Originally released as part of the My Secret Studio box set, Deep Dream Decoder compiles songs composed and recorded between 1988 and 1992 in one or the other of Nelson's home studio set-ups, including the apparently ad-hoc arrangement he calls "tape recorder cottage." During this four year period, Nelson was undergoing some major life changes, ranging from a legal war with his former manager, divorce from his second wife, and his eventual third marriage. Rather than falling into a funk and losing the ability to create, Nelson tends to go the opposite direction and create more than ever. The result is a collection of fully-formed songs, often quite densely arranged, with some splendid guitar work. Keyboards tend to be utilized for texture (although very Nelsonian textures, it should be said) and vocals get somewhat short shift, as usual - which is a shame, because Nelson has a distinct and interesting voice, and often comes up with fascinating lyrics; here, much of his writing relates to the conditions of his life, and the affirmation of hope for a better tomorrow. This is definitely an album that should investigated by more than the usual brigade of Nelsonian faithful.
AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald