on 29 August 2013
I had been a fan of Bill Nelson's work for several years when I bought this album on it's initial vinyl release. I had previously bought the 12 inch single of Sex, Psyche, Etc (the last three tracks on this release were included on the 12 inch single) and didn't really understand or enjoy the music at the time. Being a hardcore fan, I bought this album despite some reservations.
Even on first listen this album was clearly an instant classic. It pushed the boundaries of what I had been exposed to back then. It's essentially an instrumental album but each track contains several "found" vocals taken from various vintage radio and film sources. These vocals are used often in a mesmerizing, repetitive way laid over Bill's complex keyboard textures. Despite the obvious lack of the standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure, these songs are surprisingly immediate but repeated listens will reveal greater depths.
Some of the tracks, such as The Gods Speak and Who He Is, can be a little taxing hence only a four star review.
Highlights include Christ Via Wires, Clock Conscious, Eastern Electric and News From Nowhere. The attention to detail in the mixing, matching and splicing of the vocal parts is quite amazing, particularly when you remember that this was recorded way before the days of digital cut and paste. I often wonder just how long these pieces took to create. A welcome re-release and a glimpse of a true genius at work.
on 17 January 2014
A piece of pure genius. Sound montage, sonic tour de force, sound landscape creations which still stand the test of time. Bill Nelson's Orchestra Arcana - Iconography album conveys such vivid surreal dreamscapes through film,tv and radio cutups spun together with playful rhythms, beautiful synthesizer layers and touches of exquisite guitar work. One of my top ten albums.