Talk Talk’s final two albums, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, respectively, are two of my favorite records, but they were Talk Talk’s least commercially successful because the band utterly ignored its synth-pop, new wave roots (and its audience) to embark an an experimental tangent that has influenced a generation of songwriters. Ex-Depeche Mode keyboardist Alan Wilder has compiled a tribute album to a band he says “experienced a career in reverse.” He continues, “There was a direct correlation between the quality increase and the popularity decrease.” Talk Talk stormed onto the charts with a string of pop hits in the early 1980’s, replete with layers of synths and grandiose, unforgettable choruses. It was its third album, 1986’s The Colour of Spring, where band leader Mark Hollis began to steer the band away from such overtly catchy pop music to create a much more introverted scape of sounds and structures. The band’s final two materstrokes, the aforementioned Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, are so enigmatic by virtue not only of the music therein but also by their secretive recording processes and the fact that no one related to any of those recording sessions will discuss them. It’s a bizarre story. After Talk Talk dissolved, Hollis has only released one self-titled solo album in 1998, which was just as obtuse and beautiful as his final Talk Talk recordings. The Guardian has a much more in depth look at the band’s career and the subsequent evolution of the tribute out now on Fierce Panda. The tribute features artists ranging from Alan Wilder (Recoil, Depeche Mode) to members of Bon Iver, White Lies, members of Arcade Fire, Guillemots, Lights, Turin Brakes, and many others. The official tribute site has more details. The deluxe edition is sold out.