Mark Hollis (album)

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Mark Hollis
Studio album by
Released26 January 1998[1]
GenreArt rock, folk, baroque pop, jazz
ProducerMark Hollis
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
The Guardian4/5 stars[3]
Q3/5 stars[6]
Uncut4/5 stars[7]

Mark Hollis is the only solo album by the former Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis. It was released on Polydor Records on 26 January 1998, then reissued on Pond Life on 13 March 2000. In 2003, the album was released in LP format on Universal Records.[2] Its sound is noted for being extremely sparse and minimal; AllMusic called it "quite possibly the most quiet and intimate record ever made".[2] 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.[8] 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."[8]

The album was recorded as part of a two-album contract with Polydor, along with Talk Talk's 1991 Laughing Stock. At one point, the record was to be entitled Mountains of the Moon and released under the Talk Talk name, but eventually it was decided it should be a self-titled solo project (early promotional CD-Rs and cassettes of the album contain the original details, with the CD-R retaining the attribution to Talk Talk). 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",[9] he found the solo release "the opposite…- open, restful and at times fantastically beautiful".[9]

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.[10]

Cover art[edit]

The cover photo, taken by Stephen Lovell-Davis, is of Sardinian Easter bread designed to resemble the lamb of god. 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."[8]

Track listing[edit]

1."The Colour of Spring"Mark Hollis, Phil Ramacon3:52
2."Watershed"Hollis, Warne Livesey5:45
3."Inside Looking Out"Hollis6:21
4."The Gift"Hollis, Livesey4:22
5."A Life (1895 - 1915)"Hollis, Livesey8:10
6."Westward Bound"Hollis, Dominic Miller4:18
7."The Daily Planet"Hollis, Livesey7:19
8."A New Jerusalem"Hollis, Livesey6:49


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

"A Life (1895 - 1915)", which has been referred to as "the album's epic centrepiece"[11] refers to Roland Leighton (1895–1915),[12] a British soldier and poet who was the fiancé of Vera Brittain at the time of his death in World War I.[11] 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."[11] The song correspondingly contains a variety of styles, tempi, and instrumentations.




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


  1. ^ "Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis". Discogs. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Ankeny, Jason. "Mark Hollis – Mark Hollis". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  3. ^ Bennun, David (6 February 1998). "White rooms". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Moody, Paul (17 January 1998). "Hi-Elegy". NME.
  5. ^ Harvell, Jess (21 October 2011). "Talk Talk: Laughing Stock / Mark Hollis: Mark Hollis". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  6. ^ Thornton, Anthony (February 1998). "Mark Hollis: Mark Hollis". Q (137).
  7. ^ Stubbs, David (February 1998). "Mark Hollis: Mark Hollis". Uncut (9).
  8. ^ a b c "Music Minded interview". Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b Archived 10 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Mark Hollis and Talk Talk Re-release!". Ba Da Bing Records. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "Super Shy Guy". Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Lieutenant Rolland Aubrey Leighton - Worcestershire Regiment". Retrieved 24 November 2017.

External links[edit]