Bill Nelson: Chimera
Chimera by Bill Nelson
1. The Real Adventure 4:11
2. Acceleration 3:56
3. Everyday Feels Like Another New Drug 4:38
4. Tender Is The Night 5:09
5. Glow World 4:05
6. Another Day Another Ray Of Hope 5:22
7. Hard Facts From The Fiction Department 3:35
This is a remarkable and I believe exceptionally great mini-album from the massive back catalogue of Bill Nelson, formerly of Be Bop Deluxe.
For me, this is one of Nelson's most accessible works. Even though I'm a Nelson fan, I will admit that some of his stuff is really only for his diehards.
His recorded output is well known to be colossal and of course by this it has necessarily been of variable quality. After all he can't have good ideas all the time and he does do everything himself (from the music to production to artwork). He is a very talented guy but you get the feeling that every now and then he just needs someone honest around to tell him to file one or other track, sketch or poem.
However on Chimera, Nelson just hit every nail right on the head, even down to the minstrel poseur on the cover. It originally appeared in the mid eighties when his artistic flame was in partial recession from the dizzy heights of Be Bop Deluxe.
Originally an extended EP, it was released in the USA as Vistamix with a lot of extra tracks, so if you ever get chance to track that down, then please do so!
It was also released with a mini-instrumental album, but that is almost impossible to get hold of, but the Chimera mini-album is still available and that is seven near perfect tracks for the electro loving amongst us.
The lyrics are good and the musical arrangements are simply stunning.
Sometimes Chimera even borders on the funky!
It's awash with synths, quirky e-bow guitar and the as-per-usual remarkable bass sound of Mick Karn (Japan, Dalis Car)
Eons before musicians thought of "collaborations" with other musicians around the world, our Bill was already doing it. His mate, YMO's Yukihiro Takahashi recorded some drum tracks in Tokyo's Alfa studios, mailed them to Nelson in England and he recorded over the top of them to create some stunning musical landscapes.
'The Real Adventure' swoops and soars and Takahashi's drums still sound fresh and vibrant all these years later.
'Acceleration' and 'Everyday Feels Like Another New Drug' are almost poppy and are definately grooving.
The next three tracks, and what was originally the second side on the good old vinyl, are spellbinding and the cream of the crop. 'Tender Is The Night' is full of beautiful keyboards and aching e-bow guitars, while 'Glow World' is again swathed in lush keyboards, it's Karn fretless bass that steals the show.
'Another Day Another Ray Of Hope' is an absolutely perfect album closer, and has Nelson's vocals at their most emotive.
'Hard Facts From The Fiction Department' is an instrumental that was tagged onto the original mini-LP and it's the only thing here that sounds dated.
Chimera is a simply a wonderful driving sound from its time, from a truly gifted and multi talented artist.
With over 50 albums to his name it's not too easy to point the curious at just one album and say "try that!"
However, I think this is one of the ones I would choose, as it's my favourite piece of Bill Nelson work by far.