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.
Even before their debut album, Happiness, became one of the fastest-selling albums in the U.K. in 2010, Manchester duo Hurts already had a rabid online fan base, stoked by several arch, expertly art-directed videos that the group self-produced, which captured the eye while showcasing the band's mix of '80s synth pop melodicism, Krautrock angularity, and '90s Hi-NRG balladry. The videos expertly juxtaposed a Helmut Newton-esque black-and-white aesthetic with the group's musical love of dance-club dramatics, á la Depeche Mode, Erasure, and Pet Shop Boys, eventually attracting the attention of Euro-pop diva Kylie Minogue, who ended up singing on the track "Devotion."
Between his birth in New York on 22 April 1916 and his death in Berlin on 12 March 1999, Yehudi Menuhin, the son of humble Russian immigrants, grew from a brilliant child prodigy violinist, who made his public concert début in San Francisco in 1924, aged just 7, into not just one of the 20th century s finest and most celebrated artists (as a conductor as well as a soloist), but also a peace campaigner, civil rights activist, spiritual guru and revered senior statesman of the musical world, who ended his days as the Right Honourable the Lord Menuhin of Stoke d Abernon, with a seat in the House of Lords, yet also found time to establish two music schools, a violin competition and an international scheme for taking music out of the concert hall and into the wider community.