Exposé Online banner

No-Man — Speak
(Materiali Sonori MASO CD 90111, 1989/1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01

Speak Cover artNo-Man began back in 1987 as a collaboration between Steve Wilson (pre-Porcupine Tree) and vocalist Tim Bowness. Over the years since then, the band has released a number of albums and EPs, mostly in what might be called an intelligent dance-pop vein, rather like an updated version of Japan or less world-beat Cocteau Twins. The Japan comparison is especially apt since Bowness’s voice sounds quite a bit like David Sylvian’s. In addition to their pop side, the band has always had another face, a lush, romantic, near-ambient sound, first documented on a cassette-only release in 1993 called Speak: 1988-89. Now some of that material is seeing its first appearance on CD, but apparently the band were not content to leave the past alone: two songs from the original have been dropped, and one (a cover of Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” from the same time period) added. In addition, all of the vocals have been rerecorded, and two of the songs are completely new performances of songs from the original tape. In any case, it makes for a very interesting listen, and there’s no reason the history of it should be more than a tiny note in the credits. The music is achingly beautiful, with occasional bits of edginess, and many inventive arrangements. I’m particularly glad to hear the contributions of former No-Man violinist Ben Coleman (though he’s only on three tracks) — his flashy playing provides a nice contrast to the spacious atmosphere and generally slow tempos. This is great music for moods of quiet alertness, but not recommended for those allergic to reverb.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 19, 1999 releases, 1989 recordings

Related artist(s): No-Man, Steven Wilson / I.E.M., Tim Bowness

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cartoon - Sortie – The end of the 70s and first years of the 80s were a defining time in the history of progressive rock. The dinosaurs that had dominated throughout the first half of the 70s were rapidly becoming a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues