Joy Through Amplification
album - 9 July 2012
01) Ampex One
02) Sex Magic
03) Ampex Two
04) Vortexion Dream
05) Ampex Three
06) The Conjurer's Companion (Every Blessed Thing Is So Damned Fragile)
07) Ampex Four
08) Orpheus Dreams Of Disneyland
09) Ampex Five
10) Imps In The Undergrowth
11) Ampex Six
12) Arco Volta
13) Ampex Seven
14) Fire Gods Of The National Machine
15) Ampex Eight
16) To What Strange Place Will This Transport You?
17) Ampex Nine
18) Heaven Holds A Grand Parade
19) Ampex Ten
20) Weather Blows Wild Inside My Head
21) Ampex Eleven
22) Why Does It Do That?
23) Ampex Twelve
24) These Tall Blue Days (Are Lark Amazed)
25) Ampex Xtra
26) Monsters From Heaven (Flowers And Rain)
Joy Through Amplification: The Ultra-Fuzzy World of Priapus Stratocaster is an album combining vocal and brief instrumental pieces, issued in a one off print run of 1000 copies on the Sonoluxe label.
The main title for the album, Joy Through Amplification, was revealed on the Dreamsville forum in May 2011, and was intended for an album of songs written specifically for a five piece band (Combo Deluxe) that Nelson had hoped to form to undertake a UK tour in 2012. A small number of songs were completed by July 2011, but with a number of projects competing for time and material throughout a hectic year, Nelson struggled to make significant progress on the album for the remainder of 2011. Eventually the planned tour came to nothing, but Nelson retained the main title, and added an elaborate subtitle for an album that was somewhat different in content than initially intended.
Most of the work on Joy Through Amplification was completed in the first six weeks of 2012, and it was during this period when the idea of alternating each song with one of the series of 'Ampex' instrumentals was formed. Nelson went on to describe the instrumental segments as "an album within an album", inviting fans to listen to these pieces in isolation from the full album. On the day the album was being mastered at Fairview Studios, Nelson decided to add an extra track, "Monsters from Heaven", which had originally been destined to appear on The Dreamshire Chronicles.
The album's arrival was celebrated with its own launch party, staged on 9 July 2012. At this event, held at The Leeds Club (in Leeds), Nelson took part in a Q&A session in front of an audience of sixty paying guests, who each received a signed copy of the album and a signed limited edition art print on the night. Nelson's profile was aided by a few reviews of the album in the major publications. The album sold out on 14 October 2015.
Available for purchase as a digital download here in the Dreamsville Store.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ALBUM, YOU'LL PROBABLY ENJOY:
Fantastic Guitars, Special Metal, Orpheus in Ultraland, Fancy Planets, Satellite Songs, Plectrajet, Blip!,
Romance of Sustain, Captain Future's Psychotronic Circus, Blip 2, Golden Melodies of Tomorrow, Plaything
"Just to, er, arouse your curiosity, I'm currently working on a very peculiar instrumental album with the working title of The Mysterious Echo Chamber of Priapus Stratocaster. (I kid you not!)
This album contains a weird mix of long form and shorter pieces and features odd moments of wild, madman at the helm guitar solos, (ring modulated, overdriven and wah-wahed to Alpha Centuri and back), but set into unlikely frameworks.
It may trigger thoughts of the worst excesses of rock guitar imaginable but, at the same time, it's fused seamlessly with music similar in feel to some of the tracks on the Non-Stop Mystery Action, Theatre of Falling Leaves, and Captain Future's Psychotronic Circus albums. A wry blend of the sophistiCAT sublime, (meow...) and the spandex ridiculous. (And probably some of my nastiest, semi-atonal rock guitar lunacy since "The Revenge of the Man in the Burning Ice Cream Van".)
Those of you with a taste for the genuinely perverse will, I trust, love it!"
"Have been working somewhat intensely on Joy Through Amplification: The Fuzzy World of Priapus Stratocaster. It's turning out to be a neo-psychedelic, techno-metal album, (much as predicted). Hard, abrasive yet melodic and ecstatic too...a densely rich mix of guitar/vocal ideas with everything pumped up to the max. Headbanging for people with a library ticket? Well...hard to describe it accurately...you'll just have to wait and see...
For those of you who have been hankering for something rougher and grittier...this one may well float your leaky boat."
"The album is, in some ways, a response to those who have wanted a rock album from me. I could have done a '70s style, Be Bop Deluxe sort of thing, but there's little fun for me in that as I covered those bases all those years ago...so I thought I'd do something even more rock than Be Bop, but push it out of shape a little whilst incorporating some of the stylised machismo elements that real rock bands take so seriously, (much to my amusement!).
So there's some chugging, deliberately dumb and dirty riffs, squalling wah-wah guitars, semi-moronic drumming and even a touch of shredding."
"I'm also now experimenting with another approach to the album. I'm separating each main track or song with a series of brief, (all under two minutes), ambient-ish, minimalist guitar instrumentals or soundscapes, completely at odds with the main songs. I want these to function as 'palate cleansers', a glass of fresh water between the thickly sauced meats of the main dishes. I'm giving these little miniatures a group title: They will all be called 'AMPEX' but will carry a number. (So: 'Ampex One,' 'Ampex Two,' etc.). When I have enough 'Ampex' pieces I'll try to re-sequence the songs on the album with an 'Ampex' track between each, to break up the relentless textures of the album. It might just bring the project more into line with my own sensibilities. Or, of course, these 'Ampex' tracks might pursuade me that they should have an album of their own. We'll see."
"These little quirky guitar gems between tracks are very promising. The guitar sounds are quite processed and often un-guitar like...some people would think they're keyboard sounds, but they're not. Just filtered, delayed, reversed and digitally re-pitched electric guitars. Short and sweet. A nice contrast to the main tracks on the album. (And a gentle challenge to the more rock-oriented types who might not normally give time to such things)."
"The title 'Ampex' comes from the name of an analogue tape manufacturer whose reels of recording tape I used back in the '80s prior to my home studio going digital. It also fits in with the word 'Amplification'."
" 'Priapus Stratocaster' is, (in my feverish imagination), the ivy festooned god of loud guitars and woodland frolics...a close cousin of Pan, Bacchus and Hermes...round of belly, jovial in demeanour, cloven hoofed and upright of staff. Constantly in pusuit of the most ecstatic guitar solo and comely turn of ankle!"
"I've invented the persona of 'Priapus Stratocaster' for the album, Priapus being the Greek god responsible for the protection of fruit, gardens and male genitalia. He's usually depicted with a rather gargantuan erect phallus, chasing some diaphanous maiden or other. I thought it amusing to name a fictional, cartoon-like rock god after him. Adding 'Stratocaster' as his surname competed the joke as many rock guitarists weild Fender Stratocaster guitars in a crotch-humping, phallic manner. Factor in some virtual tight spandex pants, big hair and hysterical male posturing to complete the picture and there you have it: 'The Ultra Fuzzy World of Priapus Stratocaster'."
"Oh, and there's a sense of mickey-taking in the album's sub-title...I mean, 'Priapus Stratocaster?' C'mon, it's a jokey reference to 'cock rock,' is it not? The album is not quite as straightforward as it might at first seem...it's the work of a sly prankster. (Which is why one of the images is of a clown guitar)."
"I've never stopped making rock music, I've just expanded my musical base to include things on the fringe of it, and sometimes outside it entirely. And I've attempted to cross breed the form, to create interesting hybrids that might inspire the listener to listen beyond his or her 'comfort zone.' (And to get me to play outside of my comfort zone too)."
"Noisy as Hell and beautiful as Heaven!"
Bill's Listening Notes for the album: 'Joy Through Amplification' Listening Notes
"Well now...what an enjoyable day with Bill. Downloading and mastering tracks for Joy Through Amplification. You people are in for a real treat. If you love guitars you'll love this. If you love songs you'll love this. I'll say no more. I have the best job in the world but days like today make it very, very special."
"It's a complex, intricate, adult guitar-bash-up, it's a swagger and a hip-shake with poetry to boot, it's a wild marathon with some lovely "breathers" thrown in (so we can recuperate, before diving in again). It IS Joy Through Amplification."
"JTA is, in my humble opinion, Bill's greatest postmillennial piece of work (so far...! We want MORE, Bill!)"
"It's hard to ignore "Sex Magic" as one of the best on the album; Bill coaxes his guitar to soar and moan so freaking delightfully! Had this track a bit of crowd noise, a hardcore fan could close his eyes and hear it as a "lost" Be Bop Deluxe offering (as Bill alludes to in his notes, with the sonic DNA from "Panic")!
THIS is exactly what we want to hear, Bill.
Bravo, Bill, and Thank You.
More. Bring it on."
"The songs jump out at you, with maybe the highest energy level of a Bill cd in years. This is Bill's celebration of the instrument he loves, and a celebration of what he can do with it. And that celebration comes through loud and clear."
"Unbelievable guitar work. This is why for me Bill is the best guitarist ever, and by far the best songwriting guitarist ever! (A lot of the technical guys aren't much for writing.)"
"For me, JTA is the best release of Bill's career. I have not tired of it yet, and play tracks from it regularly. A high energy songwriting Masterpiece."
"Utterly fantastic. Man! You can still rip the hell out of a guitar!"
"The interlude pieces which commence the album and separate the songs: these are short quirky and fascinating. They serve in three separate ways. As individual soundscapes in their own right, the calm before the storm, and indeed the calm after the storm. This works extremely well.
As for the songs. Wow. Enigmatic lyrics, sly references lyrically and musically to old classics. They are melodic, catchy, but frequently edgy. Well structured, but prone to going off on a tangent.
Some lovely guitar tones here. A little edgier, a little angrier, but BN being BN it is always tasteful and melodic.
This is a very special album that should be cranked up, (as indeed it was on Friday night!). It will appeal to those who hanker for rock songs, who love BN's guitar playing, his singing, his gift of melody and love a bit of quirky weirdness."
"The alternating structure of Ampex - Rock - Ampex is unique and interesting, but this also quickly
gets more interesting. I found the Ampexii (Ampexes or Ampexions ?) acting like strange and wonderful dimensional portals, wormhole tunnels of sound and subtle music, transferring me from one Nelsonian realm to the next."
"Congratulations on a genuine masterwork."
Face In The Rain:
"Imps in the Undergrowth": "wonderful grungy guitar! Had it on in the car yesterday - my teenage son was bobbing his head in approval!"
"I'm really enjoying the album. Although, there seems to be a glitch in my CD, as it keeps returning to "Arco Volta"..."
"The Conjurer's Companion": "a seriously rocking number, great drums pounding. Staggered rhythm guitars, jazzy lead fills, fantastic lyrics. Then comes one of Bill's great strengths: the magic outro. It's like a completely different tune when this happens. One of those "play that again" moments."
"I've been listening to the album since I got it yesterday and I haven't made it through because I keep having to stop and replay songs!"
"Bill can be very deep and artistic but he can also just rock your socks off! Sometimes he gives you a gummi bear and other times he give you a multi vitamin. They are both excellent in their own way."
"I've been listening to this album, and wow! Bill's still got it. This album is rock but it's something more. I was thinking about what decade it sounded like...and my answer was...now? It sounds like right now! Not what's happening now, or what happened last week, but this very minute. I haven't heard another rock album that sounds like this one. Its really something special."
"Bill made a comment in one of his posts that this album "just barks". I have to disagree. It HOWLS!! I finally received my copy a few days ago, and it took a few listens to start absorbing it. It really is a pitbull of an album that grabs you by the ears and doesn't let go until the last note fades out. It rocks harder than anything else he's ever done, and commands your attention at every turn. Once again, Mr. Nelson manages to both surprise and satiate us once again."
"After repeated listenings, I find that the ampexes remind me of rest periods between rounds in a boxing match. Bill bobs and weaves, jabs and punches with his guitar. At the end of each round, we're given a minute or two to recover before the next round. Bill wins with a TKO, and we're dazed, but happy."
"One thing I can say about Bill Nelson since he started releasing records, there is no genre to define him. His guitar playing is just incredible and he is one of those guitarists who you know he's playing, nobody can imitate and get away with it!"
"Completely brilliant. Gets better with each listen. Simply stunning.
Thanks Bill. How you keep it fresh and exciting is a mystery but I'm very glad you do."
"In a career featuring so many highlights, this album still manages to stand out, an absolute triumph."