Achingly gorgeous and hauntingly stark, Mark Hollis' self-titled debut picks up where he left off with Talk Talk's Laughing Stock seven years earlier, re-emerging at the nexus point where jazz, ambient, and folk music collide. It's quite possibly the most quiet and intimate record ever made, each song cut to the bone for maximum emotional impact and every note carrying enormous meaning. Hollis paints his music in fine, exquisite strokes, with an uncanny mastery of atmosphere that's frequently devastating. And if anything, his singularly resonant voice has grown even more plaintive with the passage of time, which – combined with the understated artistry and minimalist beauty of tracks like "The Colour of Spring" and "Watershed" – makes Mark Hollis a truly unique and indelible listening experience. His obvious understanding of the power of silence aside, one prays he doesn't again wait for the seven-year itch to strike before returning.
An early-'80s trio, Fredi Grace & Rhinestone never relinquished material of any great consequence, but their members showed considerable musicianship on this debut effort. Grace is particularly engaging on the single "Help (Save This Frantic Heart of Mine)" and the driving "Go, Get on Your Mark," while Keith "Keecho" Rawls plays Fender Rhodes, piano, and synthesizer bass. Ros Sweeper adds fine harmonies throughout the set. Notably, Peabo Bryson wrote, produced, and drummed on the quiet storm entry "Tell Me What's on Your Mind." It's an emotive number more soulful than many of Bryson's own commercially successful recordings.
Nominated for both a Grammy and an Academy Award, the soundtrack combines lush, reflective incidental music with mid-20th-century big-band compositions, and Isham skillfully integrates these themes as they relate to the contrasting lifestyles of the film’s central characters.