BILL NELSON Joy through Amplification (The Ultra-Fuzzy World of Priapus Stratocaster) (CD on Sonoluxe)
This release from 2012 features 67 minutes of powerhouse pop music.
A selection of pop songs that display NelsonÕs guitar virtuosity.
Dazzling guitarwork, from nimble-fingered riffs to bent strings to twisted chords to searing sustains. Nelson has an intimate relationship with his guitars and shows it with incredible tuneage that blisters the paint from the walls. Powerful riffs churn and unfurl licks of brilliant charisma. The man has an inventive skill at manipulating sound into palpable euphoria.
An assortment of electronics (mainly of the keyboard variety) lurks in the mix here, often occluded by the blazing guitars. But these sliding keyboards serve to embellish the songs with slippery riffs of a dreamy nature.
Percussion provides ample locomotion with direct rhythms of endearing complexity.
NelsonÕs crooning vocals elucidate a realm of fantasy worlds in which romance spills over into everyoneÕs life.
These compositions are uptempo and alluring. Each song delivers a dynamic punch laced with mesmerizing guitar mastery. The temperament is lively and cheerful, conveying an infectious optimism.
Lest one be mislead by implications inherent in the albumÕs title, Nelson plays more than just a Stratocaster here. The guitars he used on this release were: a Fender custom shop Stratocaster, a Gibson custom shop Les Paul "Black Beauty," a Campbell American Nelsonic Transitone, and an Eastwood Saturn 63 guitar.
BILL NELSON The Palace of Strange Voltages (CD on Sonoluxe)
This CD from 2012 features 75 minutes of dreamy guitar music.
The first is brief (at 3 minutes) and uncharacteristically ominous for Nelson, with a variety of incidental effects plaguing some guitar chaos, piano pattering, and erratic percussives.
The next track is a longer piece (at almost 17 minutes), whereat a pastoral flow emerges from a selection of twinkling keyboards. Slippery bassline, snickety rhythms, and snarling guitar establish a pleasant tune that coasts along with a whimsical temperament. Some exquisitely complex guitar riffs ensue, coaxing the music into a celestial passage briefly tempered by heavenly male chorales. After a piano interlude, the tune reasserts itself with some agile rhythm boxing accompanying a languid guitar riffs. The latter grows progressively more complicated, adding twang to the deeply resonant chords. The piece has a peaceful conclusion.
In track three (at 15 minutes) pensive keyboards usher the listener into an expose of sparkling tones, outer space effects, and sampled vocal snippets. Eventually, dreamy guitarwork emerges for an extended period, until spry rhythms slip into play, urging the tune into a peppier stretch. ThereÕs some tasty ricochet keys hidden in the mix, occluded by gritty electronics that sweep through the tune. Eventually, the guitar reasserts dominance for a relaxed conclusion.
Next, the piece is another short one (at 3 minutes) and explores a snappy dose of pop rock with guitars crashing into energetic percussion. Sultry effects swarm in the background.
Track five returns to the long format (at 15 minutes long) with somnambulant passages of endearing guitar seasoned by voice samples and sneaky squeaky background effects. Eventually, rhythms enter the flow, giving the tune some locomotion as sparkling keyboards join the dreamy guitar.
The sixth piece is another 3 minute piece in which glitchy effects which slide into rhythmic tempos are flavored by searing guitar.
The last song (at 16 minutes long) is typified by hordes of twinkling keys, shimmering texturals, and smooth percussives. Amid this lovely tapestry, glittering guitar provides an ethereal presence with meticulous chords of a molten nature. Gradually, the guitar adopts a more astral character with riffs that fill the heavens with their blazing definition. complexity continues to flourish as the instruments conspire to generate a lavish gestalt of stunning beauty. ThereÕs some dazzling Ebow for the finale.
For all the outstanding intricacy of these songs, the emphasis is on guitar pyrotechnics, with riffs that burn with fervor or smolder with tender restraint.
BILL NELSON The Dreamshire Chronicles (double CD on Sonoluxe)
This release from 2012 features 124 minutes of dreamy pop music.
A marvelous selection of dreamy pop tunes tinged with a romanticism guaranteed to appeal to rockers hard and soft.
NelsonÕs guitar virtuosity flourishes here, encouraged to contribute fluid flows and dynamic riffs. Nelson imbues the instrument with a variety of distinctive voices, from crystalline to gutsy to twangy to searing with enough fury to blister paint.
A bevy of keyboards and electronics are found here. The keys, slippery and lilting, twinkle amid the mix like molten streams cascading down a gentle mountainside. The electronics slip into play with inventive sounds applied with cunning skill. The presence of piano lends a stately edge to some passages.
Rhythms play a vital role here, providing snappy locomotion with a variety of percussive threads.
NelsonÕs dreamy vocals outline aspects of Dreamshire in these songs, describing a fantasy land full of astounding wonders.
These compositions shine with immediate allure. Their luster delves into a region between pop tunes and mesmerizing contemporary electronics, combining these genres to produce gems of dazzling charisma. The delicate interplay of astral guitar and slithering keyboards results in tuneage of a delightful nature.
BILL NELSON Return to Tomorrow (These Tapes Rewind, Volume 1) (CD on Discs of Ancient Odeon)
This release from 2012 features 76 minutes of rock-out music.
This is the first in a proposed series of releases which offer a selection of rare and previously unreleased material from the 1980s.
Fans of NelsonÕs music will delight over this offering of demos, rough sketches, unfinished songs, outlines of ideas for advertising commissions, library music, TV drama soundtracks, and various late-night experiments.
While thereÕs a split between gently ambient pieces and outright rocking tunes, the emphasis tends to be on the latter, resulting in an album of predominantly dynamic songs, representing both rock and pop modes.
As usual, the instrumentation is widely varied (from powerhouse percussion to twanging guitars to astral Ebow strains to dreamy crooning to eccentric horns and orchestral swishes) and each thread is expertly performed.
Despite his admission (in the liner notes) that many of these pieces are somewhat unfinished, such a deficiency is hard to discern. The music is slick and skillfully mixed. The melodies are catchy and swinging.
The ambient tracks are pensive and thought-provoking, and sadly too short-lived.
Everything considered, this CD has far more merit than just that of an expose of previously unreleased material. The music holds its own in comparison to NelsonÕs usual offering, albeit with a touch a wistful nostalgia.
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