[Tribute] – ‘Elegy for Mark Hollis – A Life (1955-2019)’


Stream the mix while you read; download at the bottom of this post.

Update: A second tribute to Mark Hollis exploring music with the spirit of Talk Talk from the late 60s and 1970s is available now, here.

Mark Hollis disappeared, and for two decades, I hoped for his return, imagining what transcendent new beauty he would bring when he did.  His music–the last two Talk Talk albums in particular, and even more so for me his single, self-titled solo album–set my high-water mark of what recorded music can achieve, emotionally and artistically.  In many ways, Mr. Hollis’ silence fueled my musical search far and wide, in hopes of encountering the the exhilaration and joy his music gave me.  Now that he’s really gone, into that final and endless stillness: I realize he never needed to sing another note.  He achieved true musical perfection, and knew there was nothing more that needed to be sung.  Few of us can reach the end of life with the certain knowledge that we brought something perfect into the world that will live on; Mark Hollis did, and so he’s still with us just as he was these last twenty years.

Nevertheless, I’ve felt the loss of him since he passed with a surprising intensity.  In many ways, along with my musical searching, Mark Hollis’ music also fueled my mix-making, where I’ve tried to capture a taste of the perfection of his music, in mixes like ‘Still,’ ‘Translucence,’ ‘Evensong,’Afrominimalism: Moonlight,’The Dawning‘ and others.  In making those mixes, I was trying to spend more time in the liminal, ethereal space-between-places that Talk Talk and ‘Mark Hollis‘ defined for me.  But a couple months ago, I finally set out to make mixes that were directly in tribute to these foundational records.  Mr. Hollis’ passing stopped me cold; for a couple weeks, I couldn’t bring myself to even listen to his music, much less try to immerse myself in it and pay homage to it.  The feeling of loss remains strong–maybe that’s strange given he’s not someone I actually knew, and he’d left the public behind so long ago.  Still, it’s there.  I finally returned to the effort, and the result is this mix, ‘Elegy for Mark Hollis – A Life (1955-2019)‘, the first of two mixes I’ll make in remembrance.  ‘Elegy‘ focuses on music roughly contemporaneous to Talk Talk and ‘Mark Hollis,’ from the 1980s and 1990s; the next mix will focus on the 1960s and 1970s.

In truth, nothing really sounds like ‘Spirit of Eden,’ ‘Laughing Stock‘ and ‘Mark Hollis,’ certainly not in their sui generis intricacy, subtlety and cohesiveness.  But this mix is comprised of artists and sounds that I’ve loved for many years that have taken me near that singular place, and given me some of  same the unnameable mix of joy, sorrow, hope, longing, mystery and meaning. They possess something of the spirit Mark Hollis gave to the world.  ‘Elegy‘ is contemplative, sometimes mournful and often haunting. But like Mark Hollis’ music, I hope it will bring you joy through the shadow of sadness, hope in the face of loss.

Download/stream below the tracklist.  Please, support these artists, their labels, and local record shops as much as you can. Thank you for listening.

Various – ‘Elegy for Mark Hollis – A Life (1955-2019)’


01 [0:00:00] David Sylvian – “Brilliant Trees” (‘Brilliant Trees’ 1984)
02 [0:09:05] Rachel’s – “Full On Night” (‘Handrwiting’ 1995)
03 [0:15:40] Neil Young – “Guitar Solo #4” (‘Dead Man’ 1996)
04 [0:19:45] The Durutti Columm – “Without Mercy (Stanzas IX-XII)” (‘Without Mercy’ 1984)
05 [0:26:45] The For Carnation – “Moonbeams” (‘The For Carnation’ 2000)
06 [0:36:05] Scott Walker – “Sleepwalkers Woman” (‘Climate of Hunter’ 1984)
07 [0:40:05] Robert Wyatt – “Maryan” (‘Shleep’ 1997)
08 [0:46:15] Paul Motian Trio – “India” (‘It Should’ve Happened a Long Time Ago’ 1985)
09 [0:53:35] Low – “Landlord” (‘Songs For A Dead Pilot’ 1997)
10 [1:00:15] The Comsat Angels – “Pictures” (‘Fiction’ 1982)
11 [1:04:40] Dif Juz – “Marooned” (‘Extractions’ 1985)
12 [1:08:35] Shelleyan Orphan – “Supernature on a Superhighway” (‘Humroot’ 1992)
13 [1:15:30] Danny Thompson – “Till Minne Av Jan” (‘Whatever’ 1987)
14 [1:20:15] Stina Nordenstam – “Dynamite” (‘Dynamite’ 1996)
15 [1:24:35] Haruomi Hosono – “Trembling #1” (‘The Endless Talking’ 1985)
16 [1:27:40] Dead Can Dance – “The Host of Seraphim” (‘The Serpent’s Egg’ 1988)
17 [1:33:25] Yasuaki Shimizu – “Stir In This Way” (‘Kakashi’ 1982)
18 [1:35:35] Mick Karn – “Dreams of Reason” (‘Dreams Of Reason Produce Monsters’ 1986)
19 [1:39:15] Arthur Russell – “Not Checking Up” (‘World of Echo’ demo 1986)
20 [1:43:40] This Mortal Coil – “The Lacemaker” (‘Blood’ 1991)
21 [1:46:45] Peter Gabriel – “With This Love” (‘Passion’ 1989)
22 [1:50:05] The Blue Nile – “Regret” (‘Tinseltown In the Rain’ single 1984)
23 [1:53:30] Talk Talk – “It’s Getting Late in the Evening” (‘Life’s What You Make It’ single 1986)
[Total Time: 1:59:17]

Download ‘Elegy For Mark Hollis – A Life (1955-2019)‘ Here (275MB)

Stream here:

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5 thoughts on “[Tribute] – ‘Elegy for Mark Hollis – A Life (1955-2019)’

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