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Old 10-25-2010, 06:07 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Pull your finger out Bully! Next reviews!
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:11 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I saw a Talk Talk gig from 86 on Sky Arts 1 recently, they were touring The Colour of Spring at the time of the gig. I only knew the obvious songs by them like Talk Talk and its my life before i watched it, I didnt realize they were such a great live band and i didnt know they had so many great songs. Definately worth a watch, you know what Skys like it'll be repeated a bazillion times before the end of the month.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:48 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Pull your finger out Bully! Next reviews!
yea! i'm curious to see you review their next two, especially after you gave the colour of spring a 10/10.
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:53 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I saw a Talk Talk gig from 86 on Sky Arts 1 recently, they were touring The Colour of Spring at the time of the gig. I only knew the obvious songs by them like Talk Talk and its my life before i watched it, I didnt realize they were such a great live band and i didnt know they had so many great songs. Definately worth a watch, you know what Skys like it'll be repeated a bazillion times before the end of the month.
I caught that a couple of months and managed to find an audio rip of it too. Great performance.
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Pull your finger out Bully! Next reviews!
I'll think about it . Much as I love coming back once or twice a week, posting a picture of a new album I've got and then buggering off for a bit, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to contribute a bit more to this place again.

I'll make sure I revive this thread, my journal and maybe the top 100 again sometime. If I can clear the schedule up nicely, I'll do my bit in the coming week...
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:08 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Much to do over the next 7 or 8 days, so there won't be any new reviews for quite a while I'm afraid. To make up for it though, I just thought I'd introduce you to this little nugget...


^ That there's probably my favourite B-side ever, and an outtake from the Colour Of Spring. Dunno about you, but it says a lot about how awesome an album can be if it can afford to leave songs of this quality off its final tracklisting. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and I'll be back here in a week with both of the next reviews...
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:02 PM   #27 (permalink)
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^^^

I don't even know that track, although certain motifs are what I have heard before. Good call on this.

I will go out on a limb and say that Talk Talk were as good as Joy Division in their own way and just as influential.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:01 AM   #28 (permalink)
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I read a couple of sentences the other day that more or less perfectly sum up my views on this album. It comes from the depths of this sceptered isle's Guardian newspaper and goes something like this; "Spirit Of Eden has not dated; it's remarkable how contemporary it sounds, anticipating post-rock, the Verve and Radiohead. It's the sound of an artist being given the keys to the kingdom and returning with art". I could be a total cheapskate and just leave you with that, the videos below and then bugger off to go about my business again, but I'm hungover, bored and trying to avoid my responsibilities for a bit.

So, without further ado (whether or not anyone actually reads this), I suppose it's about time I fulfilled a promise I made in this thread sometime last month by saying a word or two about this, and by a word or two I do of course mean some background info, a bit of the old song-by-song business, a conclusion and five-odd minutes of your time to read this thing. If this is a bit disjointed, drawn-out, repetitive, comes off as pretentious or whatever, it's been such a long time since I last typed a review of any kind, so cut me some slack eh

Talk Talk
Spirit Of Eden
1988


The Rainbow
Eden
Desire
Inheritance
I Believe In You
Wealth

I'll just begin at the beginning so to speak. In a bid to follow up the immense critical and commercial success like 1986's the Colour Of Spring, an artist can go in one of two directions. One of those is to release a treading water album, ie one that doesn't really bring anything particularly new to the party but instead serves up the old tried and trusted sound as a proven success formula. The other option is to use the backing of a record label and the loyalty of a new-found following to go in a completely new direction altogether. Even at face value, the album is worlds apart from anything Hollis, Friese-Greene and co (let alone anyone else) had ever done before, coming as this album did from a very difficult recording process. While often in total darkness, Talk Talk and an army of session musicians recorded hours of improvised material, which would then be heavily edited by Hollis and acting producer Friese-Greene before being re-arranged digitally into six instrumental tracks. To put the lid on the album, Hollis would write six sets of lyrics before overdubbing the vocal tracks. All pretty complex and drawn-out really and, I don't know about you, but I can just picture Hollis and Friese-Greene huddled over a mixing console in a dark recording studio listening to a practically endless barrage of improv and picking out all the bits that sounded like actual songs.

What this results in is a very odd-sounding, moody album and, yes, it does anticipate a lot of post-rock and, unfortunately, a lot of dull knock-offs like Godspeed You Black Emperor. It sounds at once like darkness and despair musicified (if it's not a word, it is now!) and a ray of light, if that makes much sense at all, and it all gets off to a hell of a start with the Rainbow. True, it takes a full two minutes to really get going, but there's such a rich imagery to the layers of guitar feedback, synth loops and ambient noises which really takes me away every time I hear it. Then that guitar cuts through the atmosphere like a knife, some of the most musical guitar feedback I've ever heard forms a layer on top of it and the rhythm just kind of cascades into focus. When Hollis' soothing vocal brings it all together, the package is complete. That package, my friend, is a hell of a tune

It's hard to believe that such a unified and layered song could come from such a disjointed birth, as the editing is absolutely seamless, as is the transition to the following Eden. In fact I think it was the Japanese version of this album (I forget exactly) which had this and the songs before and after it listed as one song, which makes a lot of sense when you listen to them in one go. Anyway, this is a similar song to the Rainbow, in that there's a picture painted for you with a nicely drawn-out opening by synth loops, ambient noises and guitar feedback for about a minute before a pulsing heartbeat of of a drum rhythm, complete with some gorgeous swathes of guitar build towards Hollis' vocal over a backing that's almost grandiose in its minimalism. Like the Rainbow before it, it really is very remarkable, slow-rolling stuff. Check out the bizarre tempo change about two and a half minutes in too.

It's kinda like you're being taken on a trip here, with the similarly pensive Desire taking you that little bit further along. We've had plenty of guitar, bass and drums up 'til now, but not so much organ or synth. I'm sure it'll please you to know that this song fixes that, as this deceptively-paced number gets by in its slower passages on the back of Friese-Greene's ghostly organ flourishes before it explodes into a heavy, jazzy freakout between the rhythm section, calms down and then gives the whole thing another go. Thirty seconds of silence brings quite an incredible first half of the album to a strange yet somehow fitting close.

The second half of the album consists of more conventionally-edited (though evidently not structured or composed) songs, starting with Inheritance. Like pretty much the rest of this album, it doesn't really have one instrument that leads the music, not even Hollis' voice. It's the result of a mixture of each instrumental element kinda going off on a path of its own and the sound that the combination provides, this one more of a jazzy number, what with that stuttering groove there is to the bass.

Next up is the one song that the perplexed EMI deemed fit for single release, the gorgeous I Believe In You. Like rest of the album, it starts as a thin and distant selection of noises on the horizon, in this case a reined-in and steady drumbeat with some very abstract notes from the piano and guitar completing the sonic picture before Hollis again gives it all a more obvious identity of its own via his marvelous vocal talent. Without going on too long, I think this might be one of my favourite songs of all time. The only flaw I can think of for it is the fact that its working title was Snow In Berlin - I know it makes no sense next to song's concept, but it has much more of a kinda mysticism to it than I Believe In You. Maybe it's just me.

As for Wealth, it's so minimal in its delivery that it might as well not even be a song at all! Hollis' vocal just comes at you like a voice from the darkness as the gentle tones of the organ and piano, not to mention the occasional, disjointed strum of a guitar or pluck of a bass note light the whole picture up ever so slightly. The final two minutes of the album the whole thing roll right past you and out of view as the organ chimes get more and more distant.

It brings a brilliant album to a fitting close. Slow? Of course it is...mainly anyway. But people who use that as a reason to label this album as boring (don't get me wrong, I'm not pointing a finger at anybody) are simply missing the point, just as they would be by calling this album the pretentious noodlings of a band of credibility vampires. It's all down to taste, but for me the beauty of this album comes from the fact that it just sounds so bizarre and alien to more marketable kinds of music. I just love this album not only because of how image-rich it comes off as (despite being improv-centric and minimalist as it is), but also for the sheer balls Talk Talk must have had as a well-selling pop group to do something like this. The signs were there on the Colour Of Spring, and those signs are followed and explored here. From the moment I first heard the opening three minutes of the Rainbow, I knew how I'd be rating this album. Get it, listen to it, love it and pity those who don't

10/10




Short review:

get

this

album


When I've got some spare time on my hands again, I'll re-review Laughing Stock as well...

Last edited by Bulldog; 12-05-2010 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 12-05-2010, 02:19 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Gorgeous review brother! You need not wonder about pretentiousness: when you are dealing with musical colossi, one should aspire high in presentation to inspire the reader to acquire said record(s).

On a secondary note, besides Hollis's solo outing, might you consider reviewing Asides Besides as well?
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Old 12-05-2010, 04:36 PM   #30 (permalink)
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You need not wonder about pretentiousness: when you are dealing with musical colossi, one should aspire high in presentation to inspire the reader to acquire said record(s).


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On a secondary note, besides Hollis's solo outing, might you consider reviewing Asides Besides as well?
I might just do that actually, as some of the tracks on it are mind-bogglingly awesome. Coming up to Christmas my schedule's finally starting to clear up a bit, so it might not be so long before I do. At least not another six months anyway
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