Non-Stop Mystery Action
album - 25 November 2009
01) This Is Like A Galaxy
02) Welcome To The Dream Transmission Pavilion
03) Yes And No
04) When The Invisible Circus Comes To Town
05) Materialisation Phenomena
06) The Departure Of The 20th Century In A Hail Of Memory
Non-Stop Mystery Action is an instrumental album issued on the Sonoluxe label in a single print run of 1000 copies. The album is a collection of lengthy instrumental pieces, three of which are soundtracks to videograms that Nelson produced in 2008 and 2009. These are 'Welcome to the Dream Transmission Pavilion', 'Materialisation Phenomena' and 'The Departure of the 20th Century in a Hail of Memory', all of which were included on the Picture House DVD issued in 2010.
Nelson's first announced the Non Stop Mystery Action album in his online diary, dated 21 July 2009, at which point the album had seven tracks, including three that failed to make the final cut: "Like a Woman Levitating", "Machines of Loving Grace", and "Stranger Flowers Now Than Ever". These were replaced with "Materialisation Phenomena" and "When the Invisible Circus Comes to Town".
The final track listing was confirmed on 1 November 2009, with all artwork and mastering commitments completed ready for its pre-Christmas release.
Non-Stop Mystery Action sold out in December 2020.
Currently out of print and a potential future Bandcamp digital download reissue.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ALBUM, YOU'LL PROBABLY ENJOY:
Signals From Realms of Light, Mazda Kaleidoscope, Palace of Strange Voltages, Theatre of Falling Leaves,
Gleaming Without Lights, Loom, Astroloops, Map of Dreams, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights
"I'm currently working on the assembly of what will be my next CD album release, the NON-STOP MYSTERY ACTION album. It looks like the album will only contain six tracks...but they are all 'long-form' pieces...some of them very long.
It is also shaping up to be one of the strangest albums I've ever released.
Nearly all the tracks have voice samples and one features my own spoken voice-over.
"This is not an album for casual listening, playing in the car, (too many quiet and subtle details will be lost), or for tapping toes to. But it IS an album for those of you who appreciate being taken on strange and somewhat dark journeys. No orthodox arrangements here, just a magnetic, hypnotic continuum of sound and atmosphere, a stream-of-consciousness flow on which to sail your paper boats of dreams.
"I'm trying not to underestimate my audience's capacity for enjoying a little weirdness with this one. I've deliberately kept it quite single-minded and 'pure' in that sense. There are no sops to orthodox tastes. In fact, there's little to hang on to if you're not used to being cast adrift in strange oceans without a life-belt. But, I'm going to take the gamble that some of you will be equal to the challenge.
Are you up to it?"
"The album's style ranges from dark, industrial improvised blues loops to extended, long-form compositions incorporating found-sounds, digital noise, treated voice samples, neo-classical orchestrations, spoken word narratives, sliced n' diced samples of once popular songs, jazzy guitars, towers full of bells, bad-acid psychedelia, autobiographical commentary, subtle irony and melancholic, time-travelling whimsy."
"Non-Stop Mystery Action functions as a kind of 'sonic cinema'. Extended pieces that project flickering, dream-like images on the screen of the listener's imagination. In fact, three of the pieces on the album, (tracks 2, 5 and 6), were created as soundtracks to video artworks that I screened at the 2008 and 2009 annual Nelsonica conventions. These three 'long-form' pieces provided me with the starting point and concept for the album. The other three tracks were created to contrast and compliment them.
So, dim the lights, sit back and let the dreams unreel..."
"Materialisation Phenomena": "Oh, I forgot to mention: the album also has a track that features ten minutes of digitally-delayed acoustic 'thumb-piano' improvisation.
"A 'thumb piano', for those of you scratching your heads, is a small gourd with seven rusty bits of metal attached to it. These are 'sort of' tuned to a series of notes. (The 'sort of' indicates that they're not actually in-tune at all, at least in the normal sense). The notes are sounded by flicking the metal bars with one's thumbs. It sounds like a music box from hell. (At least it does after ten minutes of the damned thing!) Still, in the mix, I occasionally fade it out to be replaced with a swathe of tinkling wind chimes. And a LOT of sampled windy weather and rustling leaves.
"Those of you already complaining about my musical perversity and single-mindedness will be pleased to know that, at the end of the ten minute improvisation, my thumbs were actually cut and bleeding and took a few days to heal, although copious amounts of antiseptic cream were applied to counteract the toxic effects of the rusty metal. Then again, YOU, dear listeners, may require more than antiseptic cream to counteract the deliriously toxic effects of the track itself. One must suffer for one's art, don't cha know!"
"Dark, scary, intense, moody, joyful, uplifting and humorous, but above all beautifully sequenced and laid out. Not an album to "dip in to" I suspect, more a listening experience from start to finish.
After we'd finished mastering and Bill had gone I sat and listened to the production master all the way through again.
'Nuff said...enjoy (and I'm not on commission!)"
"I'm not very good at reviews as such, especially music reviews, but here goes...Listen to this album in one sitting, decent volume and a 'do not disturb' sign on the door, then be carried away, totally immersed in sound...imagine yourself in a dream and are walking across a landing, at the end of the landing lies a door, phosphouresecent light seeping out of the keyhole and from under the door...open the door and see a figure from the back, hunched over a worktop or bench surrounded by vials, bell-jars glass tubes, brass machinery, dials,clocks, amp-meters dusty valve radio sets, all kinds of electrical paraphernalia...there's random voices, radio broadcasts just picked up from some alternative yesterday (was it 1932 or is it tomorrow? It could be one and the same)...flashes of light, crystal guitars, shimmering keyboards touches of infra-bass...welcome to the Sound Laboratory of Professor Nelson...! Buy it and be spellbound."
"You'll certainly be having some very strange, dark & wonderful dreams after listening to this! Especially with the beautifully dark "This is Like A Galaxy" and "Materialisation Phenomena"...superb stuff!!"
"I must say this CD is one of the most fantastic musical trips I have ever had. It's overload with emotional power. It seems to me that every note carries a profound significance. Yes there's static, wind chimes, wind, etc. but when out of the blue comes a note, it hits like a lighting strike.
Who am I to say this, but I believe those songs came from a very deep, personal chamber from Bill Nelson's heart..."
"Non-Stop has been playing, well - non-stop, and it's still thrilling, chilling and fulfilling me, particularly the main piece, which has that magical ability to sound different almost every time I hear it. It is an absolute feast for the deep listener in all of us.
I recently came across a copy of John Cage's book, Silence, a truly great book of essays, and in it, he talks about how, when confronted with new and different types of music, it is the listeners DUTY to strip away any pre-conceptions and experience it without our judgmental little mind chattering away in the background. Beginners Ears, I guess you could call it. I think that's exactly the kind of attention Non-Stop deserves..."
"Materialisation Phenomena": "is really one of the most evocative and interesting tracks Bill has ever done - I don't think it has any precedent in his canon - I can't say - oh it reminds me of this or it sounds like an extension of that - it's just a completely different direction for Bill and one I find damned exciting. The whole album is a stunner, but that particular track has a real vapor lock on me right now - chimes, thumb piano and all."
"Bill's always been able to move in multiple directions at once - I just hope that this is one direction he continues to explore. I truly think this is one of the most significant albums of his long, lustrous career."
"I find myself enjoying NSMA immensely, and find the music thoroughly engrossing. I also generally prefer the more accessible (if that's the right description) music that Bill creates, but this album has got me well and truly hooked. It's also totally unique."
"I LOVE it! It's obvious how much work and care went into "The Departure of the 20th Century in a Hail of Memory", not to mention the other tracks. I listened to the entire album early this morning while still lying in bed, and though I was wide awake, I felt as if I was floating through a dreamscape. A stunningly beautiful album."
"This one is something different and genuinely special. Bill likes to paint with guitars...this one conjures a whole different mood and atmosphere. I really like it."
"When I first heard about this album, it sounded like something that would interest me, but it's much more than I expected. Once again, Bill has taken us to another corner of the musical world, and has done it with style."
A Kinder Light:
"I'm really enjoying Non-Stop Mystery Action. It's difficult to add anything else other than to say that it's an expansive piece of work that ranks amongst the best of the Sonoluxe catalogue. And I'm not saying that just the for the sake of mentioning it. Wait 'til you all have a chance to get lost in this thing! Truly amazing, Bill...truly amazing.
"It's an extraordinary-sounding album. Not to separate elements of it, but the guitar in "Yes and No" has to be heard to be believed (or perhaps you still won't believe it even after you've heard it), and the opening to "The Departure of the 20th Century"...is (to understate things) haunting. You'd have to be insane not to order a copy of this immediately."