Mark Hollis

(1998), 8/10
This self titled debut is the only full album that Hollis has released since Talk Talk finished their career with Laughing Stock; since then he’s prioritised his family and largely abandoned the music industry. Mark Hollis is even more subdued than the quiet parts of Laughing Stock; it’s quiet, minimalist, and almost solely performed on acoustic instruments. Gentle piano and acoustic bass are often the primary instruments. Hollis stated that he was influenced by 20th century classical music while recording, and instruments like clarinets and bassoons add an orchestral flavour. The highlight is ‘The Daily Planet’, with its hypnotic woodwind riff and soaring melody, while A Life 1895-1915 tells the story of World War One poet Roland Leighton. It’s not quite as seminal as Hollis’ work with Talk Talk, possibly because it’s gentler and subtler. But since Hollis has produced so little material in his career, Mark Hollis is an absolutely essential part of his story.

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