Title - Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights: Deluxe
Artist - Bill Nelson
For those not in the know, Bill Nelson is an English singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, painter, video artist, writer and experimental musician.
He rose to prominence as the chief songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the rock group Be-Bop Deluxe, which he formed in the 1970s.
Indeed, Nelson has been described as "one of the most underrated guitarists of the seventies art rock movement" and in 2015, he was recognized with the Visionary award at the Progressive Music Awards.
Released now via Esoteric Recordingsí imprint Cocteau Discs, a label dedicated to the work of Bill Nelson, is this impressive remastered and expanded 2CD digi-pack limited edition of the classic collection Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights.
CD 1: The Angel at The Western Window
1. "WEST KEEP"
2. "THE SPIRIT CANNOT FAIL"
3. "PILOTS OF KITE"
4. "SEVENTH SEAL"
5. "PHANTOM GARDENS"
6. "THE ANGEL OF HEARTH AND HOME"
7. "VILLEFRANCHE INTERIOR"
8. "NIGHT TIDES"
9. "FIRST MEMORY"
10. "AZURE EXTENSION"
11. "RADIANT SPIRES"
12. "THE EVENING PEAL"
14. "A SHORT DRINK FROM A CERTAIN FOUNTAIN"
15. "BODY OF LIGHT"
16. "AT THE CENTRE"
18. "THE WORD THAT BECAME FLESH"
19. "THE HERMETIC GARDEN"
20. "REVOLVING GLOBES"
21. "THE FOUR SQUARE CITADEL"
22. "LITTLE DAUGHTERS OF LIGHT"
23. "ORIENT OF MEMPHIS"
24. "THE ANGEL AT THE WESTERN WINDOW ADDITIONAL"
25. "THE PIANO ROOM"
26. "RAIN DANCE"
27. "ACHING HEART"
29. "WELCOME TO REALM SEVEN"
30. "WITHOUT A BLUE HORIZON"
31. "FEMALE NEBULA"
32. "DEMON RAISING"
33. "BURNING THE GROVE OF SATYRS"
34. "THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF"
35. "REALM OF ARCHONS"
36. "THE ROSSETTI EFFECT"
37. "INFINITE STATION"
38. "PIANO ANGELICA"
CD 2: The Book of Inward Conversation
1. "MY DARK DAEMON"
2. "THE DOVE CONSUMED (THE SERPENT SLUMBERS)"
3. "CALLING HEAVEN, CALLING HEAVEN, OVER"
4. "PATH OF RETURN"
6. "STAIRCASE TO NO PLACE"
7. "EVOCATION OF A RADIANT CHILDHOOD"
8. "THE KINGDOM OF CONSEQUENCE"
9. "THE DIVINE RAPTURES OF SISTERHOOD"
10. "BRIGHT STAR (MOONLIGHT OVER OCEAN BLUE)"
11. "A BIRD OF THE AIR SHALL CARRY THY VOICE"
12. "CLOTHED IN LIGHT AMONGST THE STARS"
14. "BRINGERS OF LIGHT TO THE FEAST"
15. "HASTENING THE CHARIOT OF MY HEARTíS DESIRE"
17. "CONSOLAMENTUM ECCLESIA GNOSTICA (MUSIC FOR THE INTERIOR CHURCH)"
18. "SET ME UP AS A SEAL UPON THINE HEART"
21. "DAY OF ETERNITY"
22. "EVENING ADORATION"
23. "ECCLESIA GNOSTICA"
24. "YOUNG ANGELS BY"
With 21 bonus tracks drawn from the original 1988 CD edition along with a rare, limited edition EP, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights is one of the most incredible ambient albums I've now had the pleasure to both review and own thereafter.
For the most part, these two discs cover Nelson's instrumental pieces. So if you're expecting more Drastic Plastic era Be-Bop Deluxe styling, you'll be sorely disappointed. That said, if you know what you like, and want very meditative, soothing, calming background mood to embrace you in your stressful day, than this is most definitely the (double) album for you.
Originally issued on Billís Cocteau label in 1987, the double set featured two distinct works; The Angel at the Western Window and The Book of Inward Conversation.
On the first disc, The Angel at the Western Window, you will find 24 tracks of pure, unadulterated bliss, with now an incredible 14 more bonus tracks, unreleased, and not on any album or cassette release until now.
The second disc, The Book of Inward Conversation contains 17 tracks, with an additional 8 taken from the 7" Vinyl EP originally only available with the first Vinyl LP pressing of Chance Encounters in The Garden of Lights.
Early in the '80s, Nelson had become interested in compiling short, impressionistic song sketches and incidental music into a larger, cohesive whole. In 1984, he had released a series of four albums in this style, featuring bits and pieces that fell in between one and two minutes in length, but this was the first time (here on Chance Encounters) that he had released a massive collection as a singular work.
The Angel At The Western Window is much more of an impressionistic piece where only five of its twenty-three songs actually break the two-minute mark. The tracks fade seamlessly into one another, making the listening experience as if you were simply enjoying the longest singular track of your life.
The Book Of Inward Conversation is, for the most part, a more conventional album where all the songs are varied in length. Sure, there are a few short pieces, but for the most part (and unlike the other aforementioned album) these are longer works of musical art.
The addition now of the bonus, previously only 7" Vinyl Single, Ecclesia Gnostica (Music For The Interior Church) makes this whole second disc so very much more appealing to me. At it's heart, it is a sweepingly deep, luxurious, quasi-religious number that embodies cathedral-style orchestrations in such a way, you would swear (eyes closed) that you were actually sitting in Church.
In closing, something I find personally fascinating is that Nelson was hired by British synth pop legend Gary Numan to produce his 1983 album Warriors. Numan claimed, at the time, that Nelson was his "favorite guitar player, bar none", but weirdly, the two musicians failed to maintain a working relationship, and ultimately Nelson chose not to be credited for his production role on the album.
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2CD Purchase Link