Forest Tape #4: The Rites of Spring

Released/Hidden: April 5th, 2019

Dedicated to the memory of Mark Hollis.

  1. it’s beginning to look a lot like Walpurgisnacht
    LiarsRead The Book That Wrote Itself
    from ‘They Were Wrong So We Drowned’

  2. condensation trails
    GrouperThe Races
    from ‘Grid of Points’

  3. first piercing green
    Talk TalkApril 5th
    from ‘The Colour of Spring’

  4. facefuls of wet soil
    Lemon JellyNice Weather For Ducks
    from ‘Lost Horizons’

  5. gone tomorrow, next year
    Concert SilencePart Three
    from ‘09.22.07 2-3pm’

  6. cinder burns on a plaid blanket
    Julie ByrneNatural Blue
    from ‘Not Even Happiness’

  7. torchlight puddles
    Angelo BadalamentiThe Bookhouse Boys
    from ‘Soundtrack From Twin Peaks’

  8. heavy and restless
    The Microphones I Want Wind To Blow
    from ‘The Glow pt. 2’

  9. a sudden terrible mistake
    Oneohtrix Point NeverDescribing Bodies / Stress Waves
    from ‘Returnal’

  10. wounds knitting
    Mark HollisThe Colour of Spring
    from ‘Mark Hollis’

  11. corneas burn in ecstasy
    The Flaming LipsApproaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia)
    from ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’

Notes

This depicts the always far-too-slow transition from Winter into Spring. For me, this is a time of confused optimism, and unpredictable mood cycles. Giddy joy and violent despair mingle together. For some reason, this is surprisingly common at this time of year. Psychologists estimate this is due to lingering seasonal depression, coupled with a fresh burst of energy from the brighter weather. If this sounds familiar, please take extra care of yourself. The consequences can be permanent, and they needn’t be.

Mark Hollis

My friend Oliver summed it up best when he said that Mark Hollis taught him how to be serious. Hollis was the leader of the band Talk Talk, who grew out of 80s synth-pop into something infinitely more mysterious and bold. With their final trio of albums, ‘The Colour of Spring’, ‘Spirit of Eden’ and ‘Laughing Stock’, they pruned away all convention and inhibition. What remained was nakedness. ‘Laughing Stock’ in particular sounds like an album that would prefer you didn’t listen to it, as if you’re poking a balled-up hedgehog with a stick. While their (admittedly very good) early work is unmistakably 80s, these albums exist outside of their time period. They would be considered forward-thinking if they were released this morning. Naturally, they’re not to everyone’s taste. EMI Records even sued Talk Talk for making music that was “unmarketable”, Nonetheless, Hollis and his band left an indelible mark on music which continues to inspire and baffle to this day. At the centre of it all was Hollis’s single-minded compassion. I have my own interpretation and others have theirs, but judging by his art, Mark Hollis was a man declaring his unfulfilled desire to soak up the wounds of the world. As if to delete his ego altogether, Talk Talk broke up immediately after releasing ‘Laughing Stock’. Aside from a lone solo album in 1998 (which stands a good chance of being the quietest collection of songs ever made), Hollis vanished from the public eye. He died as I was planning the outline for this tape, and it seemed downright disrespectful not to honour him in whatever way I could.
[I’d like to point curious newcomers in the direction of the album ‘The Colour of Spring’, which – as well as being one of their best records – is an ideal halfway-house between their two incarnations.]

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