British guitarist Bill Nelson has been an industrious artiste since the 70s, especially after leading the short-lived, yet critically praised progressive rock unit Be-Bop Deluxe, where his formidable skills came to light. Since the 80s, he's compiled a vast discography as a solo artist amid a stint with the ambient rock band Channel Light Vessel among various cinematic projects and collaboration with ambient-electronica master, Harold Budd on Three White Roses and a Budd (Twentythree Records, 2002) and other endeavors.
UK-based Esoteric/Cherry Red Records has reissued a number of Nelson's solo albums over the years, and After the Satellite Sings is among his finest recorded dates, signifying one of many albums where he performs as a multi-instrumentalist. Originally released in 1995, this production also reminds us that he was on the fast-track when embracing digital technology. In addition to drum programming, Nelson handles the vocals, keys and synths parts to great effect, often flavored by his manifold guitar phrasings.
Bassist Ian Leese and Dave Cook, who uses the electronic drum octapad lend their hands on a few tracks. Otherwise, Nelson's game-plan consists of largely, vibrant and changeable motifs complete with memorable hooks and a prismatic array of melodic content. These polytonal performances boast many up-tempo grooves, interspersed with concise paradigm shifts; his sustain guitar licks, and soundscapes inflected with Middle Eastern voicings and delicate harmonic overlays. He incorporates numerous rock-based persuasions while also integrating jazzy riffs.
Ultimately, it's a song-oriented endeavor. For example, on "Streamliner" his subdued and poetic vocals atop a mid-tempo groove infer notions that he's letting the listener in on a little secret, and "Zoom Sequence" tenders a quaint melody floating above a sturdy backbeat and enamored by a harmonious and catchy synth passage. Here, Nelson summons recollections of the 70s British Canterbury prog rock scene, triggered by his howling guitar solo and stately themes. Moreover, certain pieces integrate blithe balladry, world music percussion treatments, clipped narratives and vintage Brian Eno style dark ambience on "V-Ghost." The alluring outcomes of these 15-works vividly demonstrate Nelson's all-inclusive musicality and exhaustive imaginative powers, speckled with sporadic doses of fun and frolic.
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