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Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis CD (album) cover


Mark Hollis


Crossover Prog

3.80 | 64 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Dear Mark Hollis, you are died the 25 February, and I cried for your loss. Here we are with your one and only solo record. Great Lp. Not crossover prog, because here we listen to free folk- jazz music. Crossover prog? Not really! Prog-folk, or post-rock. Here we are in front of an album of Cult, extreme, made by silences. But even by an extraordinary vocal performance.

Glacial, ghostly music. Whispered, alluded to, but often undeveloped, one would say for decency, to let the silence speak. This makes the music gaunt, the emotions hover mild, and as soon as they emerge they are sustained brought back within themselves. This is the merit and also the limit of the album, its only mentioned musicality, impressionist, like a painter who has decency to touch the canvas with the brush, and paints it hardly, almost without wanting to leave trace. Silence, whisper, modesty, decency are the words. Night music. Music of the Scottish highlands. You can let it dip or it can bounce you. Love or hate. You can go into ecstasy or you can get bored listening to this Lp. It's an album where art is reached by subtraction of music and singing.

The Line-up: Mark Hollis: guitar, vocals, composer, arranger & producer. Phil Ramacon: co-composer & co-arranger (track 1); Warne Livesey: co-composer & co-arranger (tracks 2,4,5,7,8). Dominic Miller / guitar, co-composer & co-arranger (track 6). Robbie McIntosh: guitar; Lawrence Pendrous: piano, harmonium; Mark Feltham: harmonica. Chris Laurence: double bass. Martin Ditcham: percussion, drums.

Wood musical instruments: clarinet, bassoon, cor Anglais; Brass musical instruments: flute, trumpet.

"Colour Of Spring" (3:52). Twenty seconds of Silence, then piano and voice. Minimalist. Title taken from a Talk Talk disc. Great vocal Performance... Song whispered and then dramatically lived. Almost shy Piano. In the distance perhaps sounds from wooden instruments. Rating: 7,5.

"Watershed (5:45). Maybe the album's masterpiece for the central trumpet solo. Full Folk-Jazz. Great Pathos. Rating: 8+.

"Inside Looking Out (6:21). Minimalist. Without percussion. Piano, and then acoustic guitar and voice. Dissonances played by clarinet. Ardous. Rating: 7,5.

"Gift (4:22). Good rhythm, good drums... and the voice, what a voice! Strange sounds with the harmonica... Then clarinet. This is jazz. Ok? Not crossover prog! Rating: 7,5.

End of side A.

"Life (1895-1915), the longer song (8:10), is a masterpiece, with wooden instruments (clarinet, bassoon, maybe cora anglais) to make dissonances. Then, drums an clarinet. Chamber orchestra. This is new song format. Rating: 8.

"Westward Bound (4:18). Acoustic guitar and voice. Folk. Good, but it's the less original song. Whispered. Shy. Minimalist. Rating: 7.

"Daily Planet (7:19)". Another masterpiece, another new song format. Drums, clarinet, cor anglais, bassoon, dissonances: chamber ensemble of contemporary classical music... or avantgarde? Great atmosphere, event thanks to harmonium. Rating: 8,5.

"New Jerusalem (6:49). Last song. Testament? A New Jerusalem: The Promised Land? Shivering voice. Jazzy drums, jazzy guitar. Dear Mark, I wish you were here! Clarinet, flute, double bass: dissonances. Rating 7,5. After 5 minutes and 5 seconds the song ends but it goes on for a minute and 45 seconds of silence.

This silence is for you, Mark. Rest in Peace.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,72.

Rating: 9. Small masterpiece. Five stars.

jamesbaldwin | 5/5 |


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