Japan and David Sylvian blew my mind. I used to listen to Obscure Alternatives, an album I disliked intensely, just so I could then play Gentlemen Take Polaroids and sit and wonder how the fuck they got from there to here. With just the stepping stone of Quiet Life between the two.
Bowie, at least in any serious way, was still a year or two down the line for me. Bryan Ferry, too. And Lou Reed and Eno as well. Maybe if I’d arrived at Japan and Sylvian chronologically they wouldn’t have seemed so other worldly. Who knows? Who cares…
But all my retrospection had been duly done by the time this came my way and still it hammered me. Like something from the great architect of the musical universe himself. It was something that shattered expectations, conventions and understandings.
And even the music itself, eerie & aching with all the yearning of one soul reaching out towards the rest of us, was still less than the sum of its parts. Not since Miles Davis did a musician understand the power of absence like Mark Hollis; the devastating impact of emptiness and the transforming force of the note unwritten; the note unplayed; the note unheard but always felt. But it had to be that way. Those big, haunting spaces made room for all the humanity he crammed in.
R.I.P. Mark Hollis. The world just got that little bit darker.