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Outstanding Eclectic Pop Music (New and Old) by Bill Nelson

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BILL NELSON: Getting the Holy Ghost Across (double CD Esoteric Recordings/Cocteau Discs)

Originally released in 1986, this classic album has been reissued in 2014 and features 91 minutes of superb pop music.

Nelson plays electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, marimbas, drums, percussion, bass and vocals. Accompanying him are: Andy Davis (on additional keyboards), Iain Denby (on bass), Peter Geeves (on violin), Ian Nelson, William Gregory, and Dick Morrisey (all on saxophone), and Preston Hayman (on percussion).

The guitarwork here is superb, highlighting Nelson's mastery of the E-bow guitar which bends notes into liquid ambrosia of dizzying rapture. Even his untreated guitar playing is worthy of deification.

Intricate percussion provides a maze of enchanting rhythms that goad the tunes into highly peppy territory. These tempos reach a mesmerizing level that could stand alone with magnificent appeal.

Keyboards and electronics provide a glistening strata of heavenly scope, luscious and fascinating in its expansive adhesion, pulling everything together into an irresistible marriage of epic instances seasoned with reverent epiphanies.

Expressive horns herald the escalation of melodies to dramatic proportion, injecting celestial status to the already buoyant tunes. Violin adds a tender edge to the bouncy tuneage.

Nelson's vocals resound with a holistic command that conveys authority and sympathy with equal resolve. While not pushy or overt, the optimistic messages contained within the lyrics are impossible to ignore. These songs stand as enticing anthems for celebrating life and the hopes for a better tomorrow.

Many audiophiles consider this album to be one of Nelson's pinnacle achievements. Besides featuring numerous familiar hits (like "Contemplation" and "Wildest Dreams"), the selection offered here maintains a steadfast commitment to fervent sonic bliss. The quality of this music will dazzle the listener; the dedication to ecstasy is relentless.

Besides the original album, included in this reissue are all bonus tracks and remixes from EPs connected with the album, and the complete "Living for the Spangled Moment" mini-album.

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BILL NELSON: Blip (DDL on Sonoluxe)

This release from 2013 features 57 minutes of attractive pop music.

A dose of peppy pop tunes crafted with spry guitars, electronics and rhythms.

As always, Nelson's guitars are the real stars here. His licks are superb and alluring, belting out riffs of twinkling beauty. Utilizing a diverse selection of guitars, the riffs run the gamut from crisp and strong to smoothly molten. There are a decisive degree of occasions in which the guitars deliver powerful riffs of a shrill nature, they sort possessing the ability to sear paint from the walls, yet these are presented in restraint to spare the listener's decor.

The electronics mainly present themselves via slippery keyboards, generating silvery streams of glistening charm. These keys slither through the mix, helping to cement everything into a fine unity.

The rhythms are durable yet subtle. At times the beats are harsh and powerful, but generally they adopt a sinuous flair, sometimes pittering away with xylophonic character. The tempos are intricate and serpentine with their infectious cadence.

This release features a profusion of lyrical vocals. Nelson's voice is delicate yet vibrant. His lyrics praise the presence of mystical beauty in our lives, from fantasy to emotional connections.

The compositions will capture your attention right away with their sultry lilt. The melodies are vivid and enticing. And Nelson has a wondrous flair with variance, creating tuneage that is always fresh and novel.

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BILL NELSON: Blip 2 (DDL on Sonoluxe)

This release from 2013 features 62 more minutes of delightful pop music.

While this is expectedly a continuation of material found on "Blip," the range of songs includes some distinctly more intense pieces, with harsh guitar growls and almost dire electronics conspiring to generate tuneage of a delightfully grittier character. Even so, however, the temperament remains as whimsically playful. The music cavorts with agility and entertaining twists.

A plethora of nimble guitars contribute a diversity of dazzling riffs, from twinkling stellar orbs to fiery comets to dreamy waterfalls. Some guttural passages chase winds across the sky. There's even some absolutely lovely e-bow guitarwork that induces euphoric trances.

An inventive array of keyboard-triggered electronics lend their fluid tonal sweeps to the alluring melodies.

The introduction of twangy harmonica lends a gutsy blues flavor to several tracks.

Rhythms convey spry locomotion to the already sprightly tuneage with their clever beats.

Nelson's dreamy vocals croon lyrics that again pursue topics of romantic mysticism.

These compositions are typically engaging - Nelson has an innate skill for producing a seemingly never-ending stream of individually charming tunes without duplicating himself or sounding too much alike. These songs live up to that amazing standard, delivering a relentless succession of tunes that will mesmerize and astound even the most jaded audience.

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BILL NELSON: Albion Dream Vortex (CD on Sonoluxe)

This release from 2013 features 66 minutes of delightful instrumental pop music.

Versatile guitars, electronics and rhythms produce delightful tuneage of an agile nature.

Nelson's guitar virtuosity is in prime form here, delivering a plethora of riffs crafted in diverse modes of resonance. There are shrill chords, dreamy strumming, spiraling crescendos, hyperactive riffs and vibrating oscillations. The performance is masterful and deft.

While there are numerous electronic embellishments, these tend to get lost mid the seething sea of pulsating guitarwork. If anything, the electronics merely lend a subtle undercurrent of fluidity to the guitar pyrotechnics.

While rhythms play a vital role in this music, their presence is often understated, submerged and muted so as not to overwhelm. The rhythms are suitably complex, but never strident.

Although there are no lyrical vocals here, Nelson frequently applies sampled tapes of phrases to enhance the flow.

These compositions shine with dazzling appeal. The melodies are attractive and enthralling, easily captivating even a listener's passing attention. In one song, synthetic horns and woodwinds inject a pastoral flair. countered by grinding basslines and searing guitar outbursts. Perhaps "outburst" is an exaggeration, for Nelson's guitarwork always retains a lush gentility; even when the riffs are fierce and overt, they resound with a certain grandeur that tickles the soul.

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BILL NELSON: Pedalscope (CD on Sonoluxe)

This release from 2014 features 75 minutes of bouncy riding music.

This music is from the soundtrack for the film "Velorama." Four of the tracks on this album were not included in film's final score.

The music is extremely high-energy but gentle, a suitably fitting sonic accompaniment for riding bicycles.

As usual, Nelson's guitars virtuosity is in full play. The riffs are nimble-fingered and slick. The melodies are compelling and catchy.

A degree of electronic keyboards contribute to the tuneage, lacing the melodies with sparkling threads of a slippery character. Several instances of softly demonstrative piano lend those songs a masterful air. There are also an amount of clever electronic effects springing forth to embellish the music's flow.

Comfortable rhythms abound, helping to propel the music with peppy tempos and often sneaky beats hiding in the mix. Considering the music's cycling theme, one might expect a percentage of clackety rotary beats going on, and while a certain amount of that occurs, these aspects are better conveyed by the melodies' sinuous fluidity.

A fair amount of synthetic orchestration seasons this music with a gentle majesty, lending a pleasant classical edge to the tunes. An especially nice touch is the occasional oompa of a tuba.

These compositions are designed to evoke the thrill and euphoria of riding bicycles, and they excellently perform in those modes. Bouncy tunes capture speedy runs along winding pathways, while more sedate passages are suitable companions for lazy rides through pastoral territories.

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BILL NELSON & REEVES GABRELS: Fantastic Guitars (CD on Sonoluxe)

This release from 2014 features 49 minutes of stunning guitar music.

Gabrels used to be with Tin Machine and play lead guitar for the Cure (circa 2012). Nelson used to be in BeBop Deluxe (way back in the Seventies).

What happens when you get two guitar maestros together to do a collaborative album? You either get chaos or perfectly fused creativities that shine in a unified dazzle. This release is an example of the latter. These two musicians fit together perfectly, not just in temperament and personality, but their personal styles compliment each other in their contrasts.

Guitars aplenty, you betcha. Wailing, twanging, reverberating, soaring, twisting, cavorting, searing, astounding. While each guitar riff stands alone quite beautifully, the interplay heightens everything to a level of breathless ecstasy. And each song features variant types of riffs interplaying differently, resulting in fresh explosions of sonic bliss. Strumming hovers over a vista of quirky effects rooted in feedback and contorted notes, eventually sliding into a clash of both styles to form a mesh that defies prosaic description.

Percussion features heavily in these songs, as the rhythms help establish the prevalent rock factor.

If there's any electronics, they're buried beneath the guitar outbursts. Actually, the treatments applied to the guitars function as auxiliary electronics, filling the mix with their weirdness.

These compositions are wondrous examples of dual genius at work. While the basic mode is based in rock, things expand beyond conventional rock to burst into progressive and jazz, then blossom into inventive incarnations. That's part of the great appeal of this tuneage: its distinction from other forms of guitar-based rock music. These difference are what make it special and alluring and ultimately unique.

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BILL NELSON: Altar Pieces (CD on Sonoluxe)

Originally released on limited edition cassette tape in 1990, this has been reissued as a download in 2014 and features 36 minutes of pleasant ambient music.

Now, this one is quite different from other Nelson releases in that it's ambient music.

Instead of guitar, electronics are the main instrument. The tones are soft and often reverent in their disposition. Many of the tonalities are crystalline in nature, almost chime-like.

Meanwhile, keyboards provide sinuous threads that unfurl in cyclic nature, establishing luxurious flows that are embellished by the chime-like effects mentioned above.

Further embellishing the pieces are quasi-symphonic touches. There's even a few instances of percussion, but nothing overt, mostly gentle patterings that are relegated deep within the mix.

While mostly instrumental, some sampled voice snippets are employed to emphasize the music's somber character.

These compositions are delicate and pensive, but hardly minimal or atonal. Melody plays a vital role here, bestowing each track with appealing definition. The music is quite tasty in its fragile presence, moody without being dark, optimistic without being pushy about it.

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BILL NELSON: The Dreamers Companion Volume 1 (DDL on Sonoluxe)

A collection of previously released tracks from the last 10 years, released in 2014 and offering 60 minutes of slick pop music.

BILL NELSON: The Dreamers Companion Volume 2 (DDL on Sonoluxe)

A collection of previously released tracks from the last 10 years, released in 2014 and offering 63 minutes of slick pop music.

BILL NELSON: The Dreamers Companion Volume 3 (DDL on Sonoluxe)

A collection of previously released tracks from the last 10 years, released in 2014 and offering 68 minutes of slick pop music.

The music contained on these three collections offer intimate glimpses into Nelson's music over a period of recent years. While there are no previously unreleased songs, several tracks are from long out-of-print releases.

As far as the sound: Nelson's music achieves a standard that few others can match. His guitar virtuosity is unparalleled. His compositions offer endless delight with constantly fresh melodies and catchy hooks.

If you are unfamiliar with Nelson's music, these collections will afford you a listen to his remarkable music.

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Some other older out-of-print releases have been reissued in digital download format...

BILL NELSON: Arcadian Salon (DDL on Sonoluxe)

Originally limited to those who attended Nelson's 2006 Nelsonica event, this release is finally available to a wider audience as a 2014 download and features 79 minutes of wondrous pop music. Take advantage of this fortuity and don't pass up this opportunity to own the release and enjoy the stupendous music.

BILL NELSON: Neptune's Galaxy (DDL on Sonoluxe)

Originally released as a limited edition companion to "The Alchemical Adventures of Sailor Bill," this release has been long out-of-print, but is now available as a download release in 2014 and features 75 minutes of wondrous pop music. Don't pass up this second chance to experience this excellent album.

BILL NELSON: Orpheus in Ultraland (DDL on Sonoluxe)

Originally limited to those who attended Nelson's 2005 Nelsonica event, this release is finally available to a wider audience. Reissued in 2014 as a download, this release features 74 minutes of extremely satisfying tuneage.

BILL NELSON: Plaything (DDL on Sonoluxe)

Originally released in 2003, this album has been out-of-rint for some time, but has finally been reissued in 2014 as a download. This release features 53 minutes of wholly enjoyable mostly instrumental music.

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