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BILL NELSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Bill Nelson biography
Bill Nelson (William Nelson) was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England in 1948. While attending Wakefield College of Art he began to develop a proficiency on the guitar, often citing Duane Eddy as an early influence. In 1970 he recorded with several experimental psychedelic groups on the Holyground label, finally releasing his first solo album, Northern Dream, in 1971. John Peel of BBC?s Radio One began to promote his music which led to the formation of Nelson?s first major band, Be Bop Deluxe.

In 78 Nelson dissolved the Deluxe and spent one year as a post-punkster in Red Noise. In 1980 Nelson released his solo album, Do You Dream in Color, which started a prestigious solo career that continues to this day. His recorded musical output is enormous to say the least, due in part to a musical philosophy he adhered to for part of the 90s in which he would try to record and produce musical ideas as quickly as he could come up with them, often knocking out finished recorded songs in just two hours before moving to the next one. Every year in Yorkshire there is a special concert called Nelsonica during which Bill Nelson performs and sells recordings of the subsequent concert for his fans from all over the world.

Bill Nelson official website

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Live In Concert At Metropolis StudiosLive In Concert At Metropolis Studios
CONVEYOR 2012
Audio CD$12.12
$12.11 (used)
Quit Dreaming and Get on the BeamQuit Dreaming and Get on the Beam
Import · Remastered
Ume Imports 2005
Audio CD$4.95
$4.82 (used)
Getting the Holy Ghost AcrossGetting the Holy Ghost Across
Import · Remastered
Ais 2013
Audio CD$12.44
$53.00 (used)
The Practice of Everyday Life: Celebrating 40 Years of RecordingsThe Practice of Everyday Life: Celebrating 40 Years of Recordings
Box set · Import
Cocteau Discs 2011
Audio CD$109.95
$76.50 (used)
The Love That Whirls (Diary of a Thinking Heart)The Love That Whirls (Diary of a Thinking Heart)
Import · Remastered
Ume Imports 2005
Audio CD$4.91
$7.40 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Bill Nelson "Mazda Kaleidoscope" cd USD $30.99 Buy It Now 36m 51s
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Bill Nelson "Silvertone Fountains" cd NEAR MINT USD $47.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Bill Nelson - Trial By Intimacy The Book NEW CD USD $31.85 Buy It Now 2 days
Bill Nelson: Permanent Flame 7" Boxed Set Jean1 USD $18.94 [0 bids]
2 days
BE BOP DELUXE ( BILL NELSON )- SHIPS IN THE NIGHT ORIGINAL 7" SINGLE HARVEST USD $1.34 [0 bids]
2 days
Bill Nelson: Savage Gestures For Charms Sake LP USD $21.98 [0 bids]
2 days
BILL NELSON The Summer Of Gods Piano ELECTRO AVANT GARDE LP 1984 USD $12.16 Buy It Now 2 days
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2 days
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3 days
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Bill Nelson - Northern Dream [CD New] USD $15.30 Buy It Now 3 days
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LP northern dream
BILL NELSON
~ USD $23.93
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BILL NELSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BILL NELSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.33 | 6 ratings
Northern Dream
1971
2.67 | 6 ratings
Sounding the Ritual Echo
1981
3.62 | 9 ratings
Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam
1981
3.88 | 12 ratings
The Love That Whirls (The Diary of a Thinking Man)
1982
3.00 | 3 ratings
La belle et la bte
1982
3.40 | 5 ratings
Savage Gestures for Charm's Sake
1983
3.12 | 6 ratings
Chimera
1983
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Summer of God's Piano
1984
3.00 | 5 ratings
Chamber Of Dreams (Music For The Invisibility Exhibition)
1984
2.80 | 5 ratings
A Catalogue of Obsessions
1984
3.20 | 5 ratings
Pavilions of the Heart & Soul
1984
3.00 | 2 ratings
Chameleon
1986
3.57 | 7 ratings
Getting the Holy Ghost Across (On A Blue Wing)
1986
3.00 | 3 ratings
Iconography ( with Orchestra Arcana)
1986
3.00 | 4 ratings
Map of Dreams (Music From the Soundtrack of the TV Series)
1987
3.44 | 9 ratings
Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights
1987
2.67 | 6 ratings
Optimism (as Bill Nelson's Orchestra Arcana)
1988
3.00 | 4 ratings
Simplex
1990
3.76 | 6 ratings
Luminous
1991
3.80 | 5 ratings
Blue Moons & Laughing Guitars
1992
4.00 | 4 ratings
After the Satellite Sings
1995
3.80 | 6 ratings
Practically Wired...Or How I Became Guitarboy
1995
3.40 | 5 ratings
Crimsworth: Flowers, Stones, Fountains and Flames
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Magnificent Dream People
1997
3.50 | 2 ratings
Weird Critters
1998
3.00 | 2 ratings
Atom Shop
1998
3.97 | 10 ratings
Sound on Sound ( as Bill Nelson's Red Noise)
1999
4.00 | 2 ratings
Whimsy
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Plaything
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Romance Of Sustain - Volume One: Painting With Guitars
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Custom Deluxe
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Satellite Songs
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wah-Wah Galaxy
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dreamland to Starboard
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Orpheus In Wonderland
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Alchemical Adventures Of Sailor Bill
2005
3.00 | 2 ratings
Rosewood Volume 2
2005
3.50 | 2 ratings
Rosewood (Ornaments And Graces For Acoustic Guitar) Volume One
2005
2.50 | 2 ratings
Return To Jazz Of Lights
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Arcadian Salon
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Neptune's Galaxy
2006
3.67 | 3 ratings
Gleaming Without Lights
2007
3.00 | 2 ratings
And We Fell Into A Dream
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Silvertone Fountains
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Illuminated At Dusk
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
MAZDA KALEIDOSCOPE
2008
3.00 | 1 ratings
Golden Melodies Of Tomorrow
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Fancy Planets
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Here Comes Mr Mercury
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Theatre Of Falling Leaves
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Non-Stop Mystery Action
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Captain Future's Psychotronic Circus
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Fables and Dreamsongs
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Modern Moods For Mighty Atoms
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
Picture Post
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Signals From Realms Of Light
2011
3.33 | 3 ratings
Model Village
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
Fantasmatron
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Songs Of The Blossom Tree Optimists
2012
3.75 | 4 ratings
Joy Through Amplification
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Last Of The Neon Cynics
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Palace Of Strange Voltages
2012
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Dreamshire Chronicles
2012

BILL NELSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BILL NELSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BILL NELSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Kabinet/La Belle et la Bete
1982
3.83 | 6 ratings
Vistamix
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
Trial By Intimacy (The Book Splendours)
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Strangest Things: A Collection of Recordings 1979-1989
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Duplex - The Best Of Bill Nelson
1989
2.50 | 2 ratings
Demonstrations Of Affection
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
My Secret Studio, Vol. 1
1995
3.00 | 3 ratings
Electricity Made Us Angels
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Buddha Head
1995
5.00 | 1 ratings
Confessions of Hyperdreamer (Secret Studio, Vol. 2)
1997
3.50 | 2 ratings
Deep Dream Decoder
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
What Now What Next
1998
5.00 | 1 ratings
Whistling While The World Turns
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Hermetic Jukebox (as Orchestra Arcana )
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Crimsworth/Culturemix
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Magnificent Dream People/Electricity Made Us
2003
5.00 | 1 ratings
Noise Candy
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Practice Of Everyday Life
2011

BILL NELSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Das Kabinett (The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari)
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Banal
1981
5.00 | 1 ratings
Living for the Spangled Moment
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Astral Motel - Nelsonica 02
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Luxury Lodge - Nelsonica 03
2003
3.00 | 2 ratings
Secret Club For Members Only - Nelsonica 07
2007
3.50 | 2 ratings
Clocks & Dials - Nelsonica 08
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
I hear electricity /Kiss you slowly
2008
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Dream Transmission Pavilion - Nelsonica 09
2009

BILL NELSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Love That Whirls (The Diary of a Thinking Man) by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.88 | 12 ratings

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The Love That Whirls (The Diary of a Thinking Man)
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Issued in the midst of Bill Nelson's early 1980s creative boom, the Love That Whirls presents thinking man's New Romantic. It's synthpop, yes, but synthpop with substantially more complexity than what a lot of the competition were offering at the time, and coupled with a knack for wry lyrics. In its extended instrumental passages (indeed, some tracks are entirely instrumental) Nelson takes off from a musical landscape which might have had some familiarity to pop listeners of 1982 and ends up in territory which feels alien and unique to him. Diary of a Thinking Heart? Well, it's much better than the Owner of a Lonely Heart...
 Sound on Sound ( as Bill Nelson's Red Noise) by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.97 | 10 ratings

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Sound on Sound ( as Bill Nelson's Red Noise)
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by HolyMoly
Forum & Site Admin Group Forum & Site Admin

4 stars This is the only album Bill Nelson released under the band name Red Noise, and based on his success here, it would have been interesting indeed to have seen this band idea play out for a few more albums. Having disbanded Be Bop Deluxe (a band I admittedly don't know much about), his work on this album is high-energy, guitar-based New Wave rock of a very high caliber. The closest comparison that comes to mind is the first two XTC albums, but Nelson's take on herky-jerky new wave is decidedly heavier and more rooted in classic rock idioms.

It begins with "Don't Touch Me (I'm Electric)", the musical equivalent of bouncing around in a pinball machine, with hyper-excited vocals by Nelson and dissonant chords colliding with the stomping rhythms. "For Young Moderns" brings in a Cars/Roxy Music vibe, with smooth synthesizers and a moderate rocking tempo. "Stop/Go/Stop" returns to the first song's caffeinated paranoia, and "Furniture Music" is mid-tempo again. The latter song has one of the more memorable melodies on the album, and was a suitable choice for a single release. I think he may have been poking a bit of fun at Brian Eno on this one, but who knows, maybe they were friends for all I know.

For twelve high-energy tracks (no ballads here), Nelson and company fill their songs with urgency, guitar/synth hooks galore, and occasionally the kind of guitar heroics that make Nelson famous in Be Bop Deluxe (e.g. "A Better Home in the Phantom Zone" has some excellent guitar runs). In a few years, Nelson would turn towards more ambient art rock and instrumental soundscape music, but this album marks an interesting period in his career when he was looking for new ways to rock out. With a tight band behind him and a bunch of scorching hot rock tunes, this album remains exciting today.

 The Practice Of Everyday Life by NELSON, BILL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Practice Of Everyday Life
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by tunesmith59

— First review of this album —
4 stars It can't be easy to anthologize 40 years of any artist's work. Imagine then, the difficulty of summarizing the career of an artist whose work is canvased across more than eighty studio albums which span various genres, styles and approaches.

Such is the task of The Practice Of Everyday Life, a fabulously packaged 8-disc box (including 64-page booklet) that chronicles the work of Bill Nelson. Starting with the hippie rock of his indie solo LP, this set traverses through his commercial zenith with art-rockers Be Bop Deluxe, the electro-punk energy of Red Noise, lo-fi ambient contemplations, various fusions of pop and dance/techno beats and finally brings us up to date with Nelson's recent amalgam of styles that might be best described as an aural Disneyland.

This is a fascinating overview of a diverse body of work that is largely currently out of print- a problem that Esoteric Recordings plans to help rectify with a reissue campaign underway since 2011. The label promises the reissue of 21 titles (including six multi-disc sets).

Oddly, the Be Bop Deluxe material here, which takes up most of the first two discs, appears to have been remastered twice in 2011: Abbey Road's Peter Mew remastered the entire Be Bop catalog for the 'Futurist Manifesto' box. The remastering for The Practice Of Everyday Life is credited to Ben Wiseman of Audio Archiving Company (London). While I find no fault with the Peter Mew remasters, the Be Bop Deluxe tracks on TPOEL seem to have a touch more clarity and crispness. In fact, all the tracks on TPOEL sound better than previous issues AND sound great together in the context of this compilation. A rare feat.

It's a minor criticism, but with only 35 minutes of BBC rarities on Disc 8, it seems a lost opportunity to include another 40 minutes of Nelson's more recent recordings.

Fans of Be Bop Deluxe who have been detached from Nelson's work would be well served by investigating some of those recent releases (only available through www.billnelson.com). For anyone interested in an overview that encompasses of the scope of Nelson's considerable output, look no further.

 The Love That Whirls (The Diary of a Thinking Man) by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.88 | 12 ratings

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The Love That Whirls (The Diary of a Thinking Man)
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Bill Nelson remains the artist that could, should and would. Founder of art rock band Be Bop Deluxe in the 70s, he was responsible for stretching the boundaries of conventional rock music by introducing a new style of guitar playing (he has a unique tone and timber that defies description or imitation) that should have placed him high up on the podium with the usual guitar suspects (the 3 Hs, Latimer, Gilmour, Fripp and co) but for an incredible artistic obstinacy that is truly noteworthy. This is one artist who has NEVER caved into the audience demands and corporate obligations, forging his own path and damn the critics. Bill Nelson is prog's ultimate rebel but has survived nearly 40 years of continuous releases that all have been stamped with one massive seal of originality. Experimental, audacious, post-punk, electronic and daring. This second solo album was perhaps his first success, garnering attention in new wave circles with a plethora of scintillating little snippets of utterly danceable genius, foreshadowing and influencing artists such as U2, David Bowie, Gary Numan, Ultravox, Images in Vogue, Japan, Depeche Mode etc... He has played sitting next to the legendary Robert Fripp on a David Sylvian album, as well as a massive slew of session work. His catalogue is gigantic, not far from Tangerine Dream, Oldfield, Hawkwind and Wakeman numbers. He is still going strong today, far from the spotlight.

Highlights are plentiful such as the extraordinary "Empire of the Senses" with its robotic propulsion, absolute incredible vocalizing (the man can sing too), the genius xylophone amid the swirling synths and the wistful atmospherics. This segues rather smartly with "Hope for the Heartbeat", a hypnosis-inducing electronic paragon of sound and texture that would make Kraftwerk blush with envy! Highly original, a whirling dervish of a tune that again defies proper description. "A Private View" remains one of my fave songs of that era, a punky, Magazine ?like rhythm that reaches soaring heights, both musically and vocally, a seed that would be reaped by many new wave artists after him. Yet, the synths are not just sequence-oriented rhythmic columns, as the Middle Eastern tortuous main melody would simply confirm. "Eros Arriving" has a distinct Chinese-tinge, wrapped in an electronic blanket of propulsive sound, a clean drum computer leading the way, slashed by some distinctive guitar swaths, rubbery bass and more of his oddly jaded vocal styling. Fun, fun, fun! "Flesh" is complex, rollicking , almost punkish , served up with a weird tortured sound and rather nasty lyrics , possibly providing Billy Idol with the idea behind "Flesh for Fantasy", guitar rasps and synths going haywire in the meantime. Fascinating! "He and Sleep Were Brothers" continues on the ingenious path, a concrete jungle of firm beats amid uncivilized synthesizer twirls, sizzling guitar mists and shadowy vocals. The result is captivating, totally unformulaic and experimental. The mellifluous "When Your Dream of Perfect Beauty Comes True" (did I mention his skill at creating apt titles for his albums and songs?) is an extension of his resourceful songwriting style, polyrhythmic web of synthesized sound , sequenced and seasoned to perfection, an instrumental classic. "Flaming Desire" is the hit single (joking!) that shows off absurd pop sensibilities by taking the arrangement to the most uncommercial heights (as per the disjointed synth solo) , showcasing tortured solos and lofty vocals both adorned with a sense of insanity that is most beguiling. "The Crystal Escalator in the Palace of God" is celestial experimental music, again constructed on a spellbinding beat with flowery synth passages that evoke upward travel, world-weary vocals and a sense of sonic infinity. The details are abundant and thrilling.

The "epic" track is the finale "The October Man"featuring the real drums of Bogdan Wiczling (Adam & the Ants, Lene Lovich, Fingerprintz) and a massive exclamation point on the proceedings, a 6 minute 42 second whopper of a track that shows off his snake-like lead playing, aided and abetted by some colossal rhythm guitar riffs that plaster the arrangement with huge sound and dimension. This is no wimpy stuff!

Nelson is also into magical moods and diverse textures (many of his albums from this period were airy instrumental music of the highest order), as eloquently shown on the ambient "Waiting for Voices", the experimental "The Bride of Christ in Autumn", the elegantly dissonant and piano-led "Portrait of Jan with Flowers" and the mystical "Echo in her Eyes". Mind music of the times, simple, effective and mesmerizing!

My copy has 3 bonus tracks, a sexy remix of "Hope for the Heartbeat " as well as the punkier and fretless bass fueled "Haunting in My Head" and the sizzling guitar workout "The Passion" with its cowboy aroma, as if from a spaghetti western, with a punkish attitude.

An immense talent, a wizard and a true star.

4.5 Dancing Shivas

 Magnificent Dream People by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Magnificent Dream People
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by 10mb

4 stars I will admit that Bill Nelson's solo work is definitely an acquired taste. His quantity over quality often creates problems for me and I consider myself to be a true fan (followed his work since "Futurama"). That being said, this is a very good and consistent album that represents what he was doing during this period of time. It is one of my favorites and I've jotted a few notes down regarding each of the songs. Please excuse the format, I typically write in a more conventional form.

Sun At Six Windows- nice piano piece Bird Ornaments- "an invisible chicken in every pot" and "Emily had all her canaries in different cages" sound bites and snippets with some bluesy bits mixed in, lots of E-bow combination of styles and a stolen melody My Favorite Atom- repeated treated spoken phrase used as rhythm, developed with alternating quiet piano and orchestration The Girl I Never Forgot- another short piano piece Circle the World In a Paper Canoe- similar to Bird Ornaments but with a purposely mangled tape sound introduced into the electronic rhythm, lots of signature guitar work Queer Weather- another piano piece (primarily) with effects and treated guitar mixed low into the background Astro Coaster- repeated spoken title, piano, synths, and guitar over an electronic percussion Brutal Tinkerbell- repeated spoken word bits with piano for the first 2 minutes, then drums signal a melody change with a synth taking the lead The Waltz At the End of the World- mostly keyboard dominated waltz, almost carousel styled- close your eyes and you can see the midway and the arcade Secret Agent at Science Park- typical electronic percussion with very nice guitar work, one of the highlights of the recording (IMHO), very nicely done The Twentieth Century- more sound bites of spoken words with percussion and guitar soloing, very nice atmosphere to this piece Aura Hole- begins as a quiet piano piece and electronic percussion begins at about a minute and a half that picks up the pace, piano continues Radiant Nature Knows Not the Worker's Sorrow- another quiet piano piece Essoldo Stripshow- the sound bites of spoken word continue with some tasty guitar and piano over a backdrop of synths. Favorites for me are "Secret Agent...", "Bird Ornaments", "Circle the World...", "Brutal Tinkerbell", but all are good representation of Bill getting it right.

One of his most consistent and a 4 star effort in my opinion.

 Practically Wired...Or How I Became Guitarboy by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.80 | 6 ratings

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Practically Wired...Or How I Became Guitarboy
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by 10mb

4 stars I first came across Bill Nelson about the time "Futurama" was released. I heard it being played as I perused the LPs, looking for something new and good. I liked what I heard, bought it, and have never looked back. I can't say I have all of his recordings, but I do have most. Of his solo releases, this is an excellent choice to start with. "Practically Wired..." is a wonderful trip. Two of my three sons have at least some admiration for Bill and all of them know exactly where the random text "The man in dark glasses has disappeared with his suitcase" is from. Any of you that have listened to Bill know that he releases a LOT of music. I am a huge fan, but even so- I don't love all of it. This is easily one of the best. There are bits of electronica, spoken words, piano interludes, changes in musical direction, and always Bill's tasteful guitar work. Some might want to say this isn't progressive, but I would disagree. Just listen to "Royal Ghosts", it certainly isn't Genesis, King Crimson, or Pink Floyd- but damn it's good. Love it every time I listen to it! 4 stars from the low pressure kid, maybe eventually a 5.
 Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.62 | 9 ratings

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Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by thellama73
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars When you think about it, this album is a very natural progression from Be Bop Deluxe. That band's last album, Drastic Plastic (their best effort in my opinion) started to incorporate lots of electronic elements and experimentation, found sounds, even musique concret, while still maintaining their art rock image. With Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam, Bill Nelson has ditched his old band and taken the next logical step into full blown electronica/post-punk.

The arrangements have become dense and at times obscure, the synths are stacked up heavily and the vocals are buried in the mix, but Nelson's strengths as a songwriter shine through. His chord progressions and song structures have always been a little too adventurous for your average FM radio listener, but this becomes less of a problem now that he has abandoned the glam rock mantle of his past and embraced experimentation. The melodies are still catchy and the occasional solo shows that he can still wail on the guitar as much as he ever could.

The album opener, Banal, is one of the strongest tracks of Nelson's career, with a great melody and plenty of guitar and sax. It probably could have been a hit were it not for the dense layers of sound piled on top of an otherwise straightforward rock song. My only real criticism is that all the songs are a bit "samey" due to Nelson's fascination with his new studio techniques, so that by the end of the album I tend to grow a little tired of it. But taken one track at a time, there's not a weak moment and I find I get something new out of it every time I listen.

 Chimera by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.12 | 6 ratings

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Chimera
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by thellama73
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars For this EP, Bill Nelson is joined by Yellow Magic Orchestra drummer, Yukihiro Takahashi, who laid down various drum patterns which Nelson the looped and toyed with in the studio. Needless to say, it's a very percussive release. The emphasis is on drums, with prominent bass and marimba.

The music is similar to the other albums Nelson released for the Mercury label, so if you've heard Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam, you will pretty much know what to expect. The use of looping patterns, aggressive 80's synths and sampled dialogue is reminiscent of Brian Eno and David Byrne's "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts." It's a shame that album gets so much credit for its inventiveness while Nelson's contemporary work is usually overlooked.

Aside from the raw sound of the record, the songwriting is up to Nelson's usual high standard, with the single "Acceleration" being the stand out track. The other songs are reasonably catchy and it's amusing to hear Nelson's best Bowie impersonation on "Glow World." The CD reissue adds one additional track in the same vein and three alternate mixes of "Acceleration," inessential certainly, but enjoyable nonetheless.

If you like what Bill Nelson was doing in the 80's, you will certainly like this (it is high quality throughout), but the album's brevity and lack of diversity in bonus tracks mean that I can't give it more than three stars.

 Luminous by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.76 | 6 ratings

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Luminous
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by 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

 Chamber Of Dreams (Music For The Invisibility Exhibition) by NELSON, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 5 ratings

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Chamber Of Dreams (Music For The Invisibility Exhibition)
Bill Nelson Crossover Prog

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars In the early 80s countless artsy guitar slangers from early 70s prog-rock dinosaurs, as well as already burned out late 70s post-punk ensembles were trimming down to small mobile units and recording interesting mostly instrumental albums. Guitarists such as Robert Fripp, Robert Quine, Jody Harris, Andy Summers, David Byrne, Phil Manzenera and Bill Nelson all seemed to hit a similar style and recording approach at about the same time. Drawing on influences such as Eno, Satie, Kraftwek, 60s exotica records, soundtracks and incidental music for adverts, these records represent one of the bright points in an otherwise disappointing decade.

Like his many cohorts at this time, Nelson eschews flashy guitar technique in favor of electronic textures, catchy minimalist melodic structures and an overall 'modern' approach and sound that was as far from the 70s as you could get at that time. Everything on here sounds synthetic, most of the instruments used are guitar synths, keyboards, sequencer/drum machines and those classic grainy vocal samples that were so popular at this time, but Nelson makes all this work to his favor as he builds a very pleasant subtle 80s exotica sound. These songs are short, and many are kind of 'catchy', but there is nothing shallow about this album. Very imaginative and never boring, I would highly recommend Chamber of Dreams for fans of Eno, Manzenera and Fripp-Summers.

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