Mark Hollis (album)

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Mark Hollis
Studio album by Mark Hollis
Released 2 February 1998[1]
Recorded 1997
Genre Folk, baroque pop
Length 46:56
Label Polydor
Producer Mark Hollis
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Crawdaddy! (favourable)[3]
Opus (favourable)[4]
Pitchfork Media (9.0/10)[5]

Mark Hollis is the only solo album by the former Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis. It was released on Polydor Records on 2 February 1998, then reissued on Pond Life on 13 March 2000. In 2003, the album was released in LP format on Universal Records.[6] Its sound is noted for being extremely sparse and minimal; Allmusic called it "quite possibly the most quiet and intimate record ever made".[6] Hollis found inspiration not in the popular music of the day, but rather in 20th-century classical music and jazz from the late fifties and sixties.[7] The album did not mark a return for Hollis to the music industry or live performance: he stated at the time of the album's release that "There won't be any gig, not even at home in the living room. This material isn't suited to play live."[7]

The album was recorded as part of a two-album contract with Polydor, along with Talk Talk's 1991 Laughing Stock. Engineer Phill Brown, who also recorded Laughing Stock, stated that, compared to the final Talk Talk album, which he considered "one of [his] best projects" but "dark and claustrophobic",[8] he found the solo release "the opposite…- open, restful and at times fantastically beautiful".[8]

On 11 October 2011, Ba Da Bing Records released Mark Hollis on vinyl. This marks the first time that the album has been issued on vinyl in the US.[9]

Cover art[edit]

The cover photo, taken by Stephen Lovell-Davis, is of Sardinian Easter bread. Hollis stated about the image, "I like the way something appears to come out of his head, it makes me think of a fountain of ideas. Also the manner how the eyes are positioned fascinates me. When I saw the picture for the first time I had to laugh, but there's some very tragic about it at the same time."[7]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Colour of Spring"   Mark Hollis, Phil Ramacon 3:52
2. "Watershed"   Hollis, Warne Livesey 5:45
3. "Inside Looking Out"   Mark Hollis 6:21
4. "The Gift"   Hollis, Livesey 4:22
5. "A Life (1895 - 1915)"   Hollis, Livesey 8:10
6. "Westward Bound"   Hollis, Dominic Miller 4:18
7. "The Daily Planet"   Hollis, Livesey 7:19
8. "A New Jerusalem"   Hollis, Livesey 6:49

Detail[edit]

"A Life (1895 - 1915)"[edit]

"A Life (1895 - 1915)", which has been referred to as "the album's epic centrepiece"[10] refers to Roland Leighton (1895–1915),[11] a British soldier and poet who was the fiancé of Vera Brittain at the time of his death in World War I.[10] Hollis has stated about the song, "That was someone born before the turn of the century…and dying within one year of the First World War at a young age. It was based on Vera Brittain's boyfriend. It's the expectation that must have been in existence at the turn of the century, the patriotism that must've existed at the start of the war and the disillusionment that must've come immediately afterwards. It's the very severe mood swings that fascinated me."[10] The song correspondingly contains a variety of styles, tempi, and instrumentations.

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Technical[edit]

  • Phill Brown – engineer
  • Mark Hollis – producer
  • Cally and Crane – design
  • Stephen Lovell-Davis – photograph
  • Keith Aspden – management

References[edit]

External links[edit]