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Noise Candy

Bill Nelson

6-CD box set - 7 June 2002

Noise Candy - Cover (Squared)
Noise Candy - Cover
Old Man Future - Cover
Ranger Bill - Cover
Sunflower Dairy Product - Cover
King Frankenstein - Cover
Console - Cover
Playtime - Cover

CD 1 - Old Man Future Blows The Blues:

01)  Humming In The Void/Girl With The Thousand-Watt Smile

02)  Vista-Dome-Railcar

03)  Behold Dumb Wonders

04)  Dreamland Avenue

05)  Jet Town

06)  Atom Blasted Cadillac

07)  Rocket Science Ranchboy

08)  No Meaning

09)  Whatever I Do

10)  Emerald City

11)  One Way Track

12)  Nowhere Fast

13)  Real Thing This Time

14)  Buddha's Eyes Are Everywhere

15)  Rockarolla

16)  Swing Song

17)  Edge Of Recall

18)  My Paranoia

19)  Tomorrow's World

20)  Blowin' The Dust Off The Book Of The Future

CD 3 - Sunflower Dairy Product:

01)  Baby Ruth's Big Special

02)  First Boy On The Moon

03)  Down Comes The Rain

04)  Don't Cry, Space-Guy

05)  Peppermint Forever

06)  Magic Hill

07)  The World Wakes Up

08)  Dumb-World

09)  Lay-Zee Boy Receiver

10)  Nevertheless

11)  Bright 'N' Breezy

12)  The Hipster Gimmick

13)  Dreamgirl

14)  Soakin’ In The Bathtub

15)  Star Sugar Sky

16)  Dreamboat Situation

17)  God's Own Neighbourhood

18)  Looking For A Lantern

19)  Existentialism

20)  Stars Will Shine

Currently unavailable

CD 2 - Stargazing With Ranger Bill:

01)  Great Plains

02)  Big Yellow Moon

03)  Hot-Rod Racer

04)  That Was Then

05)  Space Ranch

06)  Monorail

07)  Ghost Train

08)  All This And A Girl Like You

09)  More Rain

10)  The Lonesome Cowboy Radio Show

11)  Sleepy Snakes

12)  Wild Lilac

13)  Perdita Rose

14)  World Of Dreams

15)  Real Gone

16)  Time Today

17)  The Cowboy Club

18)  High And Mighty

CD 4 - King Frankenstein:

01)  Planet Of Guitars

02)  Half-Man, Half-Static

03)  Monster Over The Fence

04)  Buddha Smoked My Cigarettes

05)  The Invisible Venus Of New York City

06)  Sunny Bungalows

07)  Glittering Star

08)  Elevated Railway

09)  Luminous Intelligent Sexy Adults

10)  Sweet Little Dreamer

11)  My Luminous Planet

12)  Zip, Boom, Bang

13)  Reality Check

14)  Somewhere, Nowhere, Everywhere

15)  The Flower Thief

16)  Art For Art's Sake

17)  A Hat Like This

18)  Blink Of An Eye

19)  When Accident Became My Bride

20)  Horse Eats Hat

21)  King Frankenstein

CD 5 - Console:

01)  Quietly Now (Manipulating The Phonograph No. 2)

02)  Hello Children

03)  Ethel's Attic (No. 3, Marriot's Building, 1948)

04)  Clouds Above The Corn

05)  Wonderful Weather In Woodgates Lane

06)  Filligree

07)  Memo Recorder Dream Narrative No. 1

08)  Pink Poodle Parade (Piano Version)

09)  The Clock That Time Forgot

10)  Holiday Express

11)  No Bee In His Bonnet

12)  Dust And Sunbeams And The Ticking Of A Clock

13)  Adventure Annual

14)  Dreamstate USA

15)  Boy With Bubblepipe

16)  American Moderne

17)  Fuzzy Dux

18)  Rain On A Caravan Roof

19)  A Short History Of The Future

20)  Ectoplasm Turbine

21)  Painted Boats On Still Waters

CD 6 - Playtime:

01)  Futura

02)  Bakelite (The 50th Birthday Song)

03)  Lucky Sometimes

04)  Life Is Like This

05)  The Astral Tramways Of England

06)  Be Here Now

07)  Aloha Niagra

08)  My Elevated Sweetheart

09)  Ladders Leading Nowhere

10)  The Now That Never Was

11)  Enigmatron

12)  Bamboozled

13)  Hieronymous Bosch Beyond

14)  Being And Nothingness Land

15)  Lights Of Kingdom Come

16)  Before We Fall

17)  World Still Turns

18)  Dreaming Of A Girl

19)  What We Wish For

20)  Big Empty Sky

21)  Endless Autumn


Noise Candy is undoubtedly one of the most impressively presented albums in Nelson's back catalogue.  Housing 6 CDs of (mostly) previously unreleased material, the packaging and accompanying lyric booklet are awash with colour images and illustrations.  The album was issued on the short lived Toneswoon label (reserved for this and a reissued Simplex).

The 6 albums worth of material on Noise Candy were recorded over the period from 1990 to 2000, with the bulk of it hailing from the Atom Shop sessions.  The box set was designed as a final farewell to Nelson's analogue recording, assembled ahead of his conversion to a digital home recording set up.  It effectively draws a line under what had been his basic approach to home music making that in essence began in 1979/80 (with what became Sounding the Ritual Echo).
Issued in a limited edition of just 2000 copies, the set would remain on catalogue for approximately 18 months before copies started to dry up.  For around 10 years the only way to acquire Noise Candy was to track down a second hand copy on eBay, Amazon etc, but eventually the long lost set came back into print.

Reissued by Esoteric/Cocteau Discs as part of the Cherry Red series of remasters in 2015.  Cherry Red faithfully reproduced the original packaging, but without the gloss embossed bees on the front of the box. 

None of the material issued after Noise Candy was included in the licensing deal with Cherry Red.


Currently unavailable, although expected to be made available as a digital download at some point.


"Noise Candy isn't a retrospective compilation in the manner of The Practice of Everyday Life.  When it was originally released, apart from a handful of tracks that had appeared on Whistling While the World Turns, it was all previously unavailable material.  It rounded up lots of unreleased stray tracks from my analogue studio era and was a way of 'clearing the decks' prior to my shift to digital."

"I'm very proud of the collection.  Not only does it gather together some of my favourite songs, it presents just about every facet and style of my music in one epic work.  There's something for everyone on there and, for those who share my own broad listening tastes, there's something for every mood.
It's a collection that requires an ongoing involvement from the listener.  You need to revisit it often, explore different parts of it in isolation from the other parts.  Once you've got to grips with the 'sections', the whole picture starts to make sense."

"These tracks were, in the main, songs left over from earlier albums, one's that either didn't fit a particular album's concept or that physically could not be incorporated on the original parent album.  I eventually gathered them all up and found that they could be slotted into concepts of their own, hence the structure of the discs in Noise Candy."

"One of my personal favourites from the set is: "The Astral Tramways Of England".  It captures my childhood visits to Blackpool on the west coast of England in the 1950's, AND my fondness for 'The Eagle' comic that contained the adventures of 'Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future', drawn by Frank Hampson, who was a genuine genius of comic strip art and a huge inspiration to me."

"Another thing about Noise Candy is the packaging, which is the most detailed and elaborate of any project I've ever been involved in.  It took months to get all of the images and design elements together."



"Noise Candy is one of the key recordings in the entire Nelson canon."

"An endless candy box of discovery.  It's the Nelson I play the most, I'd say.  And I play his music all the damn time. Years down the road, I'm still discovering creamy little centers I missed first time through."

Disc 1: Old Man Future Blows the BluesAtom Shop-like techno blues-pop.  Includes the sublime "Dreamland Avenue", plus "Jet Boy", "Atom Blasted Cadillac", and "One Way Track", which sounds to my ears like an outtake from After the Satellite Sings.

Disc 2: Stargazing with Ranger Bill:  A futuristic outerspace cowboy campfire singalong, with lots of kitschy country twang.  Here Nelson fully indulges in his Gene Autry, 1950s cowboy obsession.  Also fascinating in its extended use of samples, mostly of old kids' records, over which Nelson layers his candy coated drums and guitars.  Key tracks: "Big Yellow Moon", and "The Cowboy Club."

Disc 3: Sunflower Dairy Product:  Pure Pop for Tomorrow People.  The theme here is Populuxe suburbia, as almost all the songs concentrate on suburban fantasies and household comfort.  It's like a collection of snappy singles, this one.  "First Boy on the Moon" is one of the more elegant numbers Nelson has done in ages, almost Roxy Music-esque.

Disc 4: King Frankenstein:  Opening track here is called "Planet of Guitars," which pretty much covers it.  "Sunny Bungalow" is the big number here, shoulda been on the radio, that one, but there's also a great sequence near the middle that includes "Glittering Star", "Elevated Railway", "Luminous Intelligent Sexy Adults", "Sweet Little Dreamer" and "My Luminous Planet".

Disc 5: Console:  This is the ambient instrumental album, and for many, the prize inside the candy box.  One of his better instrumental albums, I'd say.  Features alternative versions of tunes that appeared on the sorely unavailable Caliban album.

Disc 6: Playtime:  Supersonic space-age rock, with dense washes of lush ambience.  Points forward to Luxury Lodge and Whimsy and Satellite Songs.  My personal favorite CD of the six.  Superb line up of melodic, intricately crafted, accessible pop songs, including "Futura" (sends shivers down my spine, this one), "Bakelite", "Ladders Leading Nowhere" and the gorgeous instrumental closer, "Endless Autumn"."


"Each record is much more than just a collection of tunes, but a flowing, thoughtful, beautifully sequenced ALBUM experience, which of course, is one of Bill's trademarks.  Taken as a whole, it really does create an incredible tapestry of sound.  It's hard to name a favorite but Ranger Bill is so weird and wonderful, it always makes me gleefully happy to listen to it.

Just absolutely amazing that Bill was able to produce and put out this much music and be so solidly consistent throughout.  Prolific barely begins to describe it."

"Bill, it's common knowledge that what you often consider sketchbook and demo material, most of us would give our eye teeth to be able to produce music that good.  I might contend though that perhaps the reason Noise Candy has stood the test of time for me all these years and is one of my favorites is that sense of anything-goes abandon and experimentation.  I think a case could be made that, when you keep it loose like that, a certain joyfulness can sneak through that absolutely transcends any technical limitation or clunker note or whatever."

"To my ears, Noise Candy is the sound of a man falling in love with the pure joy of making music all over again, and works best when experienced full stop with all the weirdness and wildness intact."


"Holy moly!  Wow.  This "album" is SO much more...this is an stunning, amazing, overwhelming magnum opus - a veritable encyclopaedia of Nelsonia.  Across these six CDs are found the entire breadth of Bill's unmatched versatility and talent.  It is actually hard to describe how amazing Noise Candy is.  Over a hundred great songs, stunning musicianship, creativity galore...all wrapped up in a physical package that is a work of art.  No Bill Nelson collection is complete without it."


"It's a great piece of work.  The music, the packaging, everything is exquisite.  It has a wide range of music.  The lyrics are included, along with fantastic art work.  Everything you could wish for."


"Reality Check":  "Am I the only person that thinks this is the most awesome track ever?"


"Luminous Intelligent Sexy Adults": "is atop my list for its...well, power and grace.  "Big Yellow Moon" is atop another list, and "Buddha's Eyes" was one that crept up on me in a funky, fascinating rhythm (but I feel it's gone too far) kind of way."


"Bill's use of spoken word soundbites really shapes those songs and gives them a mood, if not a meaning.  I especially like it when the cadence of the words fits in with the rhythm of the tune.  Lots of songs on the Noise Candy albums have that pattern.  Even when some words are spoken seemingly randomly (now there's a two word song title) over a rhythm, after a few repetitions, they 'fall into' the beat like they belong there along with the other instruments.  'More spoken word' in future songs, I say!"


"I actually didn't know what to make of Noise Candy at first, but there's this weird thing that happens one day while you're listening to it.  A lightbulb comes on in your brain, and you're like "Oh, okay wait a minute".  That doesn't happen very often to me; music that challenges your opinion of it.  What I like about Noise Candy is that it is very cozy and safe, but it manages to be super eclectic and creative at the same time.  I don't think I can say that about anyone else's music."


"I managed to wean myself off Mr Bill for a while in the early 90's but now I'm bleedin' hooked again...Nurse!  Close the doors.  I'm off on a Noisy-Candy-Bender till Monday."

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