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Dreamy Screens

box set - 8 December 2017

Bill Nelson

Dreamy Screens - Cover
Sounding the Ritual Echo cover
Das Kabinett cover
La Belle et La Bete cover

Sounding The Ritual Echo:

01)  Annunciation

02)  The Ritual Echo

03)  Sleep

04)  Near East

05)  Emak Bakia

06)  My Intricate Image

07)  Endless Orchids

08)  The Heat In The Room

09)  Another Willingly Opened Window

10)  Vanishing Parades

11)  Glass Fish (For The Final Aquarium)

12)  Cubical Domes

13)  Ashes Of Roses

14)  The Shadow Garden

15)  Opium

Das Kabinett:

01)  The Asylum

02)  Waltz

03)  The Fairground

04)  Doctor Caligari

05)  Cesare The Sonambulist

06)  Murder

07)  The Funeral

08)  The Sonambulist And The Children

09)  Caligari Disciplines Cesare

10)  Caligari Feeds Cesare

11)  Caligari Opens The Cabinet

12)  Jane Discovers Cesare

13)  The Attempted Murder Of Jane

14)  The Dream Dance Of Jane And The Sonambulist

15)  Escape Over The Rooftops

16)  The Unmasking

17)  The Shot

18)  The Cabinet Closes

La Belle Et La Bête:

01)  Overture

02)  The Family

03)  Sisters And Sedan Chairs

04)  In The Forest Of Storms

05)  The Castle

06)  The Gates

07)  The Corridor

08)  The Great Hall

09)  Dreams (The Merchant Sleeps)

10)  Fear (The Merchant Wakes)

11)  The Rose And The Beast

12)  Magnificent (The White Horse)

13)  Beauty Enters The Castle

14)  The Door

15)  The Mirror

16)  Candelabra And Gargoyles

17)  Beauty And The Beast

18)  Transition No. 1

19)  Transition No. 2

20)  The Hunt

21)  The Gift

22)  The Garden

23)  Transition No. 3

24)  Transition No. 4

25)  The Tragedy

26)  Transition No. 5

27)  The Enchanted Glove

28)  Tears As Diamonds (The Gift Reverses)

29)  The Beast In Solitude

30)  The Return Of Magnificent

31)  Transition No. 6 (The Journey)

32)  The Pavilion Of Diana

33)  Transformation No. 1

34)  Transformation No. 2

35)  The Final Curtain


Dreamy Screens is a limited edition 3CD boxed set that compiles three early Bill Nelson instrumental works initially issued in the period 1981-82. The albums included in the box set are Sounding the Ritual Echo, Das Kabinett and La Belle et la Bête. The subtitle, Soundtracks from the Echo Observatory, is a reference to Nelson's domestic recording facility. The Echo Observatory was situated in a room above his kitchen, and remained the creative centrepiece for his more experimental recordings spanning a ten year period that began in 1979.


Both Sounding the Ritual Echo and La Belle et la Bête were initially released as a limited editions of 10,000 copies, included with the initial pressings of Quit Dreaming and Get on the Beam and The Love That Whirls respectively. In that context, the albums are inextricably tied to those major releases, and can be seen as representing one side of the two-fold aspect to Nelson's creative approach.

This box set is part of the Esoteric/Cherry Red series of reissues on Cocteau Discs. Each album is presented in individual card sleeves, reproducing the albums' original artwork (which were jettisoned in favour of new sleeves when these titles were last reissued between 1985 and 1989). Das Kabinett and La Belle et la Bête are appearing in the UK on CD for the first time, having been previously available on the US reissues on Enigma.


This 3 CD box set is available to purchase in the Dreamsville Store.


     Trial By Intimacy, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights, Altar Pieces, Simplex, Map of Dreams,

     Iconography, Optimism, Savage Gestures, Chameleon, Crimsworth, Sleepcycle & other Cocteau Club eps


"At the time, I saw Ritual Echo as being more indicative of my inner, deeper self (in 'artistic' terms), whilst Quit Dreaming was perhaps a little more superficial, closer to my commercially minded work. Perhaps I was still chasing fame and fortune with one hand but rejecting it with the other. Here and now, in the 21st Century, the production quality of Ritual seems, (to my ears), simplistic and dated, but its approach and content feels contemporary and connected to my current creativity."


"Whilst I understand that some people might have thought of these recordings as 'experimental' or 'avant garde', I never really approached them in that way...for me, they seemed accessible, direct, and far from difficult...All I wanted to do was make music which transcended limitations of genre and instead came across as beautiful and timeless. To achieve that goal, now more than ever, is the driving force behind my music."

"In some ways, that period of my life was very exciting as there seemed to be a very open-minded spirit in the air. People were, it seems, a little less less conservative than now and more ready to experiment and foster a more artistic approach to popular music.
These days it seems as if there's a reluctance to open up to beauty and wonder, an element of dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator. It's as if cynicism and pessimism has triumphed over good faith and optimism.  Cocteau's work celebrates the artistic vision and the inner life and does so without shame, irony or embarrassment. Beauty is the brave hero and the Beast is subdued by her power. A lovely metaphor for the civilising influence of Art."

"Context has a lot to do with it. Also, not to beat around the bush, it's an 'art' piece, not pop, rock or ambient. It was also made with very slender resources, minimal recording gear, (four track), and primitive instrumentation. It's music to accompany a theatrical performance, but, if you can dig it, it also works on its own as semi-abstract sonic fragments, little vignettes of sound. It's a bit like painting. Close your eyes and let your imagination project pictures. It might help to see Cocteau's film, (the music fits it almost as well as it fitted the stage production). If you like it, great, if you don't, no problem.

"Sometimes I make music for lots of people to enjoy, sometimes for just a few to enjoy. Of course, I personally enjoy making ALL of it and I think of it as just one continuous expression of my creative life. But, some people might say that Be Bop and Red Noise comprise my mainstream, mass market work, the 'ambient' instrumentals are for folks who like to float, dream and chill, and things like Beauty and The Beast, Caligari and Crimsworth are for art gallery and theatre goers...and so on, (add your own categorisations according to taste, personal bias, etc). At the end of the day, they're all just aspects of my personality, reflecting my interests, curiosity and passions.

"I've often talked about the wide range of music that I enjoy listening to and the equally wide range of film, art and literature. Add a dash of occultism, esoterica and left of centre philosophy and you'll get an idea of what all this diversity adds up to when I choose tones, textures and forms to express my own inner life. There's no escaping the fact that it's deeply personal music and that it only entertains by accident, rather than design. But...when in doubt, simply shove it all in a big box and simply call it MUSIC. Nothing more, nothing less. Everyone knows music...It's the food of LOVE. And we're ALL forever hungry for that."



Review by Dmitry M. Epstein



"Sounding the Ritual Echo eventually had more of an an effect on me than its parent [Quit Dreaming] -- [Sounding] is probably part responsible for the way that I started to look at certain things as a young kid - not just this fractured set of sounds full of intention and serendipity but titles such as "Glass Fish for the Final Aquarium" really got my imagination.  It's a haunting album full of sounds that conjure up images I can't ever explain. I played QDAGOTB on the way to work today because of these posts reminding me of the 30 year anniversary and played Sounding the Ritual Echo on the way back - I think it's got to be one of the most evocative albums I have the pleasure to possess."

John Izzard:

"A quick word about Bill's demos and sketches. It was many of those early demos, including Sounding the Ritual Echo and the Trial by Intimacy box set that inspired confidence in me to make my own music and helped shape my attitude towards the creative process. Those records taught me that it was not necessarily about the big production, budget - or 'being signed', but the seed of an idea being the important thing. I'm sure many other musicians, here and elsewhere, feel the same.
It was brave of Bill to release those pieces in their raw form...although the truth is, the music and ideas were strong enough to stand naked and proud, without the need for further stylization or polish."


"There is a lot of interesting detail here, and as usual, marvelous and unique sounding synths, creating an appropriately spine-chilling character in places."


"As the years have passed, I find that if I have Das Kabinett, Trial By Intimacy (The Book of Splendours) and Savage Gestures for Charms Sake playing in the background, I seem to become more creative at anything that I happen to be doing, at the same time I'm listening. So I've come to appreciate the different facets of Bill's creativity all the more."

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