Music For Another World

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He was, in many ways, doing us a favour: our enjoyment of his records remains unfettered and unpolluted by anything so banal as analysis. But now, after a short illness, Mark Hollis has left us, extinguishing for eternity any last hope that he would share the secrets of its alchemy. The dream that he would one day again make air vibrate is gone with him too.

The Mirror Dimension - Lucid Dreaming Music - How to Travel to Another Dimenson

A feeling that we share: it's a shame. Hollis, who was born on January 4, , appreciated the power of mystery better than most, and in an era like ours this is especially valuable. Though he attributed his refusal to discuss his work at any stage after the release of his only solo album, 's Mark Hollis , as merely fulfilling his urge to be "a good dad", it's been interpreted in a variety of fashions, not least a gesture of defiance towards a music industry he held in contempt, and which had failed in recent years to understand the huge artistic leaps he'd undertaken. It was, however, indicative of his always uncompromising attitude towards what he created.

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The only thing I can do by talking about it is detract from it. I can't add anything. Can I go home now, then?

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  • Having secured a deal with EMI, the band were groomed for success in the mould of labelmates Duran Duran, with whom they toured as an opening act as the year came to an end. It soon became clear, however, that Talk Talk were cut from an entirely different cloth. Before they'd even released their debut single, 'Mirror Man', Hollis had described their work to NME as "closer to a jazz quartet than a rock band".

    From Another World

    The band's mournful synth-pop gave little indication of what was to come: Hollis later claimed that their records only sounded this way because they couldn't afford real instruments, nor the musicians needed to play them. Fortunately, it was only a matter of time until that would change.

    It was success beyond the UK's borders which provided the band with the necessary bigger budgets to make the music of which Hollis dreamed. With Brenner now gone, and producer Tim Friese-Green joining their ranks as an unofficial fourth member, 's The Colour Of Spring was the first indication of his greater ambitions. In 'Life's What You Make It' and 'Living In Another World', the band delivered massive, enduring hits, though in retrospect the album is most fascinating for the realms it foreshadowed.

    The free-floating 'April 5th', on which Hollis' voice had never sounded more aching, and the cryptic, skeletal 'Chameleon Day', at first seemed baffling to anyone reared on the New Romantic diet, but they represented Hollis' first deep dive into the very worlds for which he'd earlier professed admiration: "From the place that I stand," that distinctive voice sang on 'Give it Up', the words seemingly condensing the journey he'd now undertaken, "to the land that is openly free. It's Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock , however — recorded following Hollis' unanticipated announcement in September that the band would never perform live again — upon which the legend of Mark Hollis is founded.

    Loathe as I am to employ superlatives, these two records remain, to me, among the finest ever recorded. Painstakingly pieced together from extended improvisations by multiple guest musicians in darkened studios where breaks were only permitted to eat or sleep, they both took the best part of an immersive year to make, their methodology epitomised in comments Hollis had made to NME back in about A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess.

    It's the same with songwriting. It's worth it for the stuff you're left with at the end.


    This was exactly the process upon which the band embarked, as engineer Phill Brown confirmed to me in in a conversation about the Spirit Of Eden sessions. Few have the discipline to get rid of 'stuff'". What was left was so indescribable that, at first, it left most of the band's audience perplexed, even distraught.

    It was, Q claimed, "the kind of record that encourages marketing men to commit suicide. It's horrible. Quantick was right about one thing: we do indeed now look over our shoulders remarking on Laughing Stock 's moody brilliance. They are indefinable voyages into musical landscapes that were as yet uncharted and unfamiliar, and which artists have repeatedly sought, usually in vain, to explore ever since.

    Another World: SURVIVAL by Paul Nicholas

    They dispense with traditional structures, techniques and even instruments, their organic textures defined by Hollis' belief that "the first time something is played it is at its finest, and the minute you try to recreate that it becomes an imitation of something that was originally better. Feeling always has been, and always will be, above technique. Now that Hollis has gone, it's feelings that remain.

    In refusing to speak for so long about what he achieved, that's exactly what he would have wanted. Late last year, I interviewed his former colleague Paul Webb, aka Rustin Man, about Hollis' vow of silence, and suggested that this arose because "it was hard to articulate what it was you were doing, because so much of it was a process of elimination.

    You knew what you didn't want better than what you did want. I can't speak for him, but for me it's been a thing that the less you talk about it, the bigger it is. In , when my father died, I was living on a small island off the coast of Northern Norway, its location such that it would take me 24 hours, door to door, to join my mother and sister in England.

    After taking two boats to reach the mainland, I found myself alone on an unheated bus late at night travelling south to Trondheim, and the darkness, solitude and silence were at last too much for me to bear. Eventually, that level brought a lot to the game.

    This version was ported by Daniel Morais. The game was more difficult on consoles than on microcomputer because Interplay really wanted the players to have value for money a console game is expensive , which implied that the game must have a long lifespan as well. That's why a guard has been added in the prison at the bottom of the lift, and lethal steam jets appeared in the maze-like ventilation system, all of this with a very limited time.

    Interplay had imposed on me new songs for all the game levels. I had yielded for the extra songs, but I wanted to keep the music of the introduction, as it perfecly matched the atmosphere and the animation timing. This became a real struggle, and at the time, we would only communicate by fax, and my letters became firmer each day.

    Interplay was in a strong position with the development of the game and did not want to back down. So I took drastic measures. I thought of creating an endless fax. A huge fax of a meter long in which I wrote in big letters "keep the original intro music". I would insert it in the fax, enter the number, and when the transmission started, I would tape both ends of the letter together, which would create a circle that went on and on until there was no paper left in the offices of Interplay, at the other end. Even so, all this paper coming out of their machine had little impact.

    It was Anne-Marie Joassim, Delphine Software's lawyer, who sorted out the situation by applying pressure. She spoke in my favour and demanded once and for all that the original music was kept.

    From Another World

    The situation became delicate again when Nintendo of America decided that morally they couldn't release the game due to nudity and presence of blood. Here, there was no other choice but accepting these editorial demands. I was then forced to withdraw everything that was red and that could eventually look like blood. The smallest reddish bitmap was suppressed or replaced by another colour.

    Another World (The Chemical Brothers song)

    Not only the hero's blood, but also any secretion from the bestiary of Another World. The pinkish slobber of the creatures became green during the process. This scene was too erotic, apparantly. The crack of the naked aliens' bottoms was reduced by 3 pixels Mac version Identical to the PC version, apart from the fact that it supports a higher resolution.

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    It's not an aesthetic achievement because, as mentioned above, backgrounds are overworked compared to the animations that are made of polygons and thus appear to be flat. Interplay insisted in making the sequel in order to make the most of the CD-ROM medium's capabilities. After discussion, I agreed.

    Rather than making a chronological development related to the first story, I decided that redesigning the game from the alien point of view was excellent, and would make the player discover Another World with other eyes. I could already picture scenes where Lester would be in the background fighting guards, while the player would control the alien in the foreground and then join our first hero, help him, etc The concept was good but, alas, neither the animations nor the game, entirely developed by Interplay, were up to the job. It was a flop.

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