Long May He Sparkle: Mark Linkous 1962 – 2010

Last night was one of extreme emotion… as I walked in to see 90’s slacker gods, Pavement at The Tivoli, I read that Mark Linkous aka Sparklehorse had taken his life on March 6. This sent me into a spin and my mind flashed-back to the summer of 1995/6, and the two albums that were burning holes in my heart; Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and the Sparklehorse debut, vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot.

Both these albums have never strayed too far from heart or mind during the last 15years, so to be seeing Pavement, with the sad news of Mark’s passing, seemed oddly comforting.

Mark Linkous was no stranger to death, having died briefly after an overdose in 1996. His music, was a surreal cocktail of the sad and beautiful; the man himself, embodied the DIY indie spirit writing and performing the songs as well as producing and engineering a great deal of the Sparklehorse catalogue. My first encounter with Sparklehorse came while browsing the shelves at Brisbane’s finest, Rockinghorse Records. The strange alt-country twang of Homecoming Queen was shimmering through the shop speakers and I took myself up to the counter to find out who was making that beautiful noise. And that was that…

And now this…

I recently read that the Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse collaboration (with filmmaker David Lynch), Dark Night of the Soul has been given the go ahead after a very public battle with EMI, who held up the original release. I hope that Mark has only bright nights ahead and that his music continues to open up the world of all who discover him. Today as I played vivadixe, while driving home from work, there was a pang of sadness, but as the album unfolded, it still managed to transfix and to put a lasting smile on my face.

Here are a couple of tracks for anyone who may not have made the discovery and for those who have, I am sure these sounds will remind you of the genius of Sparklehorse:

Sick of Goodbyes, Heart of Darkness & It’s a Wonderful Life

Long may he sparkle…

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