Manipulant

Press

Folks! Manipulant is back! Today, February 14, 2019, sees the release of a retrospective of the past couple of years of Manipulant’s work, along with one new song, too!

I’ve been privileged to have a copy of this release here in the KMA Eastern offices for a wee while in advance of the release, and I must say it is amazing to have so much great music in one place. I wondered how the tracks would sound, taken out of context of the original releases, but I needed haven’t worried as it all flows beautifully. Top to bottom this collection showcases the energy and strong, highly creative work of Manipulant in full stride. 

As an added bonus, there’s one new track here,  Melted Roses, Invisible, which happily pops along on a buzzy bassline over busy drums and occasional guitar stabs and a Tom Waits-ish vocal bit. When he says “…anything for you” over and over again, it has weight!

Here’s the track list:

01 SandS
02 Run (f. Stoneygate)
03 Shiveresque
04 Doctor, I Need Your Expertise (f. Dr. Terenzi)
05 Electric Cigarette (Secondhand Mix)
06 Melted Roses, Invisible
07 Methodical
08 The Organist
09 What Good Are The Stars (Alternate Vocal Mix) (f. Jennifer Doll)
10 N/A/B/C/F
11 A Fresh Perspective

And dont forget the Three Mile Island remixed version Of Melted Roses, Invisible released seperately on February 1!

Currently, my favourite way to jam through these tracks is through the good headphones, so I don’t miss any of the subtleties in the music. But I can attest that it also plays GREAT in the car!

For those of you looking to dip your toes into the worlds of Manipulant, this collection is a great taster for you, though I do know you’re going to want to get the rest of his releases after you hear all this!

This is an interview with David Speakman, also known professionally as Manipulant based on Lancaster (a little city in Pennsylvania, USA).

W.: Tell us a bit about yourself.

David Speakman: Hello, I’m David Speakman by day and Manipulant when time allows. I hail from a lovely little city in Pennsylvania, USA called Lancaster.  Lancaster has more record stores per capita than any place in the world (I’m pretty sure I just made that up, but there are loads of record stores here) I am an Aquarian (2/11) My favorite candy bar is Hershey’s with almonds and my favorite ice cream is Häagen-Dazs Swiss Almond Vanilla (So I guess I like almonds, I never put that together).

W.: What makes you start your music career?

Speakman: I have loved music as long as I can remember. Whenever I got a couple dollars I was off to the record store, so I guess it was inevitable that I would someday make my own. I think I started out banging on coffee cans or whatever else I could find that made an interesting sound and evolved into banging on coffee cans or whatever I can find that makes an interesting sound.

W.: Are there singers/bands that influenced your music career, and how have they influenced you (in any way)?

Speakman:I think all music influences what I do/ or don’t do in some way. But that is the easy way out. I will give you three albums that most influence what I try to do: OMD – Dazzle Ships. This was the first album I ever heard that made me realize I could incorporate any sound or any thing I wanted into a song and that was very appealing to me.  The Fall – In: Palace Of Swords Reversed.  This was the craziest thing I had ever heard at the time. A madman (?) ranting seemingly about whatever popped into in head over a repetitive groove. Genius. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones.  This album taught me two things-it was ok to write songs about the misfits in this world and that those coffee cans I used to beat on could actually work in a song. Sixteen shells from a thirty-ought six is still one of my favorite grooves. I hop around uncontrollably whenever I hear it.

W.: An non-related music question: let’s talk about your name. You have an interesting name of Manipulant. Could you tell us the story behind your name? 

Speakman: Manipulant just fit what I was doing on a couple levels. I have a job in the wine business and the term Récoltant-Manipulant (which translates roughly to estate champagne) always seemed cool to me. That and the fact that I do a fair amount of sound manipulation in my music made it a natural fit. Unfortunately, Manipulant translates differently across languages and is probably viewed negatively in some.  But, I like the name and it’s too late to change it now because the t-shirts have already been made.

W.: You have a new album released on valentines day. Could you give us a preview of the album, and why do you want to release it on 2/14?

Speakman: I’d love to. It is being released on 2/14 because that was the date chosen by Cap’n Bob at Submarine Broadcasting Company. I agreed because I’m an appeaser – and it falls near my birthday so that was pretty cool.

The album, Sundries & Souvenir is a collection of songs dating back to 2016 when Manipulant first became a thing and carries through 2018. I did record one new song called Melted Roses, Invisible just for the occasion.

It is being released in every format known to man – and some unknown. Vinyl, cassette, CD, Digital and something that cave people called 8-track.

W.: Tell us some of your favorite song from your music career and why.

Speakman: Electric Cigarette is a song I wrote in 2015 that was released on an album called Méthode de Narration.  It also appears on Sundries & Souvenir.  I think it is important to me because it was the beginning of what Manipulant is now.

W.: Could you tell us about what the song “electric cigarette” is about and why it’s the beginning of what you are now?

Speakman: E-cig was born from a chance interaction on a city street. A noticeably distressed (and probably high) man approached me offering an electronic cigarette. Of course, I attempted to blow him off by hurrying past, but as I walked by him he said something like-Take it, Jesus gave it to me and I don’t want it.  I didn’t think anything else about, but I awoke in the middle of the night and penned about a half-dozen versus about the encounter on the back of an envelope.

That morning, I immediately began working on the song-though I only ended up using a couple of the lines I had written on the envelope.

The reason I say it was the beginning of what Manipulant now is, is because it was written completely on a DAW (digital audio workstation) rather than a traditional band type of setting where different members contributed parts to it. Though I later added some live guitar and percussion to it, it put the idea into my head that I could compose and record myself on a computer. Some of what I now record is done 100% on my DAW with an occasional helper from live instruments.

W.: You have collaborated with Stoneygate (which I have interviewed before) for the single “Run.” Tell us about you collaboration experience.

Speakman: I approached Stoneygate with a song I was working on that really felt like it needed a female vocal.  She was an absolute joy to work with and I think she appreciated working outside of her comfort zone on it with me.  I do have to say, it is a much better song with her on it. Don’t be surprised if we pair up again in the future. I recommend working with other artists on occasion. It gives new perspective to your own work and you might even learn something.

Note: You can read my past interview with Stoneygate here: https://wworldcommentary.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/interview-thursday-jacky-stoneygate/

W.: What are your goals for the future?

Speakman: I hope to someday write the perfect pop song… and then completely ruin it.

W.: Why do you want to write a pop song, and then ruin it, given that the vast majority of the music market today relies on pop music?

Speakman: That answer was a bit tongue-in-cheek, though I don’t like the way popular music is force fed to the public. Given the choice, most people will still take the “Blue Pill” and remain in the fabricated reality of modern pop music, but some will choose red. As far as me ruining the perfect pop song, many a song have started out in my head as something that could easily fall into the formulaic main stream. It is once I begin the recording process and Maniputize it with my clangs and echoes and hums that it becomes something less of a pop song.

W.: Are there any final thoughts you want share with our readers? 

Speakman: Thank you for bringing obscure and borderline listenable stuff like mine to the masses. And to those reading this, yes, you are more cool than anybody else for seeking out new obscure and borderline listenable stuff like mine.

Also, I asked David if he could give us a preview of his new album released on valentines day. Here is the preview from his new album “Sundries & Souvenir”, as well as the preorder link: https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/album/sundries-souvenir

We thank Manipulant (David Speakman) for responding to these questions and to accept this interview with us. Check out his new album (released on 2/14/2019) when it releases then. You can follow him on twitter: @ManipulantMusic

His website is here: http://manipulantmusic.com/

MANIPULANT PUTS THE ‘RETRO’ IN RETROSPECTIVE

 

Newbury, UK:

Lancaster, Pennsylvania artist Manipulant is set to issue the retrospective Sundries & Souvenir,

featuring songs from 2016-18 plus the newly recorded track Melted Roses, Invisible on UK label

Submarine Broadcasting Company. The Valentine’s Day release (14/02/2019) will be available in 8-track

tape, vinyl record, cassette tape, compact disc and digital formats.  It is believed that Sundries &

Souvenir is the first in history to be distributed as a new release in each of these formats simultaneously.

 

Hypnotic rhythms drive the hybrid electro/industrial post-punk sound influenced by Brian Eno, Tom

 Waits and The Fall. Featured guest artists include renowned astrophysicist, Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, on

“Doctor, I Need Your Expertise”, Jenn Doll on “What Good Are the Stars?”, and Stoneygate on “Run”.

 

Look for Sundries & Souvenir on https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/ 

To find out more about Manipulant visit http://www.manipulantmusic.com/ or email

eclectro@ManipulantMusic.com

 

 

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“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 www.ManipulantMusic.com or to learn more about Dr. Terenzi visit www.fiorella.com.

" ...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.”