Mark Hollis’ lone, self-titled solo album, is set for reissue on heavyweight vinyl through UMC/Polydor, on 18 October. The record will be available with original artwork – a printed inner sleeve with lyrics and credits – and it has been remastered at Abbey Road.
The only solo album by the late Talk Talk frontman, Mark Hollis was first released by Polydor Records in January 1998. Despite being released as a solo album by Hollis, it was originally intended to be credited to Talk Talk, under the name ‘Mountains of the Moon’.
A beautiful and haunting work, Mark Hollis picks up where he left off with Talk Talk’s’ Laughing Stock seven years before, re-emerging with a suite of music that encompassed jazz, ambient, and folk. The album also featured contributions from musicians such as drummer and percussionist Martin Ditcham, guitarist Robbie McIntosh and harmonica player Mark Feltham who had previously appeared on Talk Talk’s classic albums, The Colour Of Spring, Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock.
Hollis’ inspiration came not from ‘pop’ but 20th-century classical music and jazz from the late fifties and sixties (critics have noted there is a distinct flavour of Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way) and is one of the quietest and most intimate records ever made – creating an exceptional atmosphere in which the listener can submerge.
The track, ‘A Life (1895 – 1915)’, which has been referred to as “the album’s epic centre-piece” refers to Roland Leighton (1895–1915), a British soldier and poet who was the fiancé of pioneering writer, feminist and pacifist Vera Brittain at the time of his death in World War I. 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.”
Elsewhere, the understated artistry and minimalist beauty of tracks like ‘The Colour of Spring’ and ‘Watershed’ makes Mark Hollis a truly unique and indelible listening experience.
The album garnered widespread critical acclaim on release, with UK weekly Melody Maker’s review describing the music as “…open, restful and at times fantastically beautiful…a sound whose ambience is as natural as breathing.”
Mark Hollis is out on 18 October and can be bought here.