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There are inexplicable things sometimes. Mark Hollis’s story is one of them.


In the 1980s, with his group (I Talk Talk) he had reached heights of commercial success that opened the doors to an Olympus of fame and wealth that is difficult to give up.


Mark Hollis, with his group, wrote hits that are still inevitable today when you want to organize a party with friends.

For one particularly inexplicable reason, their success was, commercially speaking, far from their own England.


Especially in Europe and Oceania, the group reached number one with every new single or album. At the same time, in England, it struggled to make it into the Top 20.

Talk Talk only released 5 albums, and by the third album, the mood of the works had changed. Still, it was with “Spirit of Eden” that the group had an experimental turn that surprised everyone, not least their record company.


If with the previous albums at least outside England commercial successes arrived, with “Spirit of Eden” we travelled far from the record peaks also in the rest of the world.


Three years later “Laughing Stock” comes out and the story of Talk Talk ends with this obscure record, which sees critics extol it and the public abandon it.


The album is definitely no longer “new-Wave”, but sound more “post-rock”.


But for me, the best record is yet to come and comes seven years after the release of their work.


In 1998 everyone talks about the solo release of Mark Hollis. The passive voice and restless soul of Talk Talk, but when the album comes out no one expects it to be a journey into Mark’s soul.


The record was an original minimalist work, which immediately reminds me of the work of another leader of a group in vogue in the early 1980s, namely David Sylvian of Japan.


I don’t know if the two were friends, but they certainly knew each other’s work well. For me, who loves David Sylvian to madness, it was easy to get lost immediately in the maze of Mark Hollis’ bitter notes.


The record doesn’t have a single flaw.


It is merely perfect and unfortunately remains his only jo. He did not want to go on tour, he wanted to devote himself to his family and either he still very young decides to retire from the musical world.


Mark Hollis had finished recording when he was only 43. It is impossible to think that he has never written songs again. Everyone is convinced that instead, he has many pieces in some hidden drawer and that someday some of his heirs will decide to publish, let us know what he did.


I have been listening to his record regularly for 20 years, and I never get tired of doing it and playing it again.


To those who lost it at the time or who only now approaches music because they are very young should jump to the record shop today and buy it.


It is a true masterpiece, a real hidden gem.


One of those works of art that you can boast of having at home and when you want to impress your new acquaintance, this record helps you make your damn good impression.


Mark Hollis, born in London in 1955, a little genius at times misunderstood. He died on February 25, 2019, and he was only 64 years old. He went away in silence as his last 20 years have been.


They are not the best records ever. Maybe they are too.
But that’s not the point of this page on my blog.
Once a week, every Sunday.
The records that most contributed to getting to this point in my life.
The reason why I decided to write about my music in this way is that I am turning sixty this year.
Music has been essential in my growth as a person.
It made me make life choices, some even wrong, probably.
Every Monday, I will start to listen to a record that I think has been crucial in my past.
I’ll play it until I come out with happy memories, emotions and maybe some tears.
Finally, I will leave you every Sunday to let you find the record I was listening and to discovered something more about me.

Massimo Usai

Massimo Usai

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