Thursday, June 2, 2011

Talk Talk Series, #9: Talk Talk- Asides and Besides (1998) MP3 & FLAC

"How can I accept I've given everything that I had and still you left."

Talk Talk's (specifically Mark Hollis') struggles with EMI both before and after the band left to sign with Polydor, offers a unique and often candid glimpse into the dysfunction that can result from the age-old conflict between artistic integrity and commercial interests. Talk Talk's recording contract with EMI expired after the band released the artistically brilliant though drastically less mainstream Spirit of Eden, and though many at the time referred to the album as "career suicide" given its uncompromising, noncommercial  nature (e.g. it all but eschews traditional song structure), EMI reportedly still had plans for Talk Talk, but their foiled attempts at intervening in the recording of the album and their insistence on traditional forms of promotion (singles, videos, etc.) ultimately put an end to the often stormy relationship between band and label. Despite losing the band (whom they never really new what to do with anyway), EMI set about repackaging and re-issuing Talk Talk's older material, ostensibly to recoup their losses on Spirit of Eden. The first of these re-issues was Nautral History, a commercially successful "best of" compilation that was soon followed by the travesty known as History Revisited, a cynical attempt to cash in on Talk Talk's then-latest release, Laughing Stock, by throwing together a group of sub-par remixes of the band's best known songs. On the surface, the cleverly titled Asides and Besides appears to be just another one on EMI's commercially-calculated releases, as it appeared around the same time as Mark Hollis' eponymous solo album. Nevertheless, as such compilations go, Asides and Besides does a credible job of gathering all the loose ends of Talk Talk's EMI years into one place. Comprised of b-sides, demos, and extended 12" mixes ranging from The Party's Over  to Spirit of Eden, continuity (or even logical sequencing) is not the strong-suit of this collection; however, it contains more than its share of rarefied gems. For example, The Colour of Spring-era b-side "It's Getting Late in the Evening" is a gorgeous ballad, which just barely hangs on to a trace of song structure and "John Cope," another b-side, this time from the Spirit of Eden sessions, ranks with Talk Talk's best work. Yes, it was born out of crass commercial interests, but Asides and Besides collects the harder-to-find tracks of one of the most innovative bands of the eighties and nineties, which, if you think about it, makes it pretty damn essential.

Asides and Besides 

Disc I: Asides- The Longer Versions
 1. Talk Talk (Extended Version)  (4:34)
 2. Today (Extended Version)  (4:33)
 3. My Foolish Friend (Extended Version)  (5:30)
 4. It's My Life (Extended Version)  (6:19)
 5. Such a Shame (Extended Version)  (7:00)
 6. Such a Shame (Dub Mix)  (6:33)
 7. Dum Dum Girl (12" Mix)  (5:23)
 8. Without You (12" Mix)  (5:55)
 9. Life's What You Make It (Extended Mix)  (7:01)
10. Living in Another World (Extended Remix)  (8:58)
11. Pictures of Bernadette (Dance Mix)  (8:06)
12. Happiness Is Easy (12" Mix)  (7:02)

Disc II: Besides- The Extra Tracks
 1. Talk Talk (Demo Version)  (3:23)
 2. Mirror Man (Demo Version)  (3:30)
 3. Candy (Demo Version)  (4:24)
 4. Strike Up the Band  (2:45)
 5. ?  (4:08)
 6. My Foolish Friend  (3:19)
 7. Call in the Night Boy (Piano Version)  (3:49)
 8. Why Is It so Hard? (7" Version)  (4:04)
 9. Again a Game...Again  (4:11)
10. Without You  (3:26)
11. Dum Dum Girl (U.S. Mix)  (3:39)
12. It's Getting Late in the Evening  (5:45)
13. For What It's Worth  (5:21)
14. Pictures of Bernadette  (5:03)
15. Eden (Edit)  (4:21)
16. John Cope  (4:39)


  1. Thank you. I's good to have all these non-album tracks gathered in one place. Do you plan to post "Missing Pieces" (Laughing Stock sessions outtakes) too, voixautre?

  2. Michael, yes, both "Missing Pieces" and the "After the Flood" box

  3. Great! Thanks for reply.

  4. Michael, the last six posts of the series include 2 Talk Talk albums, the "Laughing Stock" session material, Hollis, AV1, and another .O.Rang post (not in this order of course)

  5. That's fantastic to hear. As I posted some time ago, my knowledge of Talk Talk was limited to six studio albums, Mark Hollis solo and "Out Of Season" all of which I have on CD. Thanks to your series of posts I'm able to gather all these "missing pieces". It was a great idea to start this series, voixautre. :)

  6. Michael, the series has been very enjoyable for me too. The band has such an interesting history and it has been great fun to tell the story

  7. I have Hollis (ST), would you like some help?

  8. carlos, thanks, I've got every possible angle covered on this one :)

  9. I've got another "Best of" which is called "The Collection" and "It's Getting Late in the Evening" is included, and it's a real beauty.


    I'm looking forward for the next posts.

  10. Lon, another Talk Talk post is just around the corner

  11. 'For what its worth' is a fantastic track.

    Wonderful to see so many having their eyes opened to the amazing world of Talk Talk.

    Great series voixautre - well done.

    Michael 2

  12. Michael, thank you. From here on out, the series will be one amazing album after another. Next one should be up within a day or so

  13. Thanks for all the Talk Talk related posts! There's something wrong with disc 1, because the download always stops after a while.

  14. The lossless disc 1, I mean. It's great to have more and more blogs sharing FLAC files.

  15. Anon., it downloads fine for me, so it's an ISP issue on your end. Smaller size downloads might work. Send me an email at:

    and when I get a chance, I'll re-up the folder in two parts for you and send you the links

  16. Different user: I have the same problem with the download of CD1, while I never have downloadproblems with MU. Most likely the file is too large (over 500Mb) which causes continuous decrease in downloadspeed until there is no speed left at all. Two smaller files will - most likely - solve this problem. CD2 is around 400Mb and downloads completely in minutes. Thank you :-)

  17. Anon. thank you for bringing this to my attention. You are right, the folder was just a little over 500mb. I've split it in two and re-posted. Hope this helps :)

  18. Excellent Voixautre! This works fine. Complete DL of both files in 3 minutes. Thanks for your effort and this active blog. It is a real pleasure to visit it.


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