Sparklehorse to end the week. Recorded in Paris for Black Sessions at Radio France International on September 25, 2006. Sparklehorse was Mark Linkous, a multi-instrumentalist whose work has been described as “taking the ugly and making it beautiful” got off to a potentially tragic start. After his first album was released in 1995 and became a cult-classic as well as a hit on the college radio circuit, Linkous went on tour, opening for Radiohead in 1996. It was while the group was in London that Linkous managed to overdose on a mixture of Valium, Alcohol in Heroin, leaving him almost dead, and paralyzing him after he nodded out, his legs pinned underneath him for some 14 hours before he was discovered. The near-fatal incident took Linkous out of circulation, but it proved to be an inspiration for his second album, Good Morning Spider from 1998, in which he dedicated the track St. Mary to the nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in London where he slowly recovered over a period of six months.
Sparklehorse went on to gain a considerable cult following over the next ten years, releasing some four albums, fifteen singles, assorted compilation albums and eps. However, the cult following didn’t translate into commercial success, at least in the States. In the UK he landed on the charts several times, as well as doing several sessions at The BBC.
Sadly, Linkous committed suicide on March 6, 2010. His final album, Dark Night Of The Soul, which he collaborated on with Danger Mouse, was issued on July 12, 2010 by Parlophone in the UK and Capitol in the U.S.
Aside from a dedicated cult following, Linkous and Sparklehorse, were critically acclaimed – probably more so in the UK and the Continent than on his home turf. This concert appearance, on the day of the release of Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, which would be his fourth and final album.
A spellbinding talent of considerable strengths – if you aren’t familiar with the music of Mark Linkous or Sparklehorse, this is a good place to start. The crowd is pumped and the music is haunting.