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Spirit of Eden

90 customer reviews

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Spirit Of Eden
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Audio CD, November 17, 1998
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 17, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B000005RS5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,972 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C Pace on July 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Mark Hollis, like David Sylvian of Japan, Bjork of The Sugarcubes and David Byrne of the Talking Heads, always seemed to be peeking over the horizon and onto the next thing even while his band was appearing on 'Top of the Pops' or pandering to record label execs.

SPIRIT OF EDEN is that moment when he finally realized that walking away from the safety of the pop charts was far more satisfying than making an album full of compromises.

SPIRIT OF EDEN isn't really a pop record or a new wave record or a jazz record. It defies classification and yet captures the heart of many pop, new wave and jazz fans alike. That is because this is a collection of timeless music made all the more memorable by Mark Hollis' frail and delicate musings on life, love and the heartbreak of heroin.

There aren't synthesizer hooks or an overkill of fretless bass as on previous Talk Talk efforts.. instead you'll find passionately played harmonica and carefully orchestrated horns and strings. This isn't your typical orchestral syrup poured over pop tunes masquerading as art. These are gorgeous freeform songs played with love and passion and held together by the thrill of hearing a band performing at its creative peak.

I don't want to explain what each of the six songs do for me personally because I think discovering that for oneself is the real gift of SPIRIT OF EDEN. My only wish in writing is that someone, somewhere, will read this and seek out a copy for themselves. It has been two months now and I haven't taken it out of my CD player.

I lied, I have another wish. That Mark Hollis will read enough of these and be forced to consider making more music. True, LAUGHING STOCK and MARK HOLLIS solo are wonderful too.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Reverend_Maynard on April 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The refernce to Eden in the title is very appropriate. There is something primal about the music on this Cd, a kind of stripped down beauty only hinting at the power it possesses, the power of nature itself. Talk Talk discarded almost everything that made them recognisable as a band, eschewing programmed synths and predictable song structures, in fact all the trappings of the lacklustre new romantic movement, and forged ahead into new, organic territory. The record is warm and extremely spacious, with a plethora of instruments sprinkled throughout the lengthy pieces, each player neglecting virtuoso performances and instead contributing to the overall dynamic, the massive group sound the album is geared towards. Its hardly surprising that this album took 14 months to record, that it was done in a deserted church or that, of course, the record label dropped them after being unable to find anything even approximating to a single on here. The six songs conatined here essentially defy any kind of description, as there is little ground for comparison with any music I've heard yet. They are pften long, often seem to meander into each other and rarely include the same type of instrumentation. Each piece is mellow and relaxing, with guitar used very sparingly, a strategy that is most effective on the second track, 'Eden'. Hollise's plaintive vocals retain some of the new wave incompetence and general incoherence, but he has an extremely powerful voice which fits the delicate, rambling nature of the dongs perfectly. Not that the songs are directionless though, as repeated lisrens reveal structure but very little that is predictable. The epic opener 'The Rainbow' starts out with some careful jamming and descends into a miniscule verse and a chorus that leaves one drained as it fades away.Read more ›
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stefanie Postula on April 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
My story with this CD begins with my friend and I going to a high-end audio store pretending that we were going to actually buy something. My friend had worked in a recording studio for a couple years, so he knew the ins and outs of what the guy was saying, but I just stood there drooling over all the pretty things I could neither understand nor afford. Near the end of the tour, the two of us and the saleman went into a room with a couple chairs, a recliner, a couple amazing looking turntables, and a set of speakers in the front of the room. Of all the CDs, my friend pulls this one out. After making sure the speakers were perfectly balanced (of course I couldn't tell the difference) we popped in the CD. I nearly fell off my seat. Then my friend offered the recliner to me, which was situated directly in front center of the speakers. I had NEVER heard anything so beautful in my life. It made me tear up right there in the store.

I love this whole CD, from that amazing harmonica to the percussion spectacle in the middle of "Desire". My friend was right in saying that he's ruined me for life. The production and emotion of this album can only be truly appreciated blasted on decent headphones or speakers. One part of me wants to buy a bazillion copies of this and air-drop it over the world so everyone can hear it, but another part of me likes having it as my own personal gem. An incredible piece of work.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Stenie M. Di Sospiro on May 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
For eight years, in the Eighties, I was a rock critic corresponding from Los Angeles for several European magazines. Before that, perhaps unusually, I had acquired, in Italy, a thorough and hands-on education in classical music. Jazz also featured prominently in my formative years. I must admit I missed "Spirit of Eden" when it was released, and found out about it only years later. Many of the reviews spoke of a music that made demands on the listener, and that would pay one back only after several listens. Nonsense: I expected something as abstruse as Anthony Braxton, I was delighted to chance upon a work which is great from the first note, and at the first listen. Yes, it will leave some listeners guessing, if they are not used to slightly more rarefied music. But even those who are, will continue to enjoy it after many listens. The thing that is most surprising is how quickly Mark Hollis learnt about "cultured" music and how tastefully he managed to incorporate his new finds, as if he had been jamming with Miles Davis or conducting music by Arvo Pärt. He had obviously metabolized all the great composers and musicians he had been avidly listening to, yet forging a very personal style. In conclusion, this is one of the best albums in the Eighties and indeed one of the best ever recorded. By not belonging to any specific genre, and yet by being so knowing and profoundly satisfying, it is a work for all listeners who want the most from music.
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