The mystical side
Anthony D Ravenscroft | Santa Fe, NM United States | 06/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For being known either as a Rawk Gahd or for his more jazzy forays, it's less well-known that Nelson has a strong mystical bent as well. This album reflects his studies in Western high magic & Rosicrucianism, and is specifically inspired by the works of Austin Osman Spare.As with the bulk of the Nelson corpus, most of "Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights" was created on-the-fly, and is vastly better than what most musicians take a year or two to assemble.This is one of the few albums that I can put on endless repeat when I'm writing, and it never seems to get old -- there's always one more nuance to amuse me, or an obscure melodic line suddenly becomes apparent. Even the long-memorised passages are both soothing & invigorating. If Nelson should ever decide to storm into the "New Age" or "meditation" categories, Steven Halpern will be (thankfully) forgotten in an instant.The album, by the way, is technically two (again, typical Nelson), comprising "The Angel At the Western Window" & "The Book of Inward Conversations.""
The very rich hours of Bill Nelson
William Timothy Lukeman | 07/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection of short, contemplative (but never soporific) pieces is something like a medieval book of exquisite miniatures composed in fine detail. It would have been easy to expand any piece into a lengthy, extended excursion; but I think they benefit from their concise nature. Listening to these two discs puts me in mind of wandering through the grounds & interior of some immense, ancient cathedral, pausing for a few minutes at a single sculpture, or icon, or garden, then continuing forward. It's a cathedral of the mind & the imagination, with each piece -- while indeed short & concise -- offering a glimpse or intimation of something far more vast. The feeling of artifice, in the Yeatsian sense of deliberate & beautiful craftsmanship, is very strong ... yet at the same time, it has the feeling of something organic, something very old & deeply rooted. If an ambient composer were to create a wordless hymnal (with wonderfully evocative titles), it might sound something very much like this. Why it's still out of print is beyond me, and we can only hope for a new edition soon -- most highly recommended!"