Exposé Online banner

Bill Nelson — Whimsy
(Fabled Quixite USR103CD, 2003, 2CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2004-04-01

Whimsy Cover artKeeping up with Bill Nelson is a difficult task. The man is so prolific that new releases seem to be a mere by-product of his breathing. Luckily he’s supremely talented, and apparently has hit upon an economic model that can support his art. Whimsy is a 2CD set of song-oriented material, and as the title implies, focuses on the lighter side of the spectrum. As a one-man band, Nelson manages to avoid a sterile, self-absorbed sound, and achieves a seamless integration of live playing and programming that is quite enjoyable. The use of samples and loops is high-tech, but the great guitar playing melds the sound into a playful mix of old and new, like the application of the adventurous spirit of the psychedelic era to modern techniques. Nelson has long favored the imagery of pulp science fiction, and the music matches that “retro-futurist” style. It’s been a while since the guitar hero of BeBop Deluxe really wailed, and while the solos come in short doses on Whimsy, there are plenty of them, with a wide variety of styles, textures and effects represented. The samples I mentioned provide a kind of underlying theme to the music, with bits of old movies, orchestra flourishes, and who knows what else as accents, commentaries, and countermelodies to Nelson’s own work. The production is stellar, with his long history of ambient recordings serving him well in the details of atmosphere, ranging from outer space to the old west, sometimes in the same track.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Nelson

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ellis Marsalis - Ruminations in New York – Piano ballads! Whether you are seducing the ladies or getting stone drunk to forget them, a languid piano ballad replete with blue notes, suspended chords, and finger rolls is a perfect tone-setter....  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues