Reeves Gabrels - Bill Nelson
album - 7 July 2014
01) And The Train Left The Station Trailing Sparks And Stars
02) Infernal Apparatus
03) Revenge Of The Coda Kings
04) A Brilliant Night For Rain
05) Ghosts Behind Glass
07) Honeybee In Autumn
08) Orange Turning Blue
10) Radio Andalusia
11) Fantastic Guitars
Fantastic Guitars is a collaboration with fellow guitarist Reeves Gabrels (Tin Machine, David Bowie, The Cure), an instrumental album issued on the Sonoluxe label.
The project appears to have been suggested by Gabrels in or around 2003, and was first added to Nelson's schedule of projects shortly after Nelsonica 10 but would take a further two years to take off, with the first tentative recording sessions occurring over a couple of days in January 2013. Those initial sessions produced 2 finished tracks, and in the run up to the recording Nelson seemed content to assume it would simply result in "an interesting EP."
The pair reconvened the following month, and by June, the project had most certainly developed into a full blown album, with 5 tracks completed by then and a view to doing a further 5 to complete their work. Gabrels and Nelson then added to their work in progress that September with a further 3 tracks, before finally completing the project the following month. The album title took some time to stabilize, and at one point was referred to as Plectrajet before settling on Fantastic Guitars, which was confirmed to the Dreamsville community in April 2014.
As with Joy Through Amplification and Blip! before it, Fantastic Guitars was unveiled with a launch party, held in London on 7 July, at which pre-release copies of the album were available to purchase.
In order to provide enough copies for fans of both musicians, 1500 copies of Fantastic Guitars were pressed, instead of the now traditional run of 500 copies.
The album went on general sale on 18 July 2014 and sold out in November 2018.
Available for purchase as a digital download here in the Dreamsville Store.
Six String Super Apparatus, Romance of Sustain, Plectrajet, Orpheus in Ultraland, Tripping The Light Fantastic
"The mighty Reeves Gabrels and myself, (Sonic Masons By Appointment to the Emperor Ming), have spent the last two days sitting next to each other in my little home studio, guitars slung around our shoulders, grinning like Alice's Wonderland Cheshire Cat as we laid down tracks for our collaborative recording project...
All I can say is that you are going to get a genuine kick out of this, just as I have done from enjoying such a relaxed and positive relationship with Reeves these last two days.
Unfortunately, I did have to use duck tape to strap two of the fingers on his left hand down, (in an attempt to even up the odds), but he still managed to make the jump to hyper-speed and left me spinning my rocket motors in a cloud of stardust!"
"What's been interesting about the project for me, is just how compatible our playing is on the recordings...we probably have as much in common in our approaches as we have differences. The blend is such that the listener may well be wrong-footed over who is playing what...it sounds organic and integrated. It's not at all like those old-school guitar battles that can feel artificial and forced...Instead it flows naturally and you can hear our friendship and mutal respect in the music we make together."
"Both Reeves and I are musicians with broad and eclectic tastes...rock, jazz, blues, classical, country, pop, avant-garde and more inform our musical sensibilities and you'll find evidence of all that in 'Fantastic Guitars' but in what I consider to be a uniquely mutated form. There's spontaneity and thoughtfulness, little 'in-jokes' and oblique musical references. Lots of fun and games, intelligence and passion in the album...and certainly no lack of melody. It's two guitarists celebrating their favoured instruments in a spirit of shared joyfulness."
"The album contains lots of detail...some of it on the surface, some almost hidden but revealing itself the more you listen. It all fits together like a colourful psychedelic jig-saw puzzle.
There are some deliberately confrontational, avant-garde moments too, mainly in "Ghosts Behind Glass" and "Orange Turning Blue", but I think perhaps the album's underlying idea was to create a 'mash-up' of guitar sounds and styles, something that constantly mutates in generic terms throughout each piece, rather than 'here's a rock track, and this one's a jazz track, and the next one's a funk track' or whatever. Each track is in a constant state of flux, shape-shifting and twisting and morphing. It's an adventure, guided by two like-minded explorers."
"What we've come up with so far can only be described as non-blues, non-pentatonic, neo-modernist, expressionistic, electro-jazzmatazz, rock n' roll surrealism. Or something like that. Or even not..."
"You want fast, searing solo lines? Tick! You want sustained legato passages? Tick! You want jazzy phrases? Tick! How about harmonic complexity, multiple layers, quirky textures, experimental noises, non-linear arrangements? Yep, you can tick all those too! Not so much a duo, more of a seething guitar orchestra."
"This album is not for the faint-hearted, nor for those with short attention spans or conservative tastes. It's a full-on assault for real men with rayguns and those who yearn for hyper-active, super-cosmic guitars! Not so much afternoon tea in the high street, more like an intellectual bar-room brawl on Mars. Tequila, Vino and Vibrance!"
"It's a multi-layered thing, kind of sonic architecture, or a six-string action painting. Just take your time with it, be patient, and eventually the window will open wide a present panoramic realms of guitar risk-taking. Trust me, I'm an artist!"
Review by David Quantick for Classic Rock Magazine
"I called in on Bill & Emi yesterday, and Bill was kind enough to play me some of the new material he has been working on, including the pieces with Reeves. I do have to say this collaboration is something very special. Reeves and Bill both compliment and contrast each other perfectly, and the material they have so far recorded is nothing short of awesome.
I wholeheartedly recommend you snap this up quickly when it sees its release, else you will be kicking yourself for a long, long time!"
"My head is spinning from some of the amazing guitar licks....how many fingers do you two fellows have?!! Brilliant...Yes highly recommended...I wish there were more musicians out there like Bill and Reeves...the envelope has moved again...thank you very much."
"I think it's really beyond "Fantastic!" Especially the out of control feedback/trem/improv passages. You can tell the boys had fun with their toys. Cheers!"
"I like how Reeves brings out Bill's spikier edge on some of these songs. It's fun to hear Bill do some hard rockin' too."
"Fun stuff. An all out attack of effects guitars with the typical trademark "Billisms" (found voices, some keyboard wooshes, and stereo effects). Good times."
"I made the mistake of popping it in to my car stereo while going to see a friend. I arrived at my friend's house simultaneously drooling and giggling... which was rather embarrassing considering I was standing in his livingroom at the time...I'm still at the "shock and awe" stage of listening, as some of the guitar tones are just other worldly... maybe that's what caused the drooling. A summertime sonic sorbet that reveals new flavors with every listen. Delicious AND fat-free!"
"I had a similar experience. I had to go across town yesterday so I burned a copy of FGs for the "trip" and headed on down the road...unsure of what I was about to hear. L.A. 101 freeway traffic, grafitti lathered walls, looming skyscrapers, gritty streets just west of downtown, hustle and bustle of city life, the chaos of people moving in all directions, etc...
and it was all just fine with me! Drove around with a big fat grin on my face while listening to Fantastic Guitars! This one is not just right up my alley, it's also down my street, over my overpass, through my tunnel, and flows down my freeway!"
"Well, I absolutely love this album. A Guitar work without tired blues licks, with some spine tingling moments and a bit of hooliganism thrown in.
It's been a while my friends since I've felt compelled to play air guitar, but "Coda Kings" took me away. "A Brilliant Night For Rain", and a brilliant night for buddies to jam too by the sound of it, Jeff Beck-ish in places! Non cheesy, non metal rock guitar. And "Ghosts Behind Glass" had me smiling from ear to ear, one of the highlights I think. It's one of those rare CDs that seems to be over too soon. Can't wait for the follow up!
I can't stop playing it, only my other recent purchase, the marvellous Signals From Realms of Light is competing with it. With every release Bill's playing seems more confident and extrovert, always evolving..."
"I find that I cannot take this off my player. What can I say? I love it!
I find myself humming the tunes to myself absent-mindedly lately!"
"There are some tracks on this that just blow my mind... and I'm not even a "guitar guy" really."
"In my opinion, this CD is exactly what its title states... Fantastic Guitars. It is a CD of fantastic guitar performance and sounds. In fact, I jotted down my initial remarks after listening firsthand which were as follows... "A myriad of guitar mastery and technique exploding into a vortex of constant yet an ever changing, cascading, waterfall of sounds." A true treasure of a CD that will undoubtedly take the listener to new worlds with every continual listen. Considering the amount of time that Bill and Reeves actually spent together on this project, and the music that they have created in that short working time in itself... is absolutely astounding! Great songwriting is something that doesn't usually just happen...
Thank-you most graciously Reeves and Bill for your Fantastic Guitars!!! Hopefully, this will not be your last works together as I'm sure you both realize the possibilities of your artistic merits together are endless."