“What Good Are the Stars?” is mysterious and sublime, with a glittery soundscape of swirling synths that seem to float above the subtle bassline. A gentle hypnotic drumbeat  keeps the languid pace, and a delicate but haunting repeating piano riff adds a sense of unease to the mesmerizing track. Manipulant’s smooth, echoed vocals have an otherworldly feel as he sings the lyrics that question his inability to be with a loved one:

What good are the stars?
What good is the sky?
What good is the moon?
What use are these eyes if they can’t see you?

What good are the clouds?
What good is the rain?
If it’s not allowed to wash away pain
What good are the stars?
When they don’t know where you are?

What good are the clouds?
What good is the rain?
If it’s not allowed to wash away pain
What good are the stars?

Next up is the “Beltism Burnt Umber Mix,” which opens with an echoed and grainy background beat overlying the same hypnotic drumbeat and piano riff as in the main track. The synths are not as pronounced on this mix, though they’re a bit more psychedelic, and the bass is somewhat deeper. Nevertheless, this remix is still haunting and mesmerizing.

Each track seamlessly transitions into the next, and the third one is “Alternative Vocal Mix featuring Jennifer Doll.” It’s essentially the synth-heavy main track with added vocals by guest artist Jennifer Doll. Her soft, ethereal vocals take a starring role, harmonizing beautifully with Manipulant’s faintly audible background vocals. The final track is “Anisotropic Mix,” a trippier, bass-heavy remix with eerie-sounding synths that impart an almost sci-fi vibe. All four tracks are pretty terrific.

"...A sumptuous piece of glittering pop, wide open to the sky and full of introspection."

Heads up, folks, Manipulant is back with new music, dropping July 4, 2018! 

I am honoured to receive the tracks of this single in advance of release, and I am here today to tell you about it. All the details you need for this release will be below the following thoughts…

There are four tracks here, all titled What Good Are The Stars, though one features a special guest, and two are remixes. Check it out…

01 What Good Are The Stars swings along on a sweet urban groove, open and breezy and big-sounding. The electronics wash in and out as he posits his questions, and the piano catches your ear in a haunting way. This is a feel good track, I love the bass line. It’s thought-provoking and beautiful at the same time.

02 What Good Are The Stars (with Beltism)(Beltism Burnt Umber Mix) brings the drums to the fore with cool snare rumbles to boot, and brings back the brilliant piano stabs of the original track. The feel here is perfectly matched to the contemplative nature of the tune.

03 What Good Are The Stars (featuring Jennifer Doll) is next. Here we have the original track with Doll’s harmony vocals added to the mix. Damn, that extra layer makes a strong track even better! Manipulant’s deeper vocals contrast nicely with Doll’s, and I love the inflections she adds. This one really, really draws the ear! 

04 The Anisotropic Mix turns the bass fuzzy, adds different wonky electronics, a filtered-sounding cowbell-like percussion for texture (while removing the piano parts), and adds broad echoes to the vocals. It’s the soundtrack of a dream sequence in an avant-garde film. Awesome!

In Sum:

You know, a lot of remixes seem superfluous to me, but these are four very different looks at the same track, a creative and artistic feat that shows intent and willingness to boldly play with the recipe. I highly recommend all four! This is truly superb work.

Newbury, 06/07/18-Lancaster, PA based artist Manipulant (David Speakman) releases the single “What Good are the Stars?” - catalog number SBCE008 on Submarine Broadcasting Company. The single features four versions, including a guest vocal from Jennifer Doll, two remixes. The original utilizes swirling keys over a melodic bass and percussion that surround melancholy vocals.

Love his tracks, very talented, melodic, chilled out, demonstrates real confidence in his own style, experimental, beautifully arranged.Love his tracks, very talented, melodic, chilled out, demonstrates real confidence in his own style, experimental, beautifully arranged.

Newbury, 26/03/18-Lancaster, PA based artist Manipulant (David Speakman) reveals his third release, ‘perspective’ on UK label Submarine Broadcasting Company (catalog #SBCE005).  perspective, a five song EP, tails the self-released ‘Eclectro’ (2017) which placed on several year-end ‘Best Of’ lists and helped him collect a nomination on the Wigwam Online Radio Awards in the ‘Best Indie/Alternative Act’ category. “This record is so much more personal than my past efforts” said Manipulant. “Before, the songs were just stories. These are pieces of me, reflective of my current state. The music, though electronic, avoids sterility. It’s very imperfect, just as we are.” Manipulant cites The Fall, Tom Waits, The Legendary Pink Dots, & Brian Eno as stimuli.

"Folks, this is a fully-realized, mature, wonderful piece of art. Each track transports you into its world, and holds you there. I thought of each track as a portal into unique worlds, where the sound prevails and your brain adjusts, accepts and then adores each stop along the way. I loved the overall sound, very roomy and open and expressive, enveloping in all the right ways."

"We've been very impressed with Manipulant's material over this last year and recognize the unquestionable quality that it clearly exhibits. Combining a thoughtful, articulate nature with an air of dark brooding cynicism, he has the makings of a modern day Tom Waits."
Mike Green, WIGWAM Online Radio. 

"Je suis a big fan of manipulant with his echoey vocals, trippy beats and backwards writing. Proper good!"

"Eclectro is one of the most unusual and sonically amazing albums I’ve heard in a long while. At times disturbing, and other times gorgeous, it’s a brilliant, meticulously crafted album..."

Dr. Terenzi Vocal-bombs her own tribute song

Lancaster, Pa - Acoustic astronomy pioneer Dr. Fiorella Terenzi joins Lancaster, PA electronic artist Manipulant  (David Speakman) on his new album release “Eclectro” (6.20.17).  The song, titled “Doctor, I Need Your Expertise” combines the voice of Dr. Terenzi, a renowned astrophysicist,  describing the sounds of space against swirling keyboards and a driving beat to create a hypnotic journey through the solar system.

Dr. Terenzi, composer of “Music from the Galaxies” (Island Records) is also an accomplished professor and author.  After hearing a demo sent to her by Speakman, the Milanese stargazer gushed “The way you treated the galaxy is very good.  Excellent!” and Dr. Terenzi jumped into the collaboration process.

The self -released “Eclectro”, the second album from Manipulant, follows the experimental  Méthode de Narration (2016) with its trance-inducing rhythms, social commentary, dark undercurrents. .. and now throws an astrophysicist into the mix.  “Eclectro” will be available on various digital outlets and by compact disc on the Manipulant website.  For additional information and inquiries related to Eclectro please visit or to learn more about Dr. Terenzi visit

" ...I know brilliance when I hear it, and the dark corners and hypnotic lulling of this effort are perfectly done. There’s an energy throughout, a real, thoughtful control, and fearless execution at every turn. Despite things being bleak sometimes, there’s hope, and in this way it is perfect for our times. A truly impressive, packed 27 minutes of music, and an album to which I will return because it will reveal more and more with each subsequent listen."

"Nearly 100% of the lyrics seem to be stream-of-consciousness musings over variously electronic and analog instrumentation. ...well-produced and dreamlike. The Organist” is a beautiful track anchored by electric drums, sparse singing and (duh) an organ. (Pocket Trumpet) ...It’s strange, for sure, but in a way that invokes Tom Waits’ “What’s He Building In There?" 

“The music of MANIPULANT has a dream-like, otherworldly quality - mixing the warmth and vibrancy of primal rhythms with the cold conciseness of electronic sounds.”