double album - 17 June 2003
DISC ONE: Whimsy
01) Nostalgia (For The Future)
03) Let Flow The Wine
04) Switch Off That Desert Sunset
05) Magnetism Made Me Do It
06) A Simple Thought Flashes Through My Mind
07) Senor Mysterioso
08) Ocean Full Of Wishes
09) Swept Away
10) Islands In The Sky
11) Always Summer
12) The Fundamental Blues
13) My Favourite Urban Chrome-Green Sky
14) Dizzy In The Head
15) I Looked At The Sea
16) The Girl Who Disappeared Into A Cloud
18) So Far
19) The Violins Of Autumn
DISC TWO: A Garage Full Of Clouds
02) Dumb Palooka
03) Garage Full Of Clouds 2
05) Perfect Bliss
06) Powder Blue
07) Here We Go
08) When We Were Young
09) Fairyland Before The Fire
10) Cowboy Christmas
11) Struck Dumb By Beauty Again
12) Don't Be A Stranger
13) The Light This Universe Attracts
14) Sing Ye Golden Sunbeams, Sing
16) The Fabulous Fountain Of Your Savoir Faire
17) A Star Named Desire
18) Buzz Was Honey
19) Over The Moon
20) Close Your Eyes (The Sleepytown Symphony)
Whimsy/Whimsy Two is a double CD issued on the Fabled Quixote label in a single print run believed to be of 1000 copies. The album was commenced in February 2001, a month after Nelson took delivery of a new digital recording set-up and had become accustomed to the digital sound (and a few operational gremlins that plagued his early use of the equipment).
The album was originally planned as a single album to be called A Garage Full of Clouds (before a note of it had been written or recorded), but in the end this became the sub-title of the second volume (Whimsy Two), completed in the same period. By June 2001 a total of 15 tracks had been recorded, at which point Nelson had decided on Whimsy as a title for an interim album, quite separate in style to the original planned A Garage Full of Clouds album. However by the end of January 2002 the number of tracks completed had grown to fill a double album comprising 40 tracks initially recorded for the two separate projects. In March 2002 Nelson announced that the second album, now officially called Whimsy Two (A Garage Full of Clouds), would be a limited edition companion album to Whimsy, and that both would be handled by Voiceprint. With completed tracks transferred to Nelson's DAT machine, technical problems caused unrepairable damage to a number of masters which reportedly resulted in Nelson having to replace those tracks with new material.
At Nelsonica '02, held on 7 September 2002 at The Duke of Cumberland in North Ferriby, those in attendance were treated to a preview of 18 tracks from Whimsy a full nine months ahead of release. By then the format of the album had been confirmed as a double CD, Nelson having abandoned the idea of restricting Whimsy Two to a few hundred copies. After mastering the album later in September 2002 and getting artwork prepared and ready for the printers early in 2003, Whimsy was finally released in June 2003 in a fold out digi-pack sleeve complete with lyric booklet. With a few copies having been sent out mail order, the fanfare was then muted somewhat when it became clear that the CD labels had been juxtaposed requiring a re-print to be ordered. The album was back on sale in July 2003 ahead of the special 'preview showing' for the Flashlight Dreams and Fleeting Shadows DVD on 14 August 2003, and the 2 day long Nelsonica '03 (once again staged at The Duke of Cumberland in North Ferriby on 19/20 September 2003). Thanks to the marketing power of Voiceprint combined with the CD being a strong seller on the merchandise stalls at various Nelson live shows staged in 2003/2004, Whimsy sold out of its print run within 2 years of going on sale.
Out of print, although a digital download reissue is a possibility through Nelson's Bandcamp page.
A Lad Inane:
"Immediately, the artwork intrigued me and lunged me headfirst into Bill's retro-nostalgia world. Likewise, the song titles struck me as incredibly original, intelligent, and rife with imagery. I was hooked...When I got back into my car, I put on the first CD and was immediately taken with the sonic complexities, bubbling charm, and DIY instinct of "Nostalgia (For the Future)."
"Whenever I listen to Whimsy, I envision a little boy in 1950's smalltown America sitting before a Christmas tree and playing with a toy train. And then, in my daze, I accidentally drive my car off an embankment."
"Whimsy is a great album, starting by the wonderful cover!!! I think that just the graphic art already makes the album a "must buy"...but the music is even better."
"I love Whimsy! It was one of my personal recommendations to everyone seeking new musical enlightenment."
Favourite solo album: "For me, this has to be Whimsy, and for very personal reasons. When this came out, it was the first of Bill's albums I had bought for a while. The music was a revelation and I could not stop playing it over and over again."
"Whimsy is one of my favorite Bill albums and is the album that got me back into his music after an extended hiatus. "Nostalgia for the Future" is absolutely brilliant."
"From the classy sophisticated pop with a twist of "Always Summer", to the infectious riff in "Magnetism Made Me Do It", the album exudes class...The use of spoken word samples is inspired – adds another dimension."
"I think these are some of Bill's sunniest, catchiest tunes yet, and stylistically, there are some really unique numbers ("Let Flow the Wine", "Fundamental Blues", "Dumb Palooka", etc. etc.). Bill is a real chameleon on the guitar here also. Just wanted to say thanks Bill, and give Whimsy a proper shout out as an album that deserves attention. I know Magnetism made you do it!"
"Whimsy never gets "Old" to me. There's so much going on and it's always a new experience to me. I have always admired Bill's Vocals.
"Always Summer" is my fav. I find it quite mysterious, haunting, sad and uplifting..."
"A double album of weird and wonderful vocal tracks, lyrically looking back with fondness to more innocent times. Voices from the past are blended with electronic sounds of things to come, while Bill's vocals and guitar exist in both realms at once. This is retro-futurism in musical form."
"Slumberlite": "is THE classic track from Whimsy."
"A Simple Thought Flashes Through My Mind": "from the amazing Whimsy is a lovely combination of samples. Love this song, and the way Bill sings "under control" in the very low register."
"Powder Blue": "My wife Sam's favourite song has always been this track off Whimsy. It's a great summer song and full of pure pop sensibility. Burnt sienna as rich dark shadows and powder blue as a cloudless sky on those timeless flight days we all remember as children. Very evocative of all those days spent in a semi-rural landscape for both of us at different times at different ages."
"It's easy enough to recognise the Bill Nelson Spirit of Adventure in all his work. I love all of Bill's work and applaud his commitment to following his creative nose (can I say that? Yes, I think so), and enjoy the results of his audio excavations. I was worried when Bill switched to digital, as I feared for the loss of some of the BN sound, but I needn't have worried... reliable as ever, he proved he can still stand out from the crowd. Bless his cotton socks."
"Whimsy was my first Bill Nelson purchase just over a month and half ago after a gap of far, far too long. Bought quite a few since then. Major musical addiction now - I've heard there's no known cure this far from Galactic Central for the Nelsonian Rocketeers on board the Lightship Silvertone pulsing towards Andromeda."