CD 1 - King of Dreams:
01) A Thousand, Thousand Ghosts
02) Ever The Dreamer
03) Beyond The Sun
04) Heaven Lights Its Lamps
06) Move Through This World
07) Here Comes The Big Blue Moon
08) In The Wings
09) Planet Of Ghosts
11) When Day Is Done
12) The Almost Invisible Man
13) The Curious King Of Dreams
14) Baby Buddha
CD 2 - Tower of Jewels:
01) The Future Life
02) Music From Another Star
03) Forward Motion
04) 2000 Miles To Midnight (My Ghost Burns Fire)
05) Illumination Fascination Blues
07) Man Or Astroman (Cat Or Mouse)
08) Billy Beyond (Everyone's Clean In Paradise)
09) Late Transmission: This Song Is History
10) The Mirror Maker's Daughter (Other Fish To Fry)
11) The Dreamlike Day-To-Day
12) Tower Of Jewels
13) Travelling In Mind
14) His Astral Form
Songs For Ghosts is a double album of vocal pieces released on the Sonoluxe label in a limited run of 650 copies. Signed copies of the album were first made available to attendees of the Songs for Ghosts launch party held on 28 October 2017 at The Cloth Workers' Hall, Leeds. The remaining copies of the albums were then sold through SOS.
The album was first announced on the Dreamsville forum on 15 March 2017 before a note of music had been recorded, Songs For Ghosts being an album title that Nelson had wanted for use for some time. However, it wasn't too long before work got underway on the album with 4 songs completed by 5 April 2017. By the end of April 14 song titles were revealed for possible inclusion, with confirmation in May that the project was developing into a double album with extra special attention being given to the packaging.
With 28 tracks completed by 12 June 2017, the album's running order was finally confirmed on 18 June 2017 along with confirmation that 2 tracks recorded in the first batch of songs - "Serene in Silver" and "On Gilded Tracks" - would be held back for a future album. It didn't take Nelson long to confirm his intentions with the surplus material. On 20 June 2017 it was announced that the 2 remaining tracks would be added to with 2 newer songs for release as a download only EP, provisionally titled No Ghosts Here. Nelson's plans were expanded by the end of the month as he added five new songs to the project turning it into a proposed mini-album, now provisionally titled Spooky Annexe. To add to his dilemma, Nelson was also considering one of the new songs, "Special Beings with Special Senses", for inclusion on the Songs For Ghosts album. An eighth song was completed on 1 July called "Singing in the Ether", which also became another contender for the mini-album's working title. Further tracks were completed later in July at which point Nelson decided that the quality of the overflow material was sufficiently high to warrant a full length album, which he initially referred to as Songs For Ghosts Part 3. It remains to be seen how this additional album project will be handled and when it will appear.
The album sold out on the 6 December 2017.
Available for purchase as a digital download here in the Dreamsville Store.
IF YOU LIKED THIS ALBUM, YOU'LL PROBABLY ENJOY:
New Northern Dream, Captain Future's Psychotronic Circus, Kid Flip, Clocks and Dials, Special Metal
Golden Melodies of Tomorrow, The Dream Transmission Pavilion, Perfect Monsters, Electric Atlas
"Kid Flip was a real electric guitar hard rocker, so maybe I'll move in a completely different direction for the next album. Perhaps something abstract, diffuse, nebulous. I have an album title that I've wanted to use for some time: Songs For Ghosts. Maybe that's the starting point for my next adventure."
"Home from a day in Fairview spent with mastering engineer John Spence. We transferred all the 28 tracks of Songs For Ghosts over to Fairview Studio's computer ready for John to work his mastering magic on.
I hadn't heard the double album for a while and had forgotten how eclectic and, er, strange some of the songs are...surreal lyrics, non-linear arrangements, abstract sounds and free-form codas mixed with pop styles and things pulled in from several other musical forms. It's definitely one which will take some concentrated listening to unlock...it's both dirty and nebulous."
"Songs For Ghosts is a double album of predominately vocal oriented songs with a couple of mellow instrumental excursions.
The initial concept was centred around a vague feeling of melancholia, a sadness at the heart of things, but, as is usual with my work, that first idea was modified during the actual recording process.
I wanted to maintain a sense of 'diffusion', songs that were not quite linear, songs that refused to 'solidify' to a certain extent, with free-form elements brought to bear and lyrics that were slightly more stream of consciousness than anything literal or relating to specific situations. Enigmatic and automatic, like trance induced creations, unconscious communications from somewhere suggestively 'elsewhere.'
But, inevitably, as the recording of the album progressed, this concept merged with rather more straightforward, prosaic elements, and, indeed a couple of the songs have turned out to be quite direct and specific. (I suppose my pop sensibility will never really desert me.)
Nevertheless, something of the originally intended 'vagueness' or 'ghostliness,' remains...these are songs directed at realms beyond, perhaps couched in a kind of mutant pop language, but still recognisably, 'other'."
Bill's Listening Notes for selected tracks from the album: 'Songs For Ghosts' Listening Notes
"Songs for Ghosts is a stimulating odyssey of the living and moreover, those who have passed on. You never know with Bill what came first, the music, the lyrics, the title, an image, a thought? The album seems to gather strength in the departed having more knowledge and wisdom than the living, being, they gained more through their experiences than the living. The music coincides with the arrangements nicely with no lack of Bill's abilities to play many different instruments and styles. I cannot say I have a favorite track within this double album and I always have my favorites. I believe this album needs to be listened to as a whole with its reflections on immortality, mortality, and maturity. Bill again delivers a fine work of art that seasoned listeners can enjoy and relish in the complexities of sound and dreams."
"I totally agree that this feels like a nexus of the various Bill's we've seen and known. A meeting place. In some ways its as if Bill has multiple "ghosts" inside him and he acts as a medium, conjuring them up for us. Sometimes I feel that way spending so much time watching the movies of the departed, listening to their words and their music. Electric ghosts indeed. Do we keep them alive? If I could be a vessel for these ghosts, so that they could live on, I would be.
"I want to say that I love when I see the witty playful side of Bill. It's something of a rarity, as he's focused on much more personal and emotional material recently, almost with a seeming sense of urgency. Perhaps there is a sense of wanting to cast off what is seen as frivolous and impermanent, but this album feels like all of Bill. The whole thing! I love it for that!
"I've never felt like I have "known" another musician like this, and there are times when I feel I'm holding this delicate and precious treasure in my hands. It feels almost too pure and too honest to hold. It makes me feel ashamed of all that I hold back.
"I've surrendered to the experience of being a Bill Nelson fan and I just want to say that though I may make some silly comments about wanting more synthesizers and all that, I'm along for the rest of the ride. I don't want or expect Bill to ever be the kind of man to deliver me a product. There is no menu. To choose would be to lessen."
"What a cool album! I think the songs have a really 'laid-back' vibe. You notice I didn't use the word 'mellow'. Far from it. And despite the inclusion of a few jazz-oriented tracks, like 'Astrophysical' (one of Bill's favourites), it's much more of a rock album.
Yes, it's wonderful to see Bill improvising live on stage. But for me, perhaps more rewarding is this extended snapshot of Bill as a master songwriter. The songwriting exudes confidence, as he contemplates life both physical and metaphysical. Bill sounds like an artist truly inspired, and completely at home in his skin."
"Ghosts falls into the rock genre I suppose. It is a collection of wonderfully melodic tunes, nicely sung with fabulously tasteful guitar playing throughout. Typically there is a lot going on behind the vocals, some cool percussive sounds and of course blippy noises and oddness.
The tunes, in keeping with the title, have an ethereal, subtle - dare I say 'Ghostly'- quality to them. The top line melody sometimes takes a while to hit the spot.
The most enjoyable listens are driving home in the dark on a peaceful and quiet motorway with the volume cranked up.
It is a terrific collection."
"Absolutely love a couple of the instrumentals almost immediately, and 'Zodiac' and several of the vocal tracks are 'coming through' after the proverbial 'repeated listenings'...Very eclectic group of tracks that are seemingly destined to be reeling 'round my head in the fullness of time."
"My copy of songs for ghosts arrived a couple of days ago and is as my usual way with Bill Nelson's music l immerse myself in its warmth and complexity...its twists and turns the virtuosity and unique rhythmic backdrop...I've pondered why no one has said anything about the album and after several spins believe it's related to Bill's vocal stylings...on this album being very "free form jazz" it's like Joni Mitchell's Mingus or blue, a voluptuous cocktail of sound from a master musician at the top of his creative brilliance...it's an instantly accessible album with distinctly paradoxical elements...Bill you're a bloody genius...more please."
"Enjoying the many surprising twists and turns that, cat-like, all land on their feet .
An instant favourite is 'Man Or Astroman (Cat Or Mouse)'...
"And much dappled light, sonic splashes and some splotches, as well as Noir b&w, Technicolor and sepia wobble and fade into one another, jump cuts from dissolves, that these calico tracks slink about in...
"One second tranquility, another second a shiver of paranoia...
"Sun throws long shadows from these passing cars, gold and burnished in the evening air. "