Post-rock pioneer Mark Hollis of Talk Talk dies
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Post-rock pioneer Mark Hollis of Talk Talk dies

Music industry figures paid tribute Monday to Mark Hollis, the "genius" frontman of the British new wave group Talk Talk, after a former bandmate announced that the singer had died aged 64.

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"I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis," bassist Paul Webb wrote on Facebook.


"Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in the band for him," Webb wrote, praising Hollis' "trailblazing musical ideas."


Representatives of Hollis did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and his cause of death remained unknown.


The group formed in London in 1981, rising to fame in the 1980s throughout Europe on the success of synth-pop hits including "Talk Talk," "It's My Life" and "Such a Shame."


But the band turned their sound in a new direction with their 1986 album "The Colour of Spring," taking a more improvisational approach with guitar, pianos and organs to pioneer the genre later known as "post-rock."


"He knew how to create a depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest," Webb wrote of Hollis.


Their work influenced acclaimed acts including Radiohead and Sigur Ros -- but the improv technique made touring difficult, and the group split in 1991 following tensions with their label.


Talk Talk experienced a mild resurgence stateside in 2003 after California rock band No Doubt covered "It's My Life."


Born January 4, 1955 in Tottenham, Hollis released a self-titled solo album in 1998 but then largely disappeared from the public eye.


"RIP Mark Hollis," wrote Anthony Costello, who identified himself on social media as Hollis' cousin-in-law. 


"Wonderful husband and father. Fascinating and principled man. Retired from the music business 20 years ago but an indefinable musical icon."


British post-punk band The The said on Twitter Hollis was "behind some of the finest albums of the 1980s/early 1990s."


And UK chart-toppers Doves tweeted: "Goodbye Mark Hollis,We owe you so much ,I cant overstate the influence on us three as musicians and us as a band." 


Canadian indie pop outfit Stars said Hollis was a "genius," adding: "nobody made music that sounded like his. please spend time listening to his work. this one hurts. badly."

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