Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bill Nelson ~ The Alchemical Adventures Of Sailor Bill










I have been a follower of Bill’s music since Be Bop Deluxe’s “Modern Music” way back in the late 70’s. I have followed his every twist and turn since then: his solo albums, his work with David Sylvian, Harold Budd, Channel Light Vessel and others.

Presently he is releasing albums at an alarming rate as limited releases on his own independent labels. Mostly these are instrumental based albums, though last year saw the release of his best song album for many a year, “Satellite Songs”. This was a precursor to some live work with his ad hoc band “The Lost Satellites”. Now he gives us another song based album “The Alchemical Adventures Of Sailor Bill” and this one is sensational! A suite of songs and instrumentals, this album is Bill’s most personal and his most adventurous of his career. Evoking childhood memories of seaside holidays in the 50’s and 60’s Bill brings us a sort of musical postcard from those bygone days, when life was much simpler and innocent.

The music on the album is richly textured and multi-layered. Using a Yamaha Motif ES8 keyboard to produce the beautifully complex orchestral sounds, Bill has produced an unusual symphonic music which points to the past as well as the future, augmented by his trademark guitar playing throughout. Vocally he has never sounded better. Vocals are well to the fore and Bill sounds so confident and you can tell that these songs are important to him. This has been a labour of love. There is a sense of poignant nostalgia which weaves throughout this album, not just for the funfair rides and seaside piers now long gone, but also to the music of the day, the burgeoning rise of rock and roll which would prove so influential to a young Nelson.

This is without doubt Bill’s most personal albums and without doubt, one of his most inspired and adventurous too. Sail on Bill!

1 Comments:

Blogger Johnny Jazz said...

Couldn't agree more with your review of 'Sailor Bill'. It is yet another change in direction. I found it very different to anything I'd previously heard by Mr Bill. Very much a labour of love and it shows. Niceee.

11:15 PM  

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