“Dude it’s all about volume, seriously man listen to how loud that shit is.”
Wise words indeed as the bottle of Jameson’s reached the sorry end and we had to switch to Carlsberg lager in plastic 2 liter bottles, always the sad end to the night, this time however we were on the fourth listening to Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock by Talk Talk.
The lights were off an all we had was the rising lights of the graphic equalizer on the stereo, we were playing it so quietly that you had to strain to hear but I swear it was the loudest thing I had ever heard. Repetitive, relentless, gripping and yes so pretentious and honest. Prior to these albums I had written off Talk Talk as pop pap, a New Romantic dance band and then Mark Hollis hits you with this stuff that is so heavy, so dense it never sounds the same twice and then he just about disappears into the aether.
“Man the harmonica, listen to it wail.”
And here I am at the tail end of the year, figuring it out and playing those two albums again. I can almost smell that room with the incense, spilled whiskey and beer and cigarettes as we annoyed the neighbors and fought our way through those two albums. For almost two weeks we sat enraptured by the noise, the sheer physicality of those two fragile albums , we angered our room mates who prayed for the return of the Grateful Dead or Pink Floyd, hoped for something with a discernible melody and a hook and a less than relentless beat, something less physically demanding to listen to. I looked up and there he was staring out the window as the sun rose over Sefton Park and we realized that the only answer may be a walk and feed the ducks and maybe a stroll through the palm house, then a greasy breakfast and try get your head on straight.
The next night we played Miles and Coltrane and smiled. The madness had moved on maybe.
It has been something like 20 years since I owned either of these albums in any format but there they were in the record store this afternoon. Sitting there on the rack those sleeves so mysterious and familiar. I remembered that physical experience of listening to them and new they were coming home with me. Immediately they caused consternation in the household, it’s unfamiliar, strange and yet engaging, there were grimaces and then I realized they had to be played late and quietly to truly understand the volume.
Maybe next week I can take a stroll through the park and get my head on straight who knows.