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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Black Noodle Project - Play Again – Thick and chunky spacerock mannerisms assault unsuspecting onlookers before settling into the interactive stylistic conflagrations that expansive progressive rock is known for. This is classic...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues