No-Man — Speak
(Materiali Sonori MASO CD 90111, 1989/1999, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2000-05-01No-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.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more