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Issued within a month of the appearance of Crimsworth, Practically Wired was a complete contrast in style and content.  Issued by All Saints Records as an off shoot of the deal Nelson had acquired through the work with Channel Light Vessel, Practically Wired (Or How I Became Guitar Boy) was very much a guitar album, recorded at Fairview Studios, which would quickly play an increasing role in Nelson's career and remains his main option when it comes to mastering his current work (with engineer in residence, John Spence).  Practically Wired was issued in the US by Gyroscope about two months after it appeared in the UK.



Currently out of print and a potential future Bandcamp digital download reissue.


"Practically Wired is very much a studio album with me playing all the (quite complex) parts.  Many tracks on the album have reversed tape parts, backwards reverb and several layers of overdubbed guitars, various samples, loops, electronic percussion, sequenced beats and so on.  The album was actually written in the studio (no pre-prepared demos or structures), using all the technology at hand to create an entire guitar fantasia, a virtual cornucopia of pluck n' twang...Extremely tricky to recreate live, if not totally impossible."

"Like so many of those vocal samples from the '80s and '90s, they were spontaneous captures...often being edited, chopped and changed and re-pitched, reversed and looped, so in many cases my sampling bears little resemblance to the original starting point.

I can't recall exactly where the "Spinning Planet" one originated, but it was edited and changed in pitch from the original sample phrase...and cut into a loop to create the rhythm that it brings to the tune.  When I make these pieces, I work 'on the fly' most of the time, rarely writing anything down for future's all created on the spur of the moment, manipulating whatever sonic material happens to fall to hand.  I kind of like the fact that these creative acts happen only once and constitute a unique event in time...impossible to recreate."

"I didn't have any design input for the original Practically Wired sleeve, other than supplying the childhood photo' of myself and writing the sleevenotes.  And, as you might suspect, the 'flying V' guitar silhouette was the wrong choice as it is not a guitar I'm associated with."

"I was never 100% convinced by the album's original sleeve design, but the re-issue version captures the feel I originally intended.  It's a clever evocation of the 1950's 'Practical Wireless' magazine visual style.  The magazine was avidly read by my father who was an amateur electronics/radio boffin and I grew up seeing copies of 'Practical Wireless' around the house.  I won't give too much away here and now but the re-issue of the album will be much closer to my original concept."




Review by Dmitry M. Epstein



"Practically Wired is absolutely required in any BN collection, IMO.  I love this disc; it's with me on every road trip of more than 1 hour.  PW marks the beginning of a new chapter in Bill's sound and playing, a turn to what we know and love about his output of the last 20 years or so."

"If you have not heard Practically is in a class of its own."


"I think the best introduction you could have of Mr. Bill's later guitar adventures will be Practically Wired, an instrumental CD featuring some of his most blistering guitar playing.  The first track has to be one of the most exciting album starts ever, it also demonstrates the eclectic nature of Bill's musical influences.  It will also show that Mr Bill is very up to date..."


Which of Bill's albums would you take on an island: "Practically Wired...It has "Wild Blue Sky Cycle", "Friends from Heaven", "Thousand Fountain Island", "Big Noise in Twangtown", and some others, in a balanced variety of styles.  Wildly original and inventive stuff that made a huge and instant impact."

"I had grown used to Practically Wired, Blue Moons & Laughing Guitars, After the Satellite Sings, Summer of God's Piano, and Deep Dream Decoder, and was eagerly awaiting Noise Candy, by the time I first heard any BBD.  It sounded dated, frankly, compared to the forward-reaching sounds of the Bill I knew, and although there was lots of yummy guitar on what little I heard, it didn't have nearly the pull that the later work, and the then-future Noise Candy did."

"Be Bop sounded dated (though fine indeed for its time and context), while Practically Wired sounded explosively fresh and wonderfully inventive."


"What a blinder!  Stylewise it has everything in there, full on guitars, more ambient-ish pieces, the lot."


"My reintroduction into the world of Bill Nelson.  And what a wonderful thing it was.  My daughters still love "Roses and Rocketships" today."


"Just start listening to "Roses and Rocketships" and see if your mood doesn't change for the better."


"Roses and Rocketships":  "That is one of many Bill Nelson songs which for me achieve musical perfection.  Whenever I play that for someone they excitedly ask "Who is this. who is this?!?!"


"I had had a couple of stressful days, but last night I was ready to be happy again.  I put on Practically Wired because I somehow needed to hear "Pink Buddha Blues"...instant gratification (or should that be Karma?).  This composition is one of many that Bill has written that simply lifts your spirit and brings a little sunshine into your life.  I cannot recommend Practically Wired enough."

"This one is pretty essential.  As well as the awesome guitar stuff it's got a couple of beautiful piano pieces and the genius ambient track "Her Presence in Flowers"."

Johnny Jazz:

"Practically Wired was one massive Nelsonic breath of fresh air as far as I'm concerned.  Bill's muses must have worked overtime during the, I believe 14 days Bill spent on it in the studio?  Anyroad, this album is very special, if only for "Pink Buddha Blues", but thankfully the whole shebang is more than worthy.

Practically Wired kinda hotwired itself into the mind of the listener.  It was 'Immediate', it was, as far as I'm concerned, the start of Bill's present creative phase which leads us to now."

steve lyles:

"If I was going to recommend just one to track down it would be Practically Wired from 1995, an upbeat cornucopia of guitar delights...I envy you hearing it for the first time.  You will not be disappointed."


"I have heard nothing but continual improvement of recordings from Bill, ever since the mid 90's Practically Wired CD.  I simply marvel at how the man keeps topping the last effort."


"It's a flawless album, and a must have for any fan of Bill's."

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