"But there was nothing about the little, low-rambling, more or less identical homes of Northumberland Estates to interest or to haunt, no chance of loot that would be any more than the ordinary, waking-world kind the cops hauled you in for taking; no
small immunities, no possibilities for hidden life or otherworldly presence; no trees, secret routes, shortcuts, culverts, thickets that could be made hollow in the middle – everything in the place was right out in the open, everything could be seen at a glance; and behind it, under it, around the corners of its houses and down the safe, gentle curves of its streets, you came back, you kept coming back, to nothing; nothing but the cheerless earth."
Thomas Pynchon, "The Secret Integration"
This is Ian Mathers' Tumblr. I live in Canada. I've written about music and other things for Stylus, Dusted, PopMatters, Resident Advisor, the Village Voice, and a few other places. Hi.
Thanks very much for dropping me a line, anon! It’s become one of my favourite Talk Talk albums recently, although everything except their debut is so closely packed that it’s almost moot. Listening to it again on the subway this morning, I was struck again how, even more than most transitional works, it feels like the product of this enormous effort. If It’s My Life still has the defences and pleasures of snark to rely on, The Colour of Spring feels to me like Mark Hollis and the band are straining to reach something new, and that strain is both real and multifaceted; sonic, emotional, theological, compositional. Hollis in particular regularly sounds like he’s trying and failing to move mountains throughout the album. You can imagine any number of bands writing a song called “Happiness Is Easy” that does not, in fact, make it sound easy, but Talk Talk’s seems like one of the few that could acknowledge both the difficulty and the truth of that idea.
Arguably, you could say that one part of the shift from The Colour of Spring to what came later is embodied in the shift from “I Don’t Believe in You” (where, notably Hollis is addressing someone who keeps repeating the title) to “I Believe in You.” Even though the latter is at least partially about heroin-as-plague, Hollis sounds at peace singing it, at peace even during the stormiest, saddest, most difficult parts of Spirit of Eden, Laughing Stock, and Mark Hollis. The agony that I hear shot through the songs on The Colour of Spring, where “Life’s What You Make It” feels more like a Aurelius-style self-directed pep talk than anything else, where “Living in Another World” registers as feverish rather than ecstatic (“help me find a way out of this maze!”), where the exhaustion and relief in Hollis’s voice as he sings “now that it’s all over” during the closing “Time It’s Time” is palpable… that’s been resolved somehow. As much as I love It’s My Life, sometimes it feels like the work of people entirely unaware of the kinds of concerns the people making Spirit of Eden are dealing with; to me, The Colour of Spring is the sound of Hollis and the rest of Talk Talk becoming aware.
Nick Cave (Rolling Stone, August 1994)
Agreed, but I kinda feel like high school kids should also stop listening to Nick Cave records and people telling them to listen to Nick Cave records.
I found a spot by the door with no one around.
Let my mind go out of tune, out of tune.
I kept a smile on my face for anyone looking,
Tried to turn away questions before he asked,
Let my mind go out of tune. Out of tune.
Yo La Tengo - Saturday
This is the first Saturday in a bit I have no plans to go out of town. They’ve been good weekends, but I am really looking forward to sleeping in.
The second half of our current listening roundup starts with Aphex Twin’s unhealthy glow then moves steadily towards the light. (Part One is here)
There are some really fucking phenomenal gospel music resources in here (as well as my own quick blurbs on an Aphex Twin record sickmouthy convinced me to give another chance, one of my standard comfort food records, and an Aartika album I’m still unsure about). The first part is good too.