I woke up in the middle of the night last night. It was like 2 or 3pm I don't know which... But I find myself in a good place mentally so instead of using the time to fret and letting the brain slowly feed itself with thoughts and things I should be doing / want to be doing / haven't been doing, I thought I'd listen to an album that was the perfect partner for this time of night.
Let's just get to it... Talk Talk's 'Spirit of Eden' is a 1988-released stone cold masterpiece. It's getting to the near end point of a band that went from synth pop to pretty much jazz. They started with (still amazing) hits like 'It's My Life' and 'Such A Shame' and seemed to find themselves pulling back and back into the silence and shadows that (I presume) Mark Hollis favoured. 'Laughing Stock' was released two years after 'Spirit Of Eden' but last night Eden felt like the perfect soundtrack. You can totally hear how the ideas planted in 'The Colour Of Spring' had fully come to life in this album. It's just pure alchemy. I don't want to know how they did it. I just want to revel in it a few times a year and wonder at what it is.
I think I've had Talk Talk in the back of my mind for a number of reasons. On our forum a member called Doctorbrowncelray had posted a video of the band performing (miming) 'I Believe In You' from this album. Just the audio then reminded me of how ridiculously special this music is. How music can be a truly powerful experience when you are open and able to let it in and that it can really touch the soul. I think these thoughts of how beautiful and brave this can be have been sitting with me since watching this video below. Someone truly putting themselves out into the world in a fearless but gentle fashion.
I wandered downstairs and I got these warm monitor headphones that I have for making music. I put them on, turned the screen dark on the phone and pressed play. It's a weird one to read about if you're not a fan or have never heard the record as it will just sound like hyperbole but it is the most soulful experience listening to that album when you are open to letting it in and especially when the world surrounding you is asleep.
The music gives you hints of whats to come. From a verse you just get a few notes or a feeling it will uplift and move into a chorus but it takes you down or holds where it is before lifting up and taking you to church. Literally... You hear the sound of angelic voices and organs happening around the harmonica's, soft drums, guitars and the voice of Mark Hollis.
The music is often dissonant and shouldn't really make as much sense as it does but it's just such a beautiful sound. Then as a band they often do this thing whereby they just flick and move up and out of that stream into a new movement or feeling.
The only way to explain how this feels to me (and excuse this as really I am no writer and I'll be the first to say it) is if you've ever sat by a river and looked through the water via the sunlight hitting it to see the fish moving in the shadows. If you stay for a while and watch they will sit with the water moving all around them and then flick the tail and shift and they are gone. This is what this music often has the ability to do with it feeling the most natural movement you've heard. Often unnoticed you find yourself in a warm choral sound and wonder how you got here...
I guess the point of writing this is to say that waking up a 2 or 3am can be a pretty spiritual experience so if you find yourself in the same position maybe try putting on a record. Just consider it a gift and a time to do something solely for you. And really I guess the point is that Talk Talk were a truly special band and in turn Mark Hollis a truly special musician (not to underplay the rest of the bands contribution as they obviously make a whole). I feel slightly broken in a really good way today. I want to call my friends. Make sure they are ok. Check in on some people. I am guessing that's cause I got deep into this and went to my church last night... Be well.