Resurgence 1995 / Cocteau Discs 2014
Axeman deluxe explores his inner macrocosm in search of balance.
Mid-’90s looked gloomy for former BE-BOP DELUXE guitarist: that’s possibly why Bill Nelson opted for spontaneity as a new compositional approach, and this album, just like its predecessor, "Practically Wired", was written in a studio. Such an instantaneous, if volatile, nature can be summed up in a line from “Memory Babe” which quite boisterously points out that “it’s a Zen moment by then again it’s not,” after depicting the artist’s mood as “excellent spirits,” although it could also be a function of Bill’s fascination with the Beatniks and their cut-up technique, applied to music here.
He reconnects to “sonic youth” remembered in the Dylanesque self-mockery of “Old Goat” whence the opening buzz of “Deeply Dazzled” comes from to define those spirits in the drum ‘n’ bass environment of clipped solos and a jazzy piano dew. Adding to surrealistic dizziness, “Dreamster 2.L.R.” spins backward vignettes and “Flipside” gloriously strikes with a sampled trumpet as if to offset Nelson’s rapping vocals. Yet the sharpest contrast comes with the blues given a techno injection in “Skull Baby Cluster” and harmonica attack in “Ordinary Idiots” as well as with the twangy rockabilly of “Wow! It’s Scootercar Sexkitten!” whereas the vibrant, William Blake-inspired “Rocket To Damascus” tempers its riffs with synthetic beats.
“Boost those big-time blues guitars,” goes “Blink-Agog” which finds music of the spheres in the song of a satellite. And it’s fitting that the following year saw Bill Nelson, back in the possession of his catalogue, on the rise again.