"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
“If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.”
I'd always been a song man.
This was the album that really introduced me to the importance of silence and sound.
I guess that at the time of its release many might have regarded 'Spirit of Eden' as commercial suicide. After the chart success of 1986's 'The Colour of Spring' the band retreated to Wessex studios during 1987 and 1988. Overseen by the band's creative conscience Mark Hollis and the returning producer, Tim Friese-Greene, the musicians often recorded in darkness as they improvised unscripted performances that were eventually edited down to this final form.
Almost impossible to categorize, the best that the critics could do was 'alternative' or 'post rock'. It was everything and nothing: rock, jazz, ambient, classical. Engineer Phil Brown remembers that the album was "recorded by chance, accident, and hours of trying every possible overdub idea."
The band sent EMI a cassette of the final mixes. EMI were bemused and asked singer Mark Hollis to consider re recording.
There was stalemate with the band eventually leaving the label after a prolonged wrangle.
The album was brilliant but unmarketable and effectively untourable...
Hollis noted: "There is no way that I could ever play again a lot of the stuff I played on this album because I just wouldn't know how to. So, to play it live, to take a part that was done in spontaneity, to write it down and then get someone to play it, would lose the whole point, lose the whole purity of what it was in the first place."
It whispers and occasionally screams.
You can hear the players thinking as they play; the space between the notes as important as the notes themselves.
Again, it makes you forget about song and really think about sound.
Let's call it 'Art'.
Because of 'Spirit of Eden' Talk Talk are now rightly recognized as pioneers; it's a massively influential album. Would Sigur Ros, Mogwai or Radiohead have had the courage to make such challenging music without this recording's legacy?