Spirit of Talk Talk

Profile photo of Feedback_File Feedback_File / Blog8 Comments

Just spotted that there is new updated vs of the Talk Talk biog ‘Spirit of Talk Talk’. I didn’t buy the original but this looks lovely so Ive splashed out my £30.

If there’s anyone out there that doesn’t know the TT story (unlikely given the discerning nature of Afterworders) it is pretty compelling stuff. New wave popsters from the early 80s move seemingly overnight from solid (but unremarkable) synth based pop to experimental and genuinely ground breaking music pioneers. Stories abound of hours of improvised music recorded in blacked out studios; abandoning any use of synths and incorporating instead wind quartets alongside the pianos, organs, guitars and wailing harmonicas. Mark Hollis their enigmatic leader then quietly disappears (excepting one solo album) and has hardly even spoken in public since.

Of course this is just an excuse for posting ‘I Believe in You’ which genuinely moves me tears every time it reaches the ghostly choir and Hollis’ anguished ‘Spirit’ section. I found this video which has the lyrics (notoriously hard to decipher on record).

If you haven’t heard ‘Eden’ or ‘Laughing Stock’ I urge you to check them out especially if you have any interest in any of the following – ambient; post rock; 70s Miles Davis; Floyd; Mogwai



8 Comments on “Spirit of Talk Talk”

  1. Profile photo of Tiggerlion

    Spirit Of Eden is one of my favourite albums. However, I don’t think it was an overnight change. Colour Of Spring is a definite step away from synth-pop and there is quite a bit of improvisation in amongst some catchy hits. They toured that album with an expanded lineup so they could play *real* instruments. They even appeared at the Montreal Jazz Festival before settling into their darkened room for a year to record Spirit.

    Mark Hollis’s solo album is a beautiful whisper. I suspect Jamie xx learnt a lot from it.

    I’d definitely say these are albums that stay with me and could easily feature on that thread.

    1. Profile photo of Moose the Mooche
      Moose the Mooche

      April 5th is the beginning of Spirit of Eden. And John Cope, the b-side of I Believe In You, could have been on Colour of Spring.

      But still…. the first guitar you hear on The Rainbow seemed very out of place in 1988 – not a choppy hair-metal crunch or a “chiming” indie-rock jangle, not even punk rock, but something gloriously other. I can remember how I felt when I first heard that – sitting up and thinking “Woah!” Then later there’s all that clattering percussion on Desire…..and a bloody Hammond organ! In 1988! And that was just the first side.

      ….and whole I’m here, I loved that old-school Parlophone label.

  2. Profile photo of Moose the Mooche
    Moose the Mooche

    I bought Spirit of Eden the week it came out in HMV (yes, I know, so did a lot of people). I was given a free poster of the cover picture – which was mysteriously reversed.

    Within a few days of buying SoE I realised that I had been kind of waiting for it all my life (I was only 14, so that’s not especially impressive, but still…)

  3. Profile photo of Feedback_File

    Tig you are of course right there were signs of what was to come on The Colour of Spring but it was still a pretty radical overhaul. Laughing Stock has been unfairly overlooked in my opinion – its a bit of a harder listen that Eden but still wonderful. Am I right in thinking both albums came out of that one set of recording sessions ?

    Looking forward to the book

    1. Profile photo of Moose the Mooche
      Moose the Mooche

      Nope. Laughing Stock was later and in any case was bankrolled by Verve instead of Parlophone. What a great sequence of labels! They would have ended up on 4AD, Blast First or Impulse! if they’d stayed together.

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