13 Song To The Siren by This Mortal Coil

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 30 November 2017 07:06 (two years ago) link

This looks like a reflection of my current listening habits so yeah, I'm on it.

Also, Jon Brooks' work is shamefully underrated.

doug watson, Thursday, 30 November 2017 17:24 (two years ago) link

I agree. I have his albums on Clay Pipe and they are fantastic. I have a couple Ghost Box things too, but I prefer the Clay Pipe albums.

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 30 November 2017 19:27 (two years ago) link

another great mix brotherlovesdub!

boxedjoy, Thursday, 30 November 2017 21:28 (two years ago) link

Can't believe no one mentioned Cymande's "Dove." Totally reminds me of "New Grass"

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 30 November 2017 22:11 (two years ago) link

or really it was the other way around ... new grass reminded me of dove

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 30 November 2017 22:13 (two years ago) link

another one that sounds very Talk Talk esque is that breakthrough Sebastian Tellier record

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:05 (two years ago) link

Totally forgot Mark Hollis co-wrote Chaos on the first UNKLE album. Fits the vibe but it would, wouldn't it? This video uploaded by a mysterious 'Mookie'.

brotherlovesdub, Thursday, 30 November 2017 23:37 (two years ago) link

There's a Trembling Blue Stars song called 'Fragile' that's a pretty obvious homage to Laughing Stock. It's great.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Friday, 1 December 2017 01:29 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Not 100% sure it'll appeal to folks in this thread like with the 'Evensong' and 'The Dawning' mixes, but partly inspired by the recommendation of Gigi Masin in this thread, thought I'd share another mix that is going for spiritually/emotionally for a Talk Talk-like space.

Various - 'Nocturnes'
(A Tribute to Serpentwithfeet | 1969-2017)

01 [00:00] Arca - "Piel" (2017)
Neil Young - "Guitar Solo 1" (1996)
Jon Hassell - "Blues Nile" (1977)

02 [03:55] FKA Twigs - "Kicks" (New Energy, 2014)
J.S. Bach - "Cello Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, Sarbande" (1723)
Burning Star Core - "The Universe Is Designed To Break Your Mind" (2007)

03 [09:30] Big Star - "Holocaust (Demo)" (1976)
Peter Gabriel - "At Night" (1986)
Bhutan Tibetan Monks - "Tibetan Shawms" (1971)
Biota - "Astray" (1987)

04 [13:00] Scott Walker - "Rosary" (1995)
Michael Nyman - "1-100" (1975)

05 [15:40] Paul Buchanan - "After Dark" (2012)
The Haxan Cloak - "Mara" (2013)

06 [19:00] Nina Simone - "Dambalaa" (1974)
David Sylvian - "Approaching Silence" (1999)

07 [25:00] Bjork & The Brodsky Quartet - "The Anchor Song" (2000)

08 [28:50] Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir - "Poleganala e Todora" (1975)
Rachel's - "Full On Night" (1995)

09 [32:25] Gigi Masin - "Consequences of Goodbyes" (1986)
Floating Points - "Elaenia" (2015)

10 [36:10] Buffy Sainte-Marie - "Poppies" (1969)
Michael Brook & Brian Eno - "Pond Life" (1985)

11 [38:55] Low - "Lift" (1997)
Jon Hopkins - "Abandon Window" (2013)

12 [44:15] Serpentwithfeet - "Blisters" (2016)
Arvo Part - "Tabula Rasa 1 - Ludus" (1977)

[Total Time: 52:40]

Download or stream here

Soundslike, Saturday, 16 December 2017 03:16 (two years ago) link

looks great - thank you!

faust apes (NickB), Saturday, 16 December 2017 06:57 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Listening to Food earlier and thought some of the (mainly) Norwegian stuff clustered around Rune Grammafon fits this remit - particularly Supersilent 6, aforementioned Food (Last Supper, especially), a bunch of Arve Henriksen albums. I want to say both of the Money Will Ruin Everything compilations but I need to listen to them again.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 20:55 (two years ago) link

I've never linked Henriksen, nor Rune Grammofon, to Hollis - it feels way to Northern, too isolated to me, for some reason - but don't sleep on 'Strjön' by Arve Henriksen. Vis-a-vis your comment I can see how they relate.

♫ very clever with maracas.jpg ♫ (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 22:52 (two years ago) link

The White Birch's Come Up For Air on Rune Grammofon certainly sounds indebted to Hollis. Or at least Benoit Burello.

doug watson, Thursday, 4 January 2018 00:12 (two years ago) link

I've often wondered if Sibelius was an influence on TT. There's something about the droning birdsong textures (or however you want to describe it) of the 2nd movement of the 5th symphony that brings TT to mind. Also his late tone poem, "Tapiola" specifically sounds a bit like "Taphead", and it may be that the titles alliterating isn't a coincidence.

Freedom, Friday, 5 January 2018 11:14 (two years ago) link

Record Mirror: 1st February 1986
Talk Talk

‘Bartok’s a great geezer’

Debussy and Sibelius are well good too, according to Talk Talk’s classical connoisseur Mark Hollis. Roger Morton discovers all this, plus how you can take a year to make an album.

Spring has finally arrived for Talk Talk. I know, I’ve heard the first cuckoo.

After years of bravely surviving on the crumbs of their huge success in Europe and America, Britain’s forgotten pop trio are at last thawing out the charts with ‘Life’s What You Make It’.

Up at EMI’s London headquarters, Talk Talk’s lead singer and writer-in-chief Mark Hollis is celebrating with a can of Heineken. While Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes smile down from a giant Duran Duran poster, Mark recounts the tale of their own forthcoming album ‘The Colour of Spring’.

It’s been over three years since you last had a hit in this county with ‘Today’. Why has it taken so long?

“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. All we’ve been doing for the last two years is a year touring, and a year making an album.”

Do you think you’ve gone wrong somewhere?

“No, of course we haven’t gone wrong. It’s been really lucky, the way things have worked out. The last album ‘It’s My Life’ did really well abroad, so we were in a position to spend a lot of time making this album. It took a year and two days to make this one.”

Is it a good thing to take so long?

“It’s good in terms of what we wanted to do. We couldn’t have made it the way we wanted in any less time. “You see, when we made ‘It’s My Life’, we had to rely a lot on synthesisers. Now, I do not accept that we are a synthesiser band. Synthesisers mean electronic things to me, and I don’t think we have any sort of relation to that. We used synthesisers on that album because from an economic point of view it was the only way we could do it.”

What replaces the synthesiser on ‘The Colour Of Spring’? Is it more orchestral?

“I wouldn’t call it orchestral, no. But it all depends on what you call orchestral, because I wouldn’t call it orchestral in terms of an orchestra thing, but you could look at that Gil Evans stuff as being orchestral, where you’re talking about a 12-piece orchestra. So it all depends on what you call an orchestra, really.”

Exactly. I’m glad we sorted that out.

Almost all of ‘The Colour Of Spring’ has been written with Talk Talk producer Tim Friese-Greene. How did that come about?

“The only thing I ever knew about him were three records: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, by Tight Fit; ‘Cry Boy Cry’ by Blue Zoo; and Thomas Dolby’s ‘She Blinded Me With Science’. All those records were really well produced, but they did completely different things. There was no stylisation of sound, and to me, that was the sign of a good producer. So, initially it came from that.”

Why was ‘Life’s What You Make It’ chosen as the single?

‘For me, the only reason that track was chosen, is that apart from a two minute horn quartet, it’s the shortest thing on the album. That’s it, really.”

This is where the going gets tough. Get ready for a cuckoo waltz around the classics.

“In ‘It’s Getting Late In The Evening’ (the atmospheric B-side of the single) there are a lot of references to things that are in the album, from different areas of music. I like the way that there are things in that which are derivative of Ravel, alongside things which are derivative of the Animals.

I do think that there’s an area of classical music which I have an affinity for. The impressionist period, around the turn of the century (You sure about this? - ed.) is something I love very much. I love the textural quality that it has. But equally, there’s a hardness to soul music, and gospel music that I like.”

A lot of people would think it was a bit pretentious to talk about classical composers.

“That’s because they associate with the wrong areas of composers. You see, I don’t believe that the minute you draw on classical composers, what you make has got to be pompous.”

What was the last record you bought?

“It was a Delius thing, with ‘The First Cuckoo of Spring’ on it, and ‘In The Summer Garden’. You see, all I’ve listened to in the last year is that impressionist area of music. The one person I like more than any out of that lot is Bartok. He did six string quartets which are well good.

“The idea of listening to contemporary music seems quite pointless. I get more than my fair share when we’re touring, so I never listen to it when I’m at home.”

Do you have an ambition to be a classical composer?

“Oh no, but I would definitely like to do something in terms of writing film music.”

But for the moment, you’re staying with Talk Talk?

“Yes, but I don’t see one as being far removed from the other. A lot of our backing tracks owe debts to things like Delius. “Bartok’s a great geezer, and then there’s Erik Satie and Debussy, and Sibelius, who I think would fit in there.”

Does that mean that if we go and listen to those people, we’ll come across little bits of Talk Talk ?

“There are definitely a couple of references to things. But I remember this interview where old Stravinsky was being accused of ripping off some other geezer, and he just said that he loved this composer so much, he felt he was allowed to take from it.”

Talk Talk have never been a very fashionable band in this country. Why do you think that is? “I don’t know. It really doesn’t bother me at all. You see, I’m in the best possible position I could be in, which is having nothing happening in England and things going well abroad. Because of that, we get absolute freedom in making a record, and in terms of my private life, I have complete freedom there as well.”

Would you agree that you’re a traditional pop/rock band?

“What a horrible term. I think we’re traditional in terms of a lot of our values. But we don’t restate the past. We are covering new ground. I think it’s quite simple. You just look to as many areas of music as you can, take as little as you can from each area, and then with that, hopefully you have something new.

“How I feel about our music is in a lot of ways the same as I feel about our videos. I see them as a reaction against things. That’s why it’s good working with Tim Pope on videos. With him, it’s never a question of whether it’s good or whether you like the video. It’s whether or not it’s different from other people’s. If people think it looks like it was made for ten quid, then I’m quite happy with that.”

Has your success abroad made you into rich young men?

“Er...potentially I would think I’m well off.”

You sound a bit vague about it.

“Yeah, well. I would think I am...potentially would think I am well off.

“I’ll tell you what I had for breakfast, if you like.”

No, thank you.

Whatever I might think about laying claim to classical influences, using 50 to 60 musicians, and taking a whole year to make an album, the success of ‘Life’s What You Make It’ would seem to suggest that Talk Talk’s highly processed pop is exactly what most people want for breakfast. Now I know why Simon and Nick are smiling.


faust apes (NickB), Friday, 5 January 2018 11:30 (two years ago) link

so yes i guess?

faust apes (NickB), Friday, 5 January 2018 11:30 (two years ago) link

Never saw that one. I have heard him talk about Gil Evans and, I think Bartok, before but not Sibelius/Debussy/Delius who are all hugely pantheon for me.

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Friday, 5 January 2018 12:21 (two years ago) link

That whole (You sure about this? - ed.) seems to have disappeared from contemporary music journalism. What a shame.

in twelve parts (lamonti), Friday, 5 January 2018 13:11 (two years ago) link

Yeah, that brought a flood of nostalgia, that did. (I bet it did. - Ed.)

Thanks for posting that, Nick. I recall reading the piece an age ago but didn't remember the specific reference to Sibelius. The praise for the Bartok quartets also isn't surprising, as the more pastoral passages from those are a proper redolence bomb vis-à-vis Talk Talk, with perhaps specific reference to SQ4 mvmt. 3.

Freedom, Friday, 5 January 2018 13:46 (two years ago) link

Delius and Sibelius, sure, but I don't hear the Bartók influence at all. Talk Talk's later music has none of the six quartets' rhythmic snappiness, nor their deliberate embrace of worldly immanence. The 'night music' comes closest, perhaps, but even there Bartók's debt to classicism is audible, which is not a lineage I'd associate with Hollis, et al. Maybe the third piano concerto (especially the Adagio religioso or the unfinished one for viola? But that's not what he's talking about in the interview.

pomenitul, Friday, 5 January 2018 14:21 (two years ago) link

Hollis’ biggest link with Sibelius, really, is in his near-unattainable standard for whether he was allowed to make new music. Both were convinced that they had taken their project to the final degree so that only silence could take over. I wonder if there is an abandoned or destroyed Hollis project to correspond with Sibelius’ burnt 8th Symphony. Sibelius’ decades of silence following that had a bit to do with depression and alcoholism; I don’t get the sense that Hollis’ halt comes from as dark a place.

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Friday, 5 January 2018 14:29 (two years ago) link

I was actually going to add that the influence of the more rawkus, or rhythmically snappy, as you put it, side of Bartok does not manifest itself in TT. I would still argue that something like the "Myrrhman" outro has a resemblance to some of the slower movements in the BB SQs though.


Freedom, Friday, 5 January 2018 14:34 (two years ago) link

Otm – hadn't crossed my mind.


pomenitul, Friday, 5 January 2018 14:35 (two years ago) link

I was actually going to add that the influence of the more rawkus, or rhythmically snappy, as you put it, side of Bartok

i forget which volume of soundbombing bartok was on

Joan Digimon (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 5 January 2018 15:13 (two years ago) link

Whoops, raucous. Haha.

Freedom, Friday, 5 January 2018 15:24 (two years ago) link

Hollis did say, at the time of the release of his solo album, that the delay between Laughing Stock and it was on account of his feeling after the making of the former that it was such a complete expression of what he wanted to achieve at the time, that making something else was unthinkable. I don't know if the same outlook with regards to his body of work as a whole now explains his 20 years of near total silence.

Freedom, Friday, 5 January 2018 15:32 (two years ago) link

John Storgårds's Sibelius symphony cycle with the BBC Philharmonic includes 'Three Late Fragments' and there is something vaguely Talk Talk-like about them, pointing towards might have been. Maybe.

Here's a live recording with the Helsinki Philharmonic:

pomenitul, Friday, 5 January 2018 15:39 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Vocals kind of remind me of Hollis but the backing is subdued grainy electronic stuff. Really kinda feeling it tonight.

my dreams in the hell-pits (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Tuesday, 20 February 2018 10:26 (two years ago) link

wow, i missed the whole sibelius revive. yeah, i've thought sibelius and hollis were similar myself, was thinking about adding a para about it to my classical list

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Tuesday, 20 February 2018 14:00 (two years ago) link

not feeling this Jabu at all and hope this isn't indicative of where BEB are heading

And I love Hollis, Raime, and, err, Portishead, but no

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 20 February 2018 21:09 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

maybe more colour of spring but

scoff walker (diamonddave85), Sunday, 11 March 2018 22:27 (two years ago) link

it's obviously tighter and more groove-based, but i actually thought last year's grizzly bear album hit on a similar jazzy naturalism that Spirit Of Eden (and probably Colour Of Spring more) really pinned down. didn't get a lot of critical attention because of the Great Indie Crit-Flip Of 2017, but imo it's one of the best things they've ever done.

austinb, Sunday, 11 March 2018 23:10 (two years ago) link

i agree.

akm, Monday, 12 March 2018 01:33 (two years ago) link

"the Great Indie Crit-Flip Of 2017"

Please summarize in your own words below

Evan, Monday, 12 March 2018 03:35 (two years ago) link

lol kinda flippant coinage but plenty of white dude bands who had had critics riding for them and arguably creating their commercial viability in the late 2000s/early 2010s released albums in 2017 to noticeably more tepid coverage. thinking dirty projectors, fleet foxes, grizzly bear, real estate, cloud nothings, destroyer, arcade fire, the shins, to some extent fleet foxes. only the national and lcd soundsystem albums seemed like they really poked above the fray across the board.

some of those albums were obviously just bad, but a few at least were bad or "not great" in ways that felt like wouldn't have been pointed out by the same outlets a decade ago—especially the cloud nothings and dirty projectors albums, to my ears. cosmopolitan renderings of interiority don't have the same cachet they used to.

austinb, Monday, 12 March 2018 03:47 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

I would say that large sections of the, rather good, new Necks record fit the criteria nicely.

MaresNest, Wednesday, 22 August 2018 10:46 (two years ago) link

I know what you mean, there is a resemblance in the sound. But firstly it is quite repetitive like all Necks songs I have ever listened to. And secondly there is no tune in the piece above. As it is common for The Necks but not for Talk Talk. But I agree that track is about the best I have ever heard by The Necks.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 20:25 (two years ago) link

That Lo Moon clip upthread though really sounds like a reincarnation of Talk Talk. The singer has got a similar high voice as Mark Hollis, there is a warm & delicate chamber music feel with a strong hook. Yes!

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 23 August 2018 19:52 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Tamara Lindeman really gave me the shivers today:

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 17 October 2020 17:45 (one week ago) link

This little soundtrack snippet came up on my mp3 player and I thought it sounded like it could be something from late Talk Talk or Hollis's solo album.

Brainless Addlepated Timid Muddleheaded Awful No-Account (Pheeel), Saturday, 17 October 2020 19:40 (one week ago) link

what is it, pheel? i'm getting an error message.

pleased to see that rain tree crow was mentioned early on. surprised that there's not been mention of sylvian's nine horses project though.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Sunday, 18 October 2020 15:59 (six days ago) link

ha I saw this thread bumped and thought "bet it's The Weather Station"

The album entire is gorgeous btw

flamboyant goon tie included, Sunday, 18 October 2020 19:18 (six days ago) link

"Beautiful People" by Mark Pritchard & Thom Yorke has a big Mark Hollis vibe.

fetter, Sunday, 18 October 2020 22:04 (six days ago) link

Wow @ that Weather Station track! Album due Feb, according to Amazon UK.

Alex - the Pheeel link is to #findfrank, a solo piano piece from the Stephen Rennicks 'Frank' (Sidebottom) soundtrack.

Supposed Former ILM Lurker (WeWantMiles), Monday, 19 October 2020 15:54 (five days ago) link

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