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Bill Nelson - Luminous CD (album) cover

LUMINOUS

Bill Nelson

 

Crossover Prog

3.79 | 5 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Bill Nelson is a long awaited addition to our site, flirting with the outer edges of Progressive , a pure sonic adventurer , a luminous kind of guy (Title of the opening cut here!) that has a long pedigree of collaborations with many "below the radar" researchists like Fripp and Dave Sylvian while fronting the delirious Be Bop Deluxe and later, Channel Light Vessel both part of the more forward thinking purveyors of original music. Lumped lovingly with iconoclastic prog acts like Robert Calvert, Tony Mansfield, Bryan Ferry, John Foxx and Dave Sylvian, Nelson is a serious candidate for the underappreciated musical genius award and perhaps winning on the first ballot! I have a dozen of so Nelson albums but never really understood how deep the man's genius is. This album is littered by short pieces that tingle gently in vaporous way, slightly psychedelic and very electronic like on the amazing "Bright Sparks", a dreamier version of John "Metal Beat" Foxx in many ways that sweeps along princely and convincingly. The liner notes explain that these pieces are all first take recordings, taken raw and with little afterthought and minimal decorative production, which only contributes to the immense charm this album possesses in spades. On "Is this Alchemy?", the sequenced sounds become Hillagian in scope but with Nelson's Bryan Ferry-ish croon , this really is out there in deep robotic space. A fascinating journey this becomes on the spectral "Language of Birds", an electro-synth splurge with binary beat , pinging pongs, Nelson hushing like David Bowie in scenic fashion, "heading towards a spiral highway through the endless trees" , funky and unrelenting , guitar scratching in the undertow, trumpet synth blasts and wailing wildly in the jungle, a masterpiece , hands down! "All I am is You" reverts to a breezier playground where an undemanding beat keeps this down to earth and pleasant, synths playing havoc with the frame of sound. On "Life in Reverse", the mood showcases that unique Nelson vision, a swarthy rebel who furrowed like a mad man in the eighties, highly prolific and sadly almost unknown, certainly one of those unsung heroes we all like to discover. Here the looping waves seem to ring in circles, pulsating wildly and yet serenely. There are tunes like "Two Hearts Beating" (no not You Two!) and "She's Got me Floating" that are both very near Roxy Music territory circa Manifesto, the velvet croon enveloped in a crispier package that is frankly hard to resist . For the guitar hungry fans wondering if this guy is as good as some say, they get slapped by a sublime bluesy solo, lush with sustained country jangling yet remaining piercingly adroit and crafty as on the catchy "Burning Down". There is little here not to admire, an unexpected transport into a strange musical universe that transcends boundaries and genres, so therefore highly progressive by nature and lacking that at times syrupy production overkill that can ruin (or perhaps better, sanitize) the intent and the delivery of so many past great ideas. The KISS principle applies to the fullest here, Nelson knows how to keep it simple yet oh so creative.

For fans of all the above mentioned but especially for the starving prog connoisseur, Bill Nelson is a hugely iconic figure that merits your interest and perhaps one day, that light bulb icon over your head . An easy 4.5 lampshades

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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