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Music Book of the Month: Ben Wardle, Mark Hollis – A Perfect Silence

A fascinating and in-depth read.

Ben Wardle knows the intricacies of the music industry – he was a talent scout for Warner and the founder of the independent label Indolent. When you combine that experience with his appreciation of the late Mark Hollis and Talk Talk, he’s well-positioned to offer unique insight into pioneering art-pop attire.

Hollis’ production received accolades after her death in 2019, but it wasn’t always that way. NME was particularly venomous, once describing him during an early gig as looking like a “nervous accountant who had stumbled on stage”. Despite the negativity and cynicism, Hollis never wavered.

Wardle gives an honest account of the musician’s utter determination to innovate, something he often did to the exasperation of collaborators, bandmates, producers and managers. Indeed, Phill Brown has likened Hollis’ ruthless standards to an attempt to “bottle the mind of improvised magic”. The biography also confirms how deeply Hollis was influenced by his brother Ed and includes key memories of producer/musician Tim Friese-Greene and manager Keith Aspden.

Mark Hollis was much more than the hits “It’s My Life” or “Life’s What You Make It”, and A perfect silence with pleasure and meticulously gives us this insight.

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“A perfect silence”.
Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson