Nurse with Wound

Rock N Roll Station

by Jennifer Kelly

20 December 2006

 

As cult figures go, few are more reclusive and mysterious than Nurse with Wound’s Stephen Stapleton.  Collaborator with David Tibet, definer of a legendary (and partly fictional) experimental music cannon, and creator of thirty or so confoundingly fascinating albums, Stapleton seldom finds it necessary explains himself.  His liner notes for this rhythm-obsessed collection of soundscapes mentions a dream involving himself, Joe Meek, Graham Bond, and Jac Berrocal as inspiration, and a rare interview uncovers his motivating obsession with mambo.  But nothing, really, could account for an album as weirdly compelling, as austere yet sensual, as scarily intense and yet intermittently humorous as this one.  Originally recorded in 1994, the album starts with the distant techno beat and muttered observations of the title track, where Berrocal’s bicycle (which figured in his own composition of the same name) is name-checked and someone named “Michael” is mysteriously absent.  The cut has an inexplicable heft, despite its stark minimal elements.  There’s next to nothing there, but you can’t turn away.  The two succeeding tracks outclass it though. “The Self Sufficient Sexual Shoe”, with its Jarboe-ish sybilline whispers and ominous drum & bass thunder, is an ineluctable juxtaposition of sexual heat and metallic-polished chill.  “Two Golden Microphones” is denser, more tribal, layering clinking hammer tones atop a fluctuating ooze of synthetics, introducing voices, a digeridoo, and a world beat at various points along its 17-minute duration.  Cuts become more difficult as you move further on, dissolving finally into the abstract austerity of “Finsbury Park, May 8th, 1.35 PM (I’ll Se You In Another World)” and its even more esoteric re-imagination, “1.35 PM Remix.”

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