CD1 - These Stars Are Fire
01) What Furnace Is Thy Brain?
02) My Dreamy Life
03) The Latest Delay
04) Icing On The Cake
05) Summer Comes In Colour
08) These Stars Are Fire
10) A Song Of Heart And Mind
11) Bugging Me
12) Contrary Wise
13) Let Me Dream You From Afar
14) Wide Awake/Half Asleep
15) All Hail The Dreamer (Miss Futurama Smiles)
CD2 - Mysterium
01) Beyond Yonder
02) When Midnight Falls
04) Holy Of Holies (Waiting For The Night)
05) Mysterious Mysterium
06) Orson's Ghost
07) Back Of Beyond
08) Who's That Floating Above The Trees?
11) Luna Rosa
12) Ghosts Of Ancient Orchestras
13) Only One Blue Moon
14) A Long Time Ago
15) Alone In A Lunar Light
CD3 - Plus Ultra
01) Dali's Dream Of Venus
02) March Of The Metaphysicians
03) The Science Of Extraordinary Things
04) In The Neighbourhood Of Normal (My Style Of Writing)
05) Aqua Celeste
06) There Is A Moment
08) From Another Place
09) The Eye Of Heaven Shines
10) In The Land Of Far Beyond
11) Super-Hyper Hocus Locus
12) Waiting For The Midnight Flyer
14) Rockers Of The Rosy Cross
15) An Ordinary Man
16) The Last Transmission
Auditoria is a triple album of vocal pieces and instrumental tracks issued on the Sonoluxe label in a limited edition of 500 copies. The Auditoria album was recorded between February and August 2018, and was especially created to tie in with Nelson's 70th birthday event, Plectronica – Bill Nelson at 70, staged at Leeds University Clothworker's Hall on 1 December 2018.
The album began life as a single album initially given the title Stylus, but was barely a month into production when it grew into a double album with a revised title These Stars Are Fire. Never one to let his plans remain fixed for too long, Nelson continued recording more material for the album and expanded his plans a second time, resulting in These Stars Are Fire becoming his first triple album (of entirely new material). With over 40 tracks completed for the project Nelson was forced into replacing his trusty drum machine, an Akai MPC 2500, that had served him so well over the past decade or so. As a replacement unit, Nelson invested in a new Akai model, an MPC X.
By August, Nelson had accumulated an astonishing 55 new recordings for the project, at which point he was settling on the final track listing and considering how the 3 CD set should be packaged. Not only had the album been expanded into a triple, Nelson also assigned a new title to the work, Auditoria. However, each album within the package would be given individual titles. Disc 1 of the set retained These Stars Are Fire as its title, with disc 2 named Mysterium. Nelson had several alternate titles for disc 3, with his initial choices being either State of Play or This Way or That. Soon both titles were abandoned in favour of Secret Knowledge, only for that title to be replaced with Plus Ultra.
The album was mastered by John Spence at Fairview between 29 August and 31 August 2018, although not without a nerve-wrecking incident that threatened to derail the entire mastering session. The frustrating tale involves a jammed DAT tape, a malfunctioning back up disc, and in general - gremlins! For a detailed account of these unexpected hurdles see Nelson's journal entry here.
With the album successfully mastered, Nelson then turned his attention to the artwork. Initially he had intended that the album would be housed in a triple fold out digi-pack. But concerns over the costs of that design caused him to re-think, settling instead for 3 individual jewel cases to house each album, all contained within a card slip case. Assembly of the sleeve design fell to Martin Bostock working from images that Nelson had selected in early September 2018.
Among the material listed for possible inclusion on Auditoria, but omitted from the final track listing, are a number of currently unused pieces, namely: "The Clock that Tells the Time", "Drifting Through Your Dreams", "The Woman of Tomorrow", "The Driving Force", "Through These Windows Wonder Comes", "Billy's Blues", "My Shadow Cast By Midnight Moon", and "Everycat". It remains to be seen what Nelson does with this surplus material.
Auditoria was initially made available exclusively to attendees of the Plectronica – A Celebration of Bill Nelson at 70 birthday event held on 1 December 2018. All copies sold that evening had been signed in advance by Nelson.
The remaining 325 copies went on sale through SOS on 3 December 2018 and sold out in less than 24 hours.
Available for purchase as a digital download here in the Dreamsville Store.
"Feeling very positive about everything on the sessions so far, though I've yet to call a halt and sort through all the finished material to choose the album's final running order. I'm really enjoying the process though and feel completely at one with my guitars which, in their various guises, are providing me with lots of inspiration.
The album will cover a lot of the musical territory I've traversed over the years. There's rock, pop-rock, left-field jazz, ambient, experimental, a touch of acoustic, some synth based stuff and plenty of vocals and instrumentals. I intend to mix it all up and not divide the three discs into separate generic categories...a surprise on every track for every listener."
"Many of the vocal pieces have surreal, 'stream of consciousness' lyrics that contain their own illogical kind of logic. An example: "The driving force is in the fuse/Eddie sings the 'Summertime Blues'/The square of the hypotenuse is not my style..." And so on..."
"The track I remixed [today] is titled "The Science of Extraordinary Things". It's a vocal piece in an almost '70s country waltz style but mutates into a jazzy coda which then mutates again into a kind of abstract sonic assault. A track that, on one level, is quite straight but, on another level, utterly bizarre. Don't know whether to love it or hate it. Emi, it seems, loves it for some reason. Says it reminds her of Be Bop Deluxe. (She hasn't heard the chaotic racket on the end though!)"
"It's not a perfectly honed, tightly arranged album. It has many rough edges and spontaneously improvised components, but it is, nevertheless, an interesting amalgam of many facets of my music, a kind of cornucopia of styles...maybe something for everyone?"
"It's a very rich feast though...I would recommend that listeners don't attempt to take the entire three discs in in one listening session. Just enjoy one disc at a time, allowing it to sink in.
It's one of those albums that will grow with repeated listenings, some of it is easy, some of it challenging, but all of it will be satisfying, over time."
"Loving it! Some very beautiful stuff on all 3! Been listening to it a lot! Fave of the whole set at the moment is CD2, track2, 'When Midnight Falls'...Just beautiful! Too short!"
"Bill never fails to amaze me, and always produces quality albums.
Auditoria has been on constantly since I was fortunately able to get a copy at Nelsonica. Beautiful sounds, layers & textures.
I have recently had some bad news and this album has been a huge help to me when I've been in the deepest and darkest of places and because of this I will treasure this piece of work/art/music.
Thank you Bill."
" 'Immersive' seems an overused term these days, but I think it applies to Auditoria. Also, after noticing the varied styles, it now seems a very cohesive trilogy to me. I think the packaging helps in that (I was lucky enough to get the physical album) and certainly colours the way I experience the music - in a subtle way at least. I've been listening to it a lot; it really does create a whole universe you want to spend time in to recharge the batteries of poetic sensibility, as it were (and to get away from the more depressing and tedious aspects of everyday living!)."
"Any amount of Mr. Nelson never seems enough. Single, EP, album, multi-album, MEGA-ALBUM - he's a prolific whiz that will never stop. Bravo, sir!"