A few weeks ago, we received the sad news that Mark Hollis of Talk Talk had passed away at 64 years of age.
Our heroes are passing away at a quicker and quicker rate.
And whilst my generation and younger is grappling with everything around us telling us to chase for approval, I find it interesting that we are gravitating towards the dead artists who were outsiders and did things their way.
Can anyone say ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’?
One can only imagine what his online presence would Freddie be still alive. The very notion amuses me.
And whilst the wave of love for Queen has been rekindled and passed on to generation Z courtesy of the film and a rock and roll story, Mark Hollis is a starkly contrasted kind of outsider.
A very introverted and quiet one.
Nevertheless, Hollis is an artist who still left his legacy and impact.
First, it was the synth pop anthems, the most famous probably being ‘it’s my life’ but the true magic of Hollis’s work comes later in Talk Talk’s career in two albums that showcased a defiance towards industry pressure and allowed the band to stick to it’s artistic integrity, ‘Spirit of Eden’ and ‘Laughing Stock’.
Both albums would go on to inspire the post rock movement in the 90s.
I’ll never forget the first time I listened to ‘Spirit of Eden’ all the way through. I sat in my studio with the lights off and a drink at hand. The entire experience was a cathartic one, the record can drift you off into a zen like state of mind.
The space of the music, the carefully selected sounds and elongated notes, the gradual build up of texture, a mumble of words followed by a crystal clear statement.
The record entirely resonated with me in the way I understand but can’t quite articulate at the same time. It’s a very powerful kind of music.
When was the last time you heard a record like that?
If you’re in your twenties, I’m not sure how many of you may have had this experience.
And what’s especially sad is music’s cultural relevance has reduced significantly. Music has become a coarse reflection of reality, a background noise, a state of mindlessness that boasts fame and fortune as opposed to personal fulfilment.
There are artists out there like that today but it’s hard for them to make waves in a time where we’ve got to grips with distribution, but no idea about marketing and there’s too much of everything.
But all the while, Talk Talk inspire me to be the kind of artist I want to be…my own artist.
You can do things your own way, you can stick with your gut and follow your own path and you can be an outsider.
It can be just about the music and you can be an introvert.
And the irony is that you’ll probably be more respected for it.
Rest in peace Mark Hollis. Thank you for the music.