Mark Hollis, lead vocalist of seminal new wave/post-rock band Talk Talk is has passed away at the age of 64.

One of the finest voices in music and a benchmark figure in pushing past popularity and embracing artistic ambition, Hollis co-formed Talk Talk in 1981, shortly after the dissolution of his first band The Reaction. Channeling the romanticism of the glam era and combining it with top notch musicianship, Talk Talk released two incredible synth-driven records (1982’s The Party’s Over and 1984’s It’s My Life) before abandoning the synth pop sound that made them famous. 1986’s The Colour of Spring added more lush, organic instruments, a sound that was fully realized by 1988’s Spirit of Eden and perfected on 1991’s Laughing Stock. The band’s second, more experimental phase would prove highly influential to the budding post-rock scene as well as carve out a blueprint for bands like Radiohead to thrive in the late 90s.

Hollis recorded one solo record in 1998, an eponymous self-titled album that opens up the tense landscape that Laughing Stock left off with. Soon after, Hollis retired from the music scene, appearing as a guest performer on occasion, but never fully returning to the spotlight. Hollis’ decision was rooted in a desire to provide and care for his family, including two sons. Despite his absence, his rich body of work continues to stand the test of time and transcends all eras.

At this time, no further details are known about his passing, but confirmation has come from a relative of Hollis’, who posted the news via Twitter. Our respects to Mark, his family, and his loved ones.

UPDATE: “Sadly it’s true,” confirmed Mark Hollis’ former manager Keith Aspden. “Mark has died after a short illness from which he never recovered.”

Talk Talk’s bassist Paul Webb also paid tribute to his former band-mate on Facebook, writing: “I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis. Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him.

“I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas. He knew how to create a depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”


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