album - 15 April 1991
01) A Luminous Kind Of Guy
02) Tiny Aeroplanes
03) Bright Sparks
04) Is This Alchemy?
05) Language Of The Birds
06) All I Am Is You
07) Life In Reverse
08) Telepathic Cats
09) Two Hearts Beating
10) Blood Off The Wall
11) She's Got Me Floating
12) It's Ok
13) Burning Down
14) Her True And Perfect Serpent
15) Wait For Tomorrow
Luminous is a vocal album issued on vinyl, cassette and CD, in what turned out to be a one – off album deal with Imaginary Records, a UK independent company. It would also be Nelson's final album to appear on vinyl or cassette, CD having become the dominant format by the time he was ready to release the follow up in 1992.
The songs included on Luminous partly came from an aborted attempt to form a new version of Be Bop Deluxe, but the project stalled with the musicians having undertaken a week long rehearsal in 1990. When the demos for that project had no natural home, Nelson used them to fill approximately half of the Luminous album.
The material on Luminous was recorded at the newly christened Studio Rose-Croix, Nelson's home studio set-up that had supplanted the Echo Observatory.
Imaginary Records eventually lived up to its name and ceased to exist from 1994, and Nelson has stated he received little if any payment for his work. The album was deleted and remained out of print for 18 years.
A remastered version of Luminous, was reissued in 2012 under the Esoteric/Cherry Red record label.
This title is currently out of print, but may see a digital download release at some point.
"Some of the demo tapes I made for Be Bop Mk 2 found their way, eventually, onto the Luminous album, and a couple more of these may also have surfaced even later, on Blue Moons. But they were not recorded for that purpose originally. They were simply home-made demos, (for the band to learn the songs from), with me playing all the instruments, rather than finished, polished recordings.
Then again, almost everything I released during the mid 80's through the 90's I regarded as demos or rough sketches. I was hoping for a chance to re-record some of the songs with a proper band in a proper studio but, as this never materialised, I ended up releasing the rough tracks as albums."
"Whilst I often referred, in my sleeve notes, to that period of my music as being of 'demo' quality, I think it's fair to say that such descriptions were down to my own subjective hyper-self-critical sensibilities, more than to any reasonable objective assessment.
Time has placed these recordings less in the demo category and more into the 'cool lo-fi' bag. I don't think there's anything for a listener to be cautious about or for me to apologise for. Considering the primitive technical resources that were available to be at the time, they're little miracles of sound and song."
"This is an album I know well (one of my favorites) and I was pleasantly surprised at the remastering, the sound is certainly different than the original, a warmer sound with a less harsh top end. Whatever it is, I find it hard to describe...but it's great.
To mind, it's not Lo-Fi...(that always brings to mind overly distorted, badly played guitar, plodding fuzz bass and navel-gazing muttered vocals)...it does have a simplicity and economy of instrumentation that works well for the songs, they have space to breathe."
"One of my faves is "Two Hearts Beating"...I love the opening line of the song, "It's raining all over the world". The album contains some of the most beautiful, yearning lyrics and heartfelt melodies ever committed to tape. It's hard to believe these songs were created so rapidly. "Improvised, spontaneous songwriting" indeed! It's a while since I listened to an album in such depth and I really enjoyed listening properly."
"I am a great believer in 'first takes'...let the soul command the body, use the force, etc."
"That little gem of a disc was responsible for really kickstarting my addiction to Bill's music."
"I've always had a soft spot for Luminous Bill, I think it's a cracking little album."
"Not one to be forgotten that's for sure. Jam-packed with luscious melodies and strangeness."
"Stronger than Blue Moons."
"Luminous is fantastic, through and through, and listening again, it's another masterpiece."
"Love the vox riffing on "The Language of the Birds", and the overall sense of doubt and simultaneous spiritual high therein."
"The standout tracks are "Burning Down", a funky, guitar driven throw-down of a number with Bill singing some wonderfully abandoned falsetto, and the incredibly weird "Language of the Birds", which features Bill chanting his lyrics over a semi-industrial soundscape before breaking into another crazy falsetto workout. This last tune is reminiscent of the more experimental sound Bill seemed to be moving toward around the time of Love that Whirls and really stands out as a strange and unique track."
"Luminous has been a mainstay on the car radio during our family drives these past months. My 4 year old son requests "Tiny Aeroplanes" over and over."
"The songs on the albums are demos with Bill wishing to capture the idea - the birth of a song in its barest state. Listeners have to appreciate the idea when listening."
"Not many musicians are artists. Nor can you often delve so easily through notes and tremolo as you can through the strokes of a brush.
I'm sitting listening to Luminous, both guilty and illuminated. The lyrics proposition. The hearts beat a bass line, the climax a searing guitar solo.
I would guess it requires a contempt for the past in order to achieve self portrait after self portrait. Taking further manifestations for granted so that our truest loves are never a part of the past."
"All in all, it's really one of those albums of Bill's that I cherish most."