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No-Man ((Speak)) album cover
2.95 | 53 ratings | 4 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Speak
2. Pink Moon
3. Iris Murdoch Cut Me Down
4. Curtain Dream
5. Heaven's Break
6. French Tree Terror Suspect
7. River Song
8. Riverrun
9. The Ballet Beast
10. Night Sky Sweet Earth
11. Life With Picasso

Bonus track on TF24:

12. Death and Dodgson's Dreamchild

Line-up / Musicians

- Tim Bowness / vocals, words, guitar (11)
- Steven Wilson / instruments, backing vocals (8, 10)

- Ben Coleman / violin (1, 6, 10)
- Richard Felix / cello (6, 9), harmonica (5)

Releases information

CD Materiali Sonori MASOCD 90111 (1999)
LP Tone Float Records TF24 (2006)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Angelo for the last updates
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NO-MAN ((Speak)) ratings distribution

(53 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NO-MAN ((Speak)) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars The songs here were recorded between 1988 and 1989, and this album came out (as Steven Wilson notes) "before NO-MAN even had a record deal or an audience" for that matter. At this time they were listening to a lot of Nick Drake and Donovon, in fact they cover both artists on this album.

As usual with NO-MAN we have a pastoral, atmospheric setting, with lots of space and room to breathe."Speak" is a short song that opens with a vocal melody before the violin of Ben Coleman comes in. Vocal melodies return. "Pink Moon" is the Nick Drake cover. This is a fragile and atmospheric track. "Iris Murdoch Cut Me Down" is dark and atmospheric to open. Percussion comes in. Very cool sounding. Vocals after 2 minutes. A child's voice comes in late. "Curtain Dream" features atmospheric guitar sounds as vocals come in. "Heaven's Break" opens with what sounds like moog as vocals come in. Guitar after a minute. "French Tree Terror Suspect" opens with synths and violin. It turns eerie and dark.

"River Song" is the Donovon cover. Great song. I really like this one. Acoustic guitar with vocals and bass. Synths come in. "Riverrun" becomes spacey once it kicks in. "The Ballet Beast" continues with the vocals and atmosphere. "Night Sky Sweet Earth" is my favourite track. It's dreamy with Steven Wilson singing background vocals. Great lyrics too. "Life With Picasso" has Tim playing guitar on it as well as the vocals of course.Very spacey and atmospheric. Piano later. "Death And Dodgson's Dreamchild" is mostly piano and vocals, although we get horns late. "The Hidden Art Of Man Ray" is the almost 12 minute closer. This one slowly plays out in a haunting and dark manner.

You pretty much know what your going to get with a NO-MAN record. Maybe essential for NO-MAN fans as this is where it all began but it's really hit and miss for me.

Review by russellk
2 stars Unadulterated melancholia.

The cover art canvasses the subject matter: the plans and efforts of humans gone awry, only the ruins remaining. Many of the songs in this early reissued collection are from before NO-MAN's first album, and reflect a surprising maturity. Further, they help us see that the techno-pop of 'Loveblows' was an affectation. I'm not overfond of these early tracks, preferring the richer production of their One Little Indian albums and the heavenly minimalism of 'Together We're Stranger', but we get neither here. Instead, the songs are mostly straightforward, similar in feel to the band's 'Radio Sessions' and 'Lost Songs' compilations. Some, such as the opener, and 'French Tree Terror Suspect', are violin-led soundscapes, while others are standard pop tunes. As one would expect, the quality of the songwriting is nowhere near as fine as that exhibited on their studio albums, but the sparse feel may appeal to those not fond of high production values.

The two 'keeper' tracks are the two longest: 'Night Sky Sweet Earth' and the bonus track on this reissued album, 'The Hidden Art of Man Ray'. Sombre and melancholy, there's not an uplifting moment to be had here. But there are a couple of worthwhile ones.

Review by The Crow
3 stars This compilation of early No-Man's tracks in not the best album they have released... But it has some great moments anyway!

Like the precious version of Nick Drake's Pink Moon, the fantastic Steve Wilson's guitar melodies on Heaven's Break, the melancholic quality of songs like River Song, Riverrun and The Ballet Beast... Or the very worthy track Night Sky Sweet Earth.

After the bunch of remasters, re-recordings and remixes this compilation has suffered through the years, Wilson and Bowness have managed to create an album wich sounds homogene, and very coherent. It can be heared like a independent band's studio album, and it works surprisingly well! The style of the album moves from the spacy electronic moments (Irish Murdoch Cut me Down, Heaven's Break...) to slow and ambiental songs (River Song, Curtain Dream...), mixed up with pure string-sounding psichedelia (Speak, French Tree Terror Suspect, Life With Picasso...), building a good and worthy album, wich has the trademark of this Steve Wilson's side project.

Best tracks: Curtain Dream (the typical No-Man sound, with only the Wilson's guitar and the whispering Bowness's voice...), River Song, Riverrun and The Ballet Beast (three similar songs: melancholic, slow and ambiental, with the protagonism of the guitars and Bowness's vocals...) and Night Sky Sweet Earth (good guitar armonics, and a catchy chorus... With some 70's influences, like the Wilson's vocal harmonies).

Conclusion: if you like No-Man, or you are a Steve Wilson's fan, I can sincerely recommend you this album... Because being not the best release in wich this man was involved, it has enough good moments to make you enjoy the listening. It was the first No-Man album I heard, and I was caught by the beauty of this fine remastered collection of early No-Man's songs. A collection wich is, in my humble opinion, better than On the Sunday of Life, an album with a similar concept, but less interesting and not so coherent.

My rating: ***

Latest members reviews

2 stars the story of this album goes way back from the year of its release... it was first recorded in cassette and so as you can unserstand, this stuff is really "primitive"... it was the time when mr Wilson was into psychedelic music more that nowadays, much like he was in his first PT works... ... (read more)

Report this review (#125067) | Posted by toolis | Thursday, June 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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