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Excellent Spirits

Channel Light Vessel

album - 30 July 1996

Excellent Spirits - Cover


01)  The Invisible Spectator

02)  Footsteps     

03)  Haiku Detour (Bop Kyoto)     

04)  Birdie     

05)  Loose Connections     

06)  Eternal Lightbulbs (For The Infinite Stars)     

07)  Slow Jig And Whirligig     

08)  Stone In Your Palm     

09)  Accordion Night     

10)  The Offering     

11)  Same Shape, Different Meaning

12)  Everything Everywhere

13)  The Century That Dared To Dream

Bonus Tracks (Japanese release only)
14)  Decode Me Baby     
15)  Clear Controls Confirmed


Excellent Spirits is the second and, to date, most recent album issued by Channel Light Vessel.  The album was recorded at Fairview Studios, Hull.  The album features most of the musicians as on their debut, Automatic, with Bill Nelson, Roger Eno, Kate St. John, and Laraaji being joined by Ian Leese, who provided bass guitar on most tracks.

The original CD edition of the album was issued in the UK (on All Saints Records), USA (on Gyroscope), and Japan (on Polydor).  Japanese copies contain 2 exclusive bonus tracks (listed above).  Unusually for a Nelson related release, the download edition on the US iTunes site includes the 2 bonus tracks included on the Japanese CD issue.


A repackaged version of the album was issued in the UK in 2006 in revised artwork and with new catalogue number, but with the standard track listing.  This title is out of print, but still available as a download through major online retailers.

Automatic, Practically Wired, Return to Tomorrow, Blue Moons and Laughing Guitars, Luminous,
My Secret Studio, Confessions of a Hyperdreamer, After the Satellite Sings


"Channel Light Vessel...was one of the most interesting and satisfying collaborations of my career, along with my work with Harold Budd.

Both album's are, in my obviously biased opinion, excellent.  I tend to favour the second one over the first...but only slightly.  I co-wrote the songs with the other members of the band and produced the albums too...The record label was 'All Saints', run by Dominic Norman-Taylor, Brian Eno's brother-in-law.  And of course, Brian's brother Roger was one of the band along with Kate St. John, Laraaji, Mayumi Tachibana and myself.  We also had fun making a low-budget promotional video, (which I directed), for the song "Testify".  We were, I think, ahead of our time.  Thoughtful but warmly romantic music that embraced and united all sorts of styles and genres as a cohesive whole. (Something that my own work has done for many years)."


"CLV was an unlikely but, in retrospect, extremely fruitful collaboration between people who genuinely had a lot of love and respect for each other.  I'm very proud to have been associated with the project."


From a Roger Eno Interview:

Eno does nevertheless shed light on some aspects of the magic ingredients that went into Excellent Spirits.  Bizarre instrument credits on the inlay, like 'spookshow keyboards', 'falling stars', 'space birds', 'lickety loops' and 'bagpipes from Venus' were the product of Bill Nelson's fertile imagination, while some of the wackier repeated vocal samples on the album, like "make your vision your mission", or "accordion night" were all courtesy of Laraaji, who apparently is heavily into spiritual things.  The track "Accordion Night", which features the aforementioned Laraaji sample, and is made up of Spanish and dance hall music elements, serves as a good example of how the four members drew all these disparate elements together: "Laraaji had to leave before the end, so we tried to get everything off him that we needed before he left, including several vocal samples. We took the "accordion night" one, then Bill would have a tape loop, I may have given a chord sequence, and Kate a melody."

"After that, one thing sparks off another.  The pieces write themselves really, although I know that sounds a bit stupid.  But we're really making it up as we go along.  It's like knitting without a pattern, and then suddenly you realise it starts to look like a glove." [Laughs out loud.]      [ Sound on Sound Magazine, October 1996 ]


Tony M:

"The variety of style and the musicianship really stand out, unlike anything released during the mid 90's and even now for that matter.  "Bill's Last Waltz", "Everything Everywhere" and "The Invisible Spectator" are favorites amongst the other great songs.

For those here at the Forum that have yet to experience Channel Light Vessel, I believe that both CDs have been reissued.  You will not be disappointed."


"Kate on her website is very complimentary about how Bill would play a certain bit of ebow then just let others develop the tune, always a winner in collabs and such.  Those guys worked so well together and should have been more of a 'commercial' success than they actually were.

Of all the 'Bill' related CDs I own, these are 2 of my most favourites, no, they are my 2 most favourite....No Bill Nelson fan should be without these 2 masterpieces.  Hmmm - time for some "Bubbling Blue" me thinks !!"

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