Talk Talk: Laughing In Eden (A Re-Imagined Album)

I've written previously about my fascination with Talk Talk's supremely weird 1988 album Spirit of Eden. After a few years of relatively straightforward (if unusually sophisticated) synth-based new wave pop, bandleader Mark Hollis switched gears on their fourth record, a haunting, experimental song cycle that's relatively quiet and hook-free, with intermittent bursts of abrasive energy--a blend of the band's Euro-synth roots with free jazz, early 70s King Crimson-like prog, and the mid-period work of arty folk singer Tim Buckley.

It's a challenging album, one I don't pull out often, and I wondered if I could play with it a little to give it a (marginally) more approachable vibe. So I distilled the album down a bit--cutting a song, making a few edits to shorten the tunes' running length, and cross-fading the tracks for flow. And then I stretched it out to an hour by working in some b-sides and a few tracks from the follow-up record, 1991's even quieter Laughing Stock, as well as Hollis' lone, self-titled solo album from 1998 (again shortening and cross-fading the songs).

It works pretty well (though, frustratingly, Laughing Stock never got the same remastering treatment as Spirit of Eden, so I had to play with the levels to get it to sync nicely).

I made a Spotify version of the re-imagined album if you want to check it out. Unfortunately, neither "John Cope" (a pretty key b-side) nor the alternative version of "After The Flood" stream, so those are omitted; and of course, these are all the full-length tracks rather than the shortened/cross-faded versions I made for my personal mix.

If you're a fan of this work and want to check out my actual mix, here's an mp3 download link; it will expire in a few days.