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

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

K Leimer - The Useless Lesson – At first listen, it might seem like The Useless Lesson takes two paths, one of melodic avant-garde chamber explorations, and another of more spacious ambient territory, interleaved throughout the...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues