DISC ONE TRACKS
01) Are You Listening?
02) My Private Cosmos
03) I Dream Of Giant Telescopes
04) Lightning Strikes The Steeple
05) Hang This Moment On A Sigh
06) They Tell You This, They Tell You That
07) Driving Through England
08) Light Rain
09) Set Your Dials For Dreaming
10) Kingdom Of The Sky
11) Kirkella Bells
12) Living On The Moon Tonight
13) The Dusk Before The Dark
14) Glittering Figures (A Gnostic Lullaby)
15) Days Of Wonder
16) Picture Perfect
DISC TWO TRACKS
01) Thunder, Perfect Mind
02) With All The Will In The World
03) The Crystal Gazing Room (No Sleep For The Alchemist)
04) The Astronomy Of The Heart
05) On An Ocean Of Dreams
06) This Land Is Haunted
07) Friday In The Future
08) Mists Of Time
09) In The Chapel Of Her Sparkles
10) The Trees Are Full Of Whistling Birds
11) Dreaming Of Another World
12) Time's Tide (The Dreams That Escape Me)
13) Your Secret Sign
14) Under Fading Stars
15) Forever Ago
DISC THREE TRACKS
01) I Watch The World
02) Through My Window
03) Another Rainy Day
04) When The Wind Blows All Away
05) Time Stops Right Here
06) I Was Speaking With Orson Welles
07) Techno Punk Gets Rhythm
08) Merry And Bright
09) Old Brown Town
10) Lanterns Are Lighting
11) The Universe Is Fast Asleep
12) Seven Keys To This City
13) Osram Diadem
15) The Paradox Machine
16) The 21st Century
DISC FOUR TRACKS
01) Silver Sparks And Coloured Stars
02) Helios In Memoryland
03) Gazing Through Golden Windows
04) The Navigator
05) An Acre Of Sunshine
06) The Light In The Mirror (The Bone Beneath The Skin)
07) Ghosts Dance In Ghostland
08) The Memory Museum (Room One)
09) Silver Stars Will Shine
10) Ghost Trains Travel On Phantom Tracks
11) I Recall Jets At Dawn
12) There's A Star Somewhere
13) The Spectral Waltz Of Venus
14) My Private Cosmos (Part Two)
15) Curiosity's Domain
DISC FIVE TRACKS
01) A Dip In The Sparkle Jar
02) This Clockwork World
03) When We Were Beautiful
04) Hi-Tone Saturday
05) Mechanical City One
06) Dreamlike World
08) Some Days It's Orange, Some Days It's Blue
09) In The Land Of Nothing Doing
10) Magic And Mystery
11) The Super Sensualist
12) White Falcon Two
13) Far Side Of Nowhere
14) The TV's On The Blink
15) And All The World Was Ours
DISC SIX TRACKS
01) Moonlight Rider
02) Ancient Angels Watching Me
03) The Long Lost Summer
04) The Roy Rogers Radio Ranch
05) Space Cowboys
06) White Falcon One
07) Wonder Kid
09) My Catalogue Of Dreams
10) The Infernal Machine
11) Until Tomorrow
12) Comic Cuts
13) The Listening Station
14) There Are Stars Beyond The Night
15) Celluloid Ghosts
16) Hey Ho, There You Go
17) Mortal Coils
My Private Cosmos is a 6CD box set of mainly song based material issued on the Sonoluxe label in a limited edition of 1000 copies.
The newest material included on the album was recorded between March and July 2021, immediately on the back of completing work on Dazzlebox. However, the full content of the album represents a greater recording period going back well into 2020 and comprises 94 new tracks.
My Private Cosmos represents the third Bill Nelson album to be released since he moved to his recently established Cubase recording set-up assembled in 2019 and which he began utilising from January 2020. It also has gone some significant way to clearing his archive of unused material written and recorded during the past 18 months.
Plans for the album were first announced on the Dreamsville website in a Journal entry on 11 April 2021 when Nelson revealed the title of his next project as well as indicating that some of its content would comprise tracks from his Cubase archive that hadn’t been chosen for inclusion on the previous two albums.
By mid-July 2021 Nelson revealed, in a follow up Journal entry, that he now had sufficient material for the proposed release to fill a triple album although he remained unsure if the actual release itself would be a humble single album or perhaps a double. In fact, from the list of potential tracks Nelson had to choose from, provided in the same piece, there were then 76 different tracks available from which to compile My Private Cosmos. That would be enough to fill five albums' worth of material with the promise of still more to be recorded.
By 19 July 2021 Nelson revealed through a post on the Dreamsville Forum that he was still not quite sure how big a project My Private Cosmos would turn out to be, wavering between a 2CD and 3CD set. Three days later, in a follow up forum post the indecision was still there but by now the choice was between a 3CD and 4CD boxed set.
The fans' response to the suggestion of a 4CD set was resoundingly positive with almost everyone that stated a preference encouraging Nelson to opt for the 4CD route.
In another subsequent post, on 25 July 2021, Nelson confirmed that he was set upon the idea of a 4CD set, comprising 57 tracks, going as far as posting the track listing for it, but admitted he was toying with the idea of offering more material as download exclusives sufficient to fill up a fifth disc. This option would most likely have affected physical sales as some fans would undoubtedly have only committed to buying the full digital download to acquire the 15 exclusive tracks.
Having pondered the situation some more, on 29 July 2021 Nelson confirmed that he had decided to commit to a full 72 track 5CD physical set which although adding to the cost would at least allow all fans to buy just one edition of the album and in doing so get all the material on offer.
However, over the coming days not only would Nelson add some additional music to the 5 CD set, bringing the total number of tracks to 75, he couldn't resist also adding a sixth disc's worth of material that would appear separately as an exclusive download album available through Bandcamp, to be entitled The Listening Station (My Private Cosmos Sector Six). With the digital album comprising 16 tracks this brought the combined package to an impressive 91 tracks.
Further deliberations over the next couple of weeks would see Nelson add a further 3 tracks to the proposed album but more importantly he would reach a decision on the format, confirming this to be a 6CD physical set after all, with no additional exclusive digital material.
Not only did the musical content of My Private Cosmos develop with time, so did the proposed artwork, as did how the set would be presented.
Initially, with the album appearing to be a 5CD set, Nelson envisaged My Private Cosmos as being presented in a 'digital - box' but when he added a sixth CD to the proposed set, his thoughts on this changed, preferring it to be housed in an 'ear-book', complete with lavishly illustrated attached booklet of notes and images. This is best described as a 10" hardback book with the discs held on the inside faces and is the first Bill Nelson release to be housed in such a way. As usual Nelson selected and provided the images for the artwork and enlisted the services of Martin Bostock to design it.
My Private Cosmos was mastered at Fairview Studios by John Spence from 17 August 2021 taking a week to work through the entire 94 tracks featured.
The set also includes an exclusive plectrum and postcard, with early pre-order customers receiving their postcard signed.
Two lucky pre-order customers, drawn at random, will also win the original line-drawing artwork that was used as part of the package design.
Pre-orders for My Private Cosmos were announced by Burning Shed on 21 October 2021 with it being released on 17 December.
This 6-CD box set is available for pre-order in the Dreamsville Store.
(The following comments detail how this album's content evolved from Bill's initial concept through to the final decision...)
"I'm slowly making my way through a mass of tracks recorded on my Cubase software system. These recordings cover the entire period since the system was installed, right up to the present day. Already New Vibrato Wonderland and the double album Dazzlebox have taken tracks from this archive, but I'm now attempting to assemble a future album, an album which currently bears the title My Private Cosmos.
The trick is to select tracks which feel as if they belong together or at least relate to one another in some way, either conceptually or tonally. With such a diversity of tracks covering so many different moods, it's not an easy task..."
"I continue to record new music. I've amassed a huge number of tracks for the My Private Cosmos album, far more than I need, probably enough for three albums at least. The more tracks I accumulate, the harder it gets to choose which ones to put on the album. One way to deal with it, is to make it another double album of course. I'm in two minds about that. Many of the songs are complex and lengthy and so may need repeated listens to fully appreciate. Keeping the number of tracks to a manageable amount may help speed that process. But on the other hand, that would leave so many other curious and interesting tracks out. I'm certainly not ruling out the double album route. We'll see..."
"I've begun to assemble the track list/running order for My Private Cosmos. I think it's going to present something of a challenge to those listeners who gravitate more towards the 'straight rock' end of my musical spectrum.
Whilst there are plenty of electric guitar parts featured, the structures and surrounding framework of the songs are not exactly orthodox. There's something dark and mysterious about several of the tracks.
"How to describe things? Some might think of the tracks as resembling 'ambient, psychedelic avant-garde pop songs.' And that's not a bad description, despite its convoluted connotations, but it's only part of the story. Sonically, there's a deep, cavernous quality to several of the tracks, a 'lost in the void' feeling that requires a simpatico response from the listener.
"There are grandiose moments too, set against stripped back, minimalist verses. Electronic distress gets mixed up with smooth, tuneful guitar tones to create a feeling of gleaming chrome blighted by rust and decay.
The album pulls together several threads of my musical interests and weaves them into an obscure, perhaps 'baroque' tapestry. It's sometimes familiar sometimes bizarre. Certainly not an album to be grasped and appreciated in a superficial listen, but, I hope, one that will blossom fully from extended plays. It's a slightly weird work, a little different from my usual, but also perfectly reflecting and extending some aspects that you may have become familiar with over the last few years.
Oh, and at the moment, it's going to be a double album, maybe even a triple masterwork..."
"Well, I'm considering a bold step: I've now already worked out a running order for three discs, (a triple album,) but still have other tracks I'd like to include. As a result of that, I'm thinking about the possibility of making it a quadruple album, perhaps in a box. I've never done this with my 'cottage industry' releases before, so not sure what the manufacturing costs would be for a relatively small run of pressings, nor how many fans would support such a Quixotic adventure..."
"I've decided to release a complete set of five CDs in a DVD shaped digital-box with a connected (not loose), book inside containing all the relevant info and images. I've also now copied the 72 songs to a flash drive ready to take to Fairview for mastering.
This is, in total, a mammoth work. Months of recording, mixing and sorting running orders out to get to this stage, but more work yet to be done. Sometimes I wonder if projects as epic as this one are worth it. Well, it's what it is, an architectural monolith of an album..."
"I've now added some extra songs to the five discs, making it 15 tracks per disc. That's 75 tracks on the five cd set in total. I do, however, still have several tracks left over from these sessions so will gather them together to form a mini album which I'll make available as a digital download 'annexe' to My Private Cosmos on Bandcamp.
This entire project is insane, a mad folly, but I'm going to ignore reason and get it all out there intact..."
"The 'left over' tracks from the five CD set are more than enough for a further sixth disc. There are 16 extra tracks that I want to release from these sessions so, what I'm hoping to do is to create a sixth 'virtual' disc and release it under its own steam as a digital download only...Utter madness indeed!"
"Now, my first idea is to make this sixth disc a stand alone, download only album, a kind of bonus item. I'm, thinking of giving it the title 'The Listening Station, (My Private Cosmos Sector Six).' This way people have the option of downloading an extra 16 tracks or to just stick with the five physical CD box set.
The other option is to include the 16 bonus tracks as a physical CD, as part of the main set, basically expanding it from five CDs to six."
"I've added a further three tracks to the set, though their inclusion will depend on there being enough space on the discs to take them. John [Spence] will gradually assemble each disc and will then be able to judge if there is room to add the three extra tracks. If there is room the total track count will be 94 songs.
I'm still awaiting costings for a possible 'ear book' package and I am thinking of all six discs being included, rather than five and a stand alone download."