Achingly gorgeous and hauntingly stark, Mark Hollis' self-titled debut picks up where he left off with Talk Talk's Laughing Stock seven years earlier, re-emerging at the nexus point where jazz, ambient, and folk music collide. It's quite possibly the most quiet and intimate record ever made, each song cut to the bone for maximum emotional impact and every note carrying enormous meaning. Hollis paints his music in fine, exquisite strokes, with an uncanny mastery of atmosphere that's frequently devastating. And if anything, his singularly resonant voice has grown even more plaintive with the passage of time, which – combined with the understated artistry and minimalist beauty of tracks like "The Colour of Spring" and "Watershed" – makes Mark Hollis a truly unique and indelible listening experience. His obvious understanding of the power of silence aside, one prays he doesn't again wait for the seven-year itch to strike before returning.
This 22-cut double-disc set finally gets at it. Issuing a single disc of Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler would be a silly thing at best and a hopelessly frustrating one at worst. When the band burst on the scene with "Sultans of Swing," there was a lot happening in rock music, but most of it was under the radar and remains forgotten except in the historic annals of music fanatics. Knopfler and his band were full of rock & roll romance and proved it through their first four recordings time and again. They couldn't help but become superstars and mainstays of MTV. But there is another story told on this best-of, which begins with "Telegraph Road"…
In There Is No Love, Davies, Sylvian and Wastell offer a sparse and brooding setting of Bernard Marie Koltès’ text – part of a longer play from 1985 - in which its two characters, named only the Dealer and Buyer, are barely more than ciphers, their ghostly figures enacting a mysterious negotiation in a crepuscular world where emotional engagement has departed in place of commodified exchange (“There is no love”.) What, exactly, is being bought and sold is never revealed, yet Sylvian’s careful enunciation bristles with implicit violence and desire.
Nominated for both a Grammy and an Academy Award, the soundtrack combines lush, reflective incidental music with mid-20th-century big-band compositions, and Isham skillfully integrates these themes as they relate to the contrasting lifestyles of the film’s central characters.