Autumn 2002 A4 40 pages
DWELLER AT THE
Alan catches up with
Chance encounters and automations with Nurse With Wound,
Nurse With Wound releases seem to come in all shapes and sizes these days, and in all different styles too. As always, Steve Stapleton & Co., continue to pull new tricks out of their sleeves. The problem is, for me at least, that with so many releases (no complaints) to fully absorb such things for review, it takes dozens of listens to work-out how to judge an album and what to say about it. And, rarely is a Nurse release a simple thing to describe! Usually being sound‑art, as opposed to normal music, words of understandable meaningful description can be difficult to muster!
With such a confusing array of releases, it's easy to get lost in it all, and (quel horror) miss something important. So, let's backtrack. My most recent write-up's on Nurse With Wound releases in Audion were: WHO CAN I TURN ON TO STEREO (#37), ACTS OF SENSELESS BEAUTY (#38), A MISSING SENSE (#39) and AN AWKWARD PAUSE (#43), so let's see what I've missed....
Well, first-off, there's the repackaged, remixed, remastered, extended version of Nurse With Wound's debut CHANCE MEETING OF A SEWING MACHINE... which doesn't sound at all right to me. Talking to Steve Stapleton on the phone, he said "it wasn't at all possible to alter any of it, as the multi-track tapes don't exist", however, I'm not convinced, as a lot of the instrumental parts are way to vivid and to the front, with the sound being much more precise and clean. Personally, I much prefer the original LP or CD, despite the bonus novel reading of the "Nurse With Wound List".
Also remixed and extended is THUNDER PERFECT MIND, remastered to be issued as a double LP (Streamline 1020) with a bonus track added, and also issued as a United Dairies CD (UD 040CD). In the case of this album, we have the opposite reason for preferring the original, in that this doesn't sound as clean. A lot of the clarity of the original mix has been lost, and a lot of what sounded like real instruments now sounds very FM'd, very digital. I must be turning into a stickler fuddy duddy where such things are concerned, as I don't at all like the bonus Miss Ticker either.
In the seemingly never-ending remarketing stable was the odd collection THE SWINGING REFLECTIVE (United Dairies UD 069CD) 2CD which amounted to a whirlwind guide to all things not quite Nursey! With: Diana Rogerson, Tony Wakeford, Legendary Pink Dots, Foetus, Current 93, Stereolab, William Bennett, Aranos, Coil, Wallis/Bogg, etc. collaborations, mix and remixes, it included a number of rarities, though little essential for the already committed NWW collector, it was more for the casual newcomer many rarities!
But now, the real stuff. You'll see, there are lots of good new Nurse releases out there...
NURSE WITH WOUND
FUNERAL MUSIC FOR PEREZ PRADO
(United Dairies UD 098CD) CD 78m
A collection of oddments, this partly resells the YAGGA BLUES and SORESUCKER EP's to those who've already got them on CD, with the bonus of lots of other material. A strange idea really. I do like the little vocal insertion between the two Yagga's "A nondescript man gets pregnant and is consumed by a planet" - very weirdo David Lynch!
Funeral Music For Perez Prado (full version) itself, is actually very Aeolian String Ensemble, very atmospheric Ash Ra Tempel in static gliss mode territory, and does nothing for 20+ minutes really nicely. I Am The Poison seems to be unaltered from the original, whereas its B side Journey Through Cheese is extended considerably... clank, drum, drill, kjunk kjunk, bang... it goes on and on. A real challenge!
ALICE THE GOON
(United Dairies UD 081) CD/LP 30m
Audion #33 I complained that "the ALICE THE GOON EP ... disappeared
before anyone knew it existed" and in Audion #34 I revealed why
"Released for some French festival as an extremely limited edition
Now on CD (the vinyl seems to be sold-out) everyone can discover this wacky little sizzler: [I don't want to have] Easy Listening Nightmares (9'28") trips-along with a corny sax and jazz groove, as off-the-wall effects fly around (very Cooloorta) and we're reassured by some quirky damsel that "It's so easy baby, it's so easy!" - yes, it is - my type of lounge music! Prelude To Alice The Goon (12'51") is another playful one, if not so eccentric, it preludes the latest MAN WITH THE WOMAN FACE in many ways, with its twisted drone backdrop, with jangly distant muffled guitars, driven on by an infectious frame drum rhythm, with the icing (?) from some nice sleazy mutilated female voices.
We're not given any information as to what the untitled bonus track is, but at only 7'25" long it could easily have been much longer, feeling like the cosmic vocal/vibes sound of restrained early Ash Ra Tempel, yet distinctly Nursey. It acts as a calm coda.
SANTOOR LEENA BICYCLE
(United Dairies UD 053CD) CD 63m
Created for an art exhibition, this co-release with Aranos, came sandwiched between two pieces of the art, with a 3-fold exhibition programme in a resealable plastic bag. It was issued as just 500 copies, selling for at least £24.00 - so it had to be good, and was!
A total potpourri of Nurse styles, and more, it amounts a decidedly more eccentric release for the fans of the old NWW sound, but with lots of new ideas thrown in, from the beautiful, to the potty and totally insane, and ear-splittingly numbing. An impossible album to review really, and out‑of‑print now anyway!
MAN WITH THE WOMAN FACE
(United Dairies UD 0102) CD/LP 38m
A new album from the current duo format of NWW, namely Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter, this is one that's sure to surprise and delight you all!
Right from the start of Beware The African Mosquito [Ring The Doorbell, Put You To Sleep] you know you're in for 13’14” of very different, new Nurse With Wound: silence, to drone, squiggle, "vrrt vrtt k-tunnn..." ooze, scuttle, "clink, stutter, boing bong..." drone "Just a second" (someone repeats as a refrain), only at 11 minutes do we receive the promised swarm of buzzing insects. Enigmatic, creative, surprising, it is all that and more. A kind of static vision from SPIRAL INSANA land.
Ag Canadh Thuds Sa Speir (8’37”) has a frugal buzzing tone that grows, changes (folds-in and around itself) changing entirely at 5 minutes in, when a rock rhythm enters, falls over, explodes, doing!!!, before a tinny psych-rock fades over to scratchy violin, squiggles, buzzes, plonks, twisted cello, and then stops, just before we expect it to totally freak-out. A shame.
Finally, White Light From The Stars In Your Mind [A Paramechanical Development] (15’48”) title‑wise takes the backwards text from Pôle's Kotrill and Amon Düül's Paramechanical World (but not in that order), unifying these texts in a totally different context, as a steadily growing, very musical (for good Nurse With Wound that is) concoction, growing as a percussive beat, swells along with electronic washes, scattered organ sounds (very "Wired") and snatches of ethnic chanting, dying as the "White light.." text is repeated over a sustained string synth.
A brilliant, and very different, surprising release, indeed - to which almost everyone comments "it's a bit short though, ain't it?" Well, better a little gem than a big dollop of shit, I say!
AUTOMATING, VOLUME ONE
(United Dairies UD 053CD) CD 51m
AUTOMATING, VOLUME TWO
(United Dairies UD 054CD) CD 51m
Originally, Steve intended to reissue the two AUTOMATING LP's (collections of compilation contributions) as a 2CD set, including the bonus AUTOMATING, VOLUME THREE, which would include "everything from A New Dress onward" to quote the man himself. But, that didn't happen, chiefly because NWW ceased doing much in the way of compilation contribution, so (what with all the other releases that have included oddments) no material for a genuine VOLUME THREE accumulated. So, instead we've got two CD's, each with a bonus track (edited back in October 2000) one issued some time ago, and the 2nd in July 2002. I've reviewed these before in Audion, So won't go into great detail....
VOL 1 collects: Duelling Banjos (the remix version of the two "Registered Nurse" tracks), Stick That Chick And Feel My Steel Through Your Last Meal (from THE FIGHT IS ON), Nana Or A Thing Of Uncommon Nonsense (from THE ELEPHANT TABLE ALBUM), Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree (from FÜR ILSE KOCH), I Was No Longer His Dominant (from AN AFFLICTED MANS MUSICA BOX), Ciconia (from MASSE MENSCH), and the bonus of Automating (from BORN OUT OF DREAMS, if I recall correctly).
VOL 2 opens with A Strange Play Of The Mouth (weirdo vocals, from IN FRACTURED SILENCE), Elderly Man River/Dance Of Fools (totally eccentric, from DEVASTATE TO LIBERATE and COULD YOU WALK ON THE WATERS, for some reason joined together), Lonely Poisonous Mushroom (a collaboration of The Local Band, Nurse With Wound and Organum, from FREEDOM IN A VACUUM), Lea Tantaaria (here credited as Wolfli, from NECROPOLIS, AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES, from which Great-God-Father-Nieces still remains un-Automated), Human Human Human (very sick Negativland territory, from THE PORTABLE ALTAMONT, of which Psychedelic Underground and Scapegoat are on CD elsewhere), and the bonus of A New Dress (from A BEAD TO A SMALL MOUTH).
Both are excellent collections, good intros to the wide range of Nurse With Wound, and ideal for fans and collectors.
other works by...
TIBET & STAPLETON
(Durtro 044CD) CD 77m
I once asked World Serpent if the then vinyl only MUSICALISCHE KÜRBS HÜTTE would ever come out on CD. As an alternative version of MUSICAL PUMPKIN COTTAGE, it certainly needed a CD issue. Yet, what eventually appeared was this mixed-up affair, a disc that comes with an unreleased track, and another that isn't really Tibet and Stapleton.
Track 1: I Left Her For A Cartoon Octopus has intense tones, filtered sonics, square wave chopped modulations, could be nausea inducing if played too loud! At 16'58" it's overdoing an idea that should just have lasted 2 or 3. Track 2: The Fire Of The Mind previously came free with a book published by David Tibet. Actually an Aeolian String Ensemble work, it's excellent, but seems out of place here. Tracks 3 and 4 (41'23") are the excellent MUSICALISCHE KÜRBS HÜTTE, which you can read about in Audion #36 review pages!
This makes for an great value release, a kind of closing to a trilogy, but really, I could have done without the opening track.
MUSIC FOR THE HORSE HOSPITAL
SOUNDS FROM THE HORSE HOSPITAL
(Pan Durtro 001/2) 2CD
Exactly what this release is in aid of, I'm not sure, except that it's some sort of document of a performance art work at a gallery. The sound design of it would seem to be for an installation, not music for normal home consumption, so it's strange that it's been released really.
Current 93's disc sounds like no C93 we've ever heard before, with the only recognisable factor being David Tibet's opening and closing words "Alpha" and "Omega". In between, it's all very neo-classical, future-baroque, La Monte Young, very classical John Cale or Tony Conrad, violins, with Pascale Comelade at the piano type of stuff, that just meanders, with different arpeggios entwining ever onward. It exists and changes, yet never goes anywhere.
Nurse With Wound's SALT does even less, less than SOLILOQUY... even, as it just seems to be a richly toned digital synth (a mixture of breathy organ, strings and square wave tones) set up with filters, and put on hold. There seems to be nothing in the way of actual performance throughout the piece, except that it does subtly change (random filters linked to arpeggiator can do that) almost imperceptibly the waves do tend to grow and move at times, but no more than that. This also just exists.
For sound environments in a modern art gallery, I can imagine these working well. I wonder how they sound played together?
Also out there are a number of other related releases....
On oddity is the album promoted as "the first collaboration between Current 93 and Nurse With Wound" namely BRIGHT YELLOW STARS, which I didn't rate at all. Why it was billed Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, I don't know, especially as both project owners have worked together on dozens of occasions! It sounds like just C93 to me. It is apparently a work inspired by David's near-death experience, a ruptured appendix, so is very personal, but makes me wonder why it isn't just a David Tibet album.
Even odder, is a release credited as by The Sonic Catering Band ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES (Peripheral Conserve PH-06) which is either a collaboration effort or a various artists album. It opens with The Sonic Catering Band themselves and a piece very much in the Steve Reich Four Organs vein, followed by a couple of tracks that mix industrial synth and techno musics. Track 5, credited to Clear Spot, is an excellent piece of Krautrock freak-out. But, of main interest here is the track credited to Nurse With Wound Hindu Monastery Breakfast (8'37") and performed by S. Stapleton, P. Vastl and M. Waldron (so it says), which sounds like the background from NWW's I Was No Longer His Dominant topped with someone messing around scraping kitchen utensils. Interesting, but I wonder if it is an unreleased Nurse piece, or someone else doing a construction/remix?
To make sense of what's been released on United Dairies, here a condensed run-down...
UD 00CD NWW: Ladies' Home Tickler
UD 01CD NWW: Chance Meeting...
UD 02 Lemon Kittens: We Buy... (CD)
UD 03CD NWW: To the Quiet Men...
UD 04CD NWW: Merzbild Schwet
UD 05 The Bombay Ducks: Dance Music
UD 06 Hoisting The Black Flag
UD 07 Lemon Kittens: Cake Beast, 12" EP
UD 08 NWW: Insect And Individual Silenced
UD 09CD NWW: 150 Murderous Passions
UD 010 Musique Concret: Bringing Up Baby
UD 011CD Operating Theatre: Rapid Eye...
UD 012 An Afflicted Mans Musica Box
UD 013CD NWW: Homotopy to Marie
UD 014 Asmus Tietchens: Formen Letzer...
UD 015 In Fractured Silence
UD 016 Nihilist Spasm Band: 1x-x=x (CD)
UD 017 Diana Rogerson: The Inevitable...
UD 018 H.N.A.S.: Melchior
UD 019 NWW: Automating, Volume One (CD)
UD 020 NWW/Organum: A Missing Sense/Rasa
UD 021 Chrystal Belle Scrodd: Belle De Jour
UD 022 Current 93: In Menstrual Night (CD)
UD 023 Organum: Submission (CD)
UD 024 Guru Guru/Uli Trepte: Hot On Spot... (CD)
UD 025 NWW: Drunk With The Old Man...
UD 026 Robert Haigh: Valentine Out Of Season
UD 027 NWW: Alas The Madonna...,12" EP
UD 028 Masstishaddhu: Shekinah (CD)
UD 029 Current 93: Earth Covers Earth (CD)
UD 030 NWW: Automating, Volume Two (CD)
UD 031CD NWW: Soresucker (deleted)
UD 032CD NWW: A Sucked Orange
UD 033CD Current 93: Crooked Crosses
UD 034CD NWW: Live At Bar Maldoror
UD 035CD NWW: Soliloquy for Lilith
UD 036CD NWW: Sugarfishdrink
UD 037CD Stapleton/Tibet: The Sadness of Things
UD 038CD NWW: Large Ladies with Cake in Oven
UD 039CD NWW: Rock 'n' Roll Station
UD 040CD NWW: Thunder Perfect Mind
UD 041CD Chrystal Belle Scrodd: Beastings (deleted)
UD 042CD NWW: A Missing Sense
UD 043CD NWW: 2nd Pirate Sessions
UD 049CD NWW: Who Can I Turn to Stereo
UD 053CD NWW: Automating Volume 1 (re)
UD 055CD Volcano The Bear: The Inhazer Decline
UD 056CD NWW: An Awkward Pause
UD 059CD NWW: Crumbduck (w/ Stereolab)
UD 069CD NWW, etc: Swinging Reflective
UD 072CD NWW: Sylvie and Babs... (re)
UD 073CD NWW: Spiral Insana (re)
UD 081CD NWW: Alice The Goon (re)
UD 098CD NWW: Funeral Music For Perez Prado
UD 099CD NWW: Yagga Blues (deleted)
UD 100CD NWW: Acts of Senseless Beauty
UD 102CD NWW: Man With The Woman Face
UD 500CD Volcano The Bear: 500 Boy Piano
Note items in bold are available on United Dairies CD when compiling this. Those with (CD) afterwards have been reissued on other labels or with different catalogue numbers. As you can see, the catalogue makes sense, numerically, up to UD 43 (except items UD 36 onwards were all issued in the wrong order), then we jump to UD 49 and the numbers start racing. This could mean 1 of 2 things, either Steve's got lots of albums allocated for eventual release/reissue with these numbers, or he's just trying to make the catalogue look numerically impressive, especially so with UD 500!