Bill Nelson: Transcorder – UK – 2xD 
- Sleepcycle (from Cocteau Club EP#1, 1982)
- Konny Buys A Kodak (from Cocteau Club EP#1, 1982)
- When The Birds Return (from Cocteau Club EP#1, 1982)
- The Beat That Can’t Go Wrong Today (from Cocteau Club EP#1, 1982)
- King Of The Cowboys (from Cocteau Club EP#2, 1982)
- Shadowland (from Cocteau Club EP#2, 1982)
- Carnival (from Cocteau Club EP#2, 1982)
- Spring (from Cocteau Club EP#2, 1982)
- Dancing On A Knife’s Edge (from Cocteau Club EP#3, 1983)
- Indiscretion (from Cocteau Club EP#3, 1983)
- Contemplation (from Cocteau Club EP#3, 1983)
- The World And His Wife (from Cocteau Club EP#4, 1983)
- Dream Car Romantics (In Death’s Garage Antics) (from Cocteau Club EP#4, 1983)
- Dancing Music (from Cocteau Club EP#4, 1983)
- Hard Facts From The Fiction Department (from Cocteau Club EP#5, 1984)
- Daily Bells (from Cocteau Club EP#5, 1984)
- Rhythm Unit (from Cocteau Club EP#5, 1984)
- Junc-Sculpture (from Cocteau Club EP#5, 1984)
- The Strangest Things, The Strangest Times (from Cocteau Club EP#6, 1984)
- Phantom Gardens (from Cocteau Club EP#6, 1984)
- French Promenade (from Cocteau Club EP#6, 1984)
- Golden Mile (from Cocteau Club EP#6, 1984)
- West-Deep (from Cocteau Club EP#6, 1984)
- Threnodia (from Cocteau Club EP#6, 1984)
- A Dream Fulfilled (from Cocteau Club EP#7, 1986)
- Familiar Spirit (from Cocteau Club EP#7, 1986)
- Palais Des Marine (from Cocteau Club EP#7, 1986)
- Letter To Jacques Maritain (from Cocteau Club EP#7, 1986)
- Villefranche Interior (from Cocteau Club EP#7, 1986)
- Tony Goes To Tokyo (And Rides The Bullet Train) (credited to Revox Cadets, Cocteau 7” B-side, 1981)
- Highway 2000 (credited to Revox Cadets, from Cocteau Signature Tunes LP, 1986)
- Dancing In The Wind (from Touch And Glow, 7″ B-side, 1982)
- Get Out Of That Hole (from Life in Your Hands, 12” single, 1989)
- My Dream Demon (from Life in Your Hands, 12” single, 1989)
- The Jitters
- Marine Drive
- Dark Horse
I know we may have admitted that we have had Bill Nelson fatigue over the last 28 years with his ceaseless art ethic and his ability to produce more music than I can safely absorb/afford. But I got an email that was a real eyeful today from his mailing list. In exactly a month and a day, Nelson will be releasing a 2xCD of music on his Sonoluxe label. That’s nothing new. He does that every few weeks, right?
This time while he’s also issuing a new album that was recorded while he was coming to grips with his new DAW workflow after his analogue board gave up the ghost and forced the hand of the inevitable. Sure, sure. There’s no better way to learn a bunch of software than by simply using it for a project [as long as you’re not on a tight deadline]. All well and good, but it was the CD below the fold that caught my eye.
I prided myself on basically having all of the music that Nelson recorded between 1978 and 1992 back when that only represented 20-25 albums or so! Even the limited edition ones were obtainable. I have all [or most] of the singles. I got the CD reissues. I was set. Within reason. But the one chink in my collector’s armor was the fact that I never joined the Bill Nelson Fan Club, owing to the difficulties in international direct commerce back in the old times.
Fan club members received an EP every several months of exclusive songs for the hard core fans. Some of these songs filtered upward into larger releases on a case-by-case basis. When “Konny Buys A Kodak” appeared on “The Two Fold Aspect Of Everything” in 1984, we could not discern its provenance, but with the advent of the internet, we now know that it was one of the fan club EP tracks. And the EPs were a nice mixture of instrumentals and vocal songs that were quite tasty and perhaps the first glimpse of just how productive Nelson could be while maintaining his musical caliber.
I’m surprised that it’s taken this long [!], but now Nelson has compiled all of the Cocteau Records Fan Club EPs into one digitally concentrated package. All 29 tracks that filled the seven EPs. Mastering sources were a mixture of master tapes and vinyl rips, but at least Nelson let us know this up front. My heart goes out to the person[s] in charge of Nelson’s archive as he was probably the only other major artist who could give Prince a run for his money in terms of prolificacy.
Better yet, Nelson has jam-packed the 2xCD set with copious handfuls of other, hard-to-get material that made sense to include this time, and the package was salted with five tracks, presumably also from the ’82-’88-ish period, that had never seen issue yet. But the bottom line here is that if anyone were to buy the seven EPS that made up three quarters of this package, you had better have deep pockets.
The cheapest copies on Discogs would set one back over $200. They have been on my want list [out of principle], but realistically, I don’t have $30-50 to throw around casually on 7″ EPs. I rarely pay more than $10 for any singles. This CD is going for a scant £15.00 [plus postage] so I am considering buying a copy with about $20 being my out of pocket costs.
With Nelson’s hardcore audience, expect this to sell out quickly. I don’t know how many copies he’s pressing up, but 500 is pretty common for many of his titles, and these tend to sell out of their press run in record time. Heck, a CD he issued in March of this year is already sprinting for three figures in Discogs! If I was made of money and way smarter, I’d be buying five copies of every CD Nelson issues [and gor’ love ’em for sticking with CDs!] and selling them off to finance my [hah!] retirement. But I just can’t play that game, even though it tops the stock market scam in ROI. If this sounds like a good idea to you too, then hit that button and grab a copy for yourself now, before the grabbing hands grab all they can.
– 30 –
This is the final missing piece of his 80s work, the high point in his vast catalog for me. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get this on an official release (I’ve had a CDr for years). It even includes the excellent b-sides to “Life In Your Hands”. But I’m also a bit sad as this means that’s the end of buying Bill Nelson’s work for me.
Gerald McBoing-Boing – It is a bit crazy that it’s come down to now for it to finally happen. I suspect that Nelson might have wanted to source every master tape for a CD and being unable to do that for all of the tracks held it up. I’m pragmatic. I’d accept a vinyl rip in lieu of a master tape to get the job done. Of course, I do that as my hobby, but I get Nelson wanting to keep the standard as high as possible.
This is possibly the best thing I have had the opportunity to purchase this year. May the Bill Nelson gravy train of music never cease!!!
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Echorich – When you said that, I just got the notion of how after Bill’s gone, those in charge of his legacy might possibly have a Prince Vault scenario on their hands! Can you imagine what it would be like if the music he released was only the tip of the iceberg?
I will certainly be buying this-music from my favourite period of Nelson’s work.
I have quite a few tracks on other singles/compilations etc but there is plenty there to tempt me.
Shame about the cover art-he produced some amazingly beautiful covers back in those days,but this is mediocre to say the least.
Like most people I know,I lost interest in his increasingly lacklustre noodlings after the 90s-The great,experimental and synth-heavy works he produced in the early 80s have stood the test of time and were a huge influence on my own musical productions.
Gavin – The cover was sourced from the “Acquitted By Mirrors” fanzine that was also distributed to the fan club. Only one of the fan club EPs seemed to have cover art.
Thanks for the heads up! That’s why I love your blog, hopefully it will be worth the wait as I love BN’s 80’s stuff. First CD I’ve bought for over a year since a Blancmange LP !!!
djjrdredy – Glad to be of service. I’m sure this will sell out quickly, so don’t drag your feet… says the guy famous for… dragging his feet.
Bill Nelson fatigue indeed, I sort of gave up on the LP a week from Bill after “holy Ghost” and “savage Gestures” , although I have had some luck with the odd 12″.I have taken a punt on this only because I have seen it here. Thanks.
Ade.W – I think you are very safe with this disc. The material I’m familiar with is good stuff. And speaking of which, the Nelson album after “Holy Ghost” that you really should hear is “Blue Moons + Laughing Guitars.” It really does sound as considered as the “old school” Nelson albums that took long months to make! While it is more of his quickly sketched work, because it was intended as a new Be Bop Deluxe album [which never happened] it doesn’t sound like it.
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In the words of Ira Robbins:”The deluge continues…” I had heard the tracks NOT on the Two-fold Aspect of Everything via YouTube and had hoped for an eventual reissue. OH HAPPY DAY!!! Thankfully I no longer try to keep up with Prince Rogers NELSON… ;;)
Dirk L Holland – Leave it to Bill Nelson and his fire hose of music he sprays us with! I can’t stay current; there’s just too much! But I can look in the rear view mirror this time! I’d better get off of my rear end and order that set before it sells out. As for Prince Roger’s Nelson, I’m gonna try to keep up, now that he’s deceased! That gives me the edge [in theory]. I did pre-order the SOTT ultrabox and it’s definitely worth the $113 I paid for it!
I seem to think that a bootleg buddy from the Joe Jackson mailing list provided me with a CD-R similar to the one Gerald has … about half of these tracks are familiar to me and much enjoyed. Naturally I will stop typing this short celebration of pleasure and order forthwith as in right now!
Now that that’s done: listening to some samples from his forthcoming album New Vibrato Wonderland it would seem the move to Cubase has spawned some nice work — the samples are all pretty good though move at a bit more stately pace than the tracks on Transcorder,
As for your contention that there’s a vault of mostly-unreleased music from Bill that would make Prince gasp — he says that the tracks for NVW were picked from over one hundred recordings he made learning to use the new software over the past year!
chasinvictoria – Don’t get too excited! As there’s learning curve associated with new software, discretion might be the better part of valor here. He probably did us a favor by skimming the cream, so to speak. Look at Ultravox! They went down the dumper just by getting digital synths in 1983! They had a huge dropoff in quality with “Quartet.”
schwenko – Thanx for the hot Bill Nelson DL tip! I’m subscribed to the mailing list but had not heard of this yet!
Monk, I took a chance on “Blue moons and laughing guitars”, it came today. I found one for less than £5.What a bargain, it is really good. So now I am looking forward to the new one. I dug out “chimera”, I had forgotten how good this mini LP is. So , a bit of a Bill nelson fest today. Once again , thanks for the tip.
Ade.W – Glad that worked for you. I was very impressed with that title, yet it was the last contemporary Bill Nelson CD I bought. A head scratcher.
Holy cow, I have all those fan club singles. Yes, sending money orders to the UK was a pain, but it was worth it for all those great songs. I stuck them all on a cassette and used to listen regularly. Then one of those money orders went missing and I lost about $50, a king’s ransom in those days. The fan club/Bill never responded to my inquiries, which put me off his music. For several years…all water under the bridge! This looks like a must have collection. Cheers!
Jeremy Shatan – Wow! So you actually ponied up the International Money Orders to subscribe to the Nelson Fan Club?! I knew about it since I bought this release, and there was a insert proclaiming their availability, but I think I’ve written more than once how every bank or financial agency I went to in Orlando, Florida in the 80s to get an IMO looked at me as if I were from another planet. Until PayPal existed, there really was no way for me to easily buy stuff from overseas. Apart from waking up at 4:00 a.m. and calling the UK with credit card in hand.
Yes, I think I went to the Post Office to make it happen. Not convenient at all! I got the magazines, too, and the Trial By Intimacy (The Book Splendour) box set through mail order as well. I was a stone-cold FAN.
Jeremy Shatan – So I needed to go to the Post Office instead of a bank??! D’oh!! I also remember getting “Trial By Intimacy” but the book was not ready yet, so we had to return the coupon in the box to have the book sent out when it was done printing. So the book arrived from the UK. But did I buy the box at Peaches, maybe? Or did Crunchy Armadillo get one in. All water under the bridge by this time!
Great blog! Thanks for all your work, so many of us enjoy your work, especially when you post about Bill Nelson!
If you have it, could you be persuaded to post “Duplex?” It’s a hard one to find affordably, and there’s only a few tracks I’m missing and would be keen to hear…
Thanks for considering!