Nurse With Wound :: Volumes 1, 2 & 3 (Beta-Lactam Records, CD)

(02.28.05) Steven Stapleton is one of music’s true outsider geniuses, managing to operate independently for over 20 years making some very uncompromising music. Ranging from the tape manipulations of A Sucked Orange (United Dairies, 1989) to the queasy listening of The Sylvie And Babs Hi-Fi Companion (L.A.Y.L.A.H. Antirecords, 1985) to the dark ambient pulsations of Soliloquy For Lilith, (United Dairies, 1993) Stapleton has pursued his muse wherever it leads him. This time around, though, he felt some outside assistance would be apropos. So in come Jim O’Rourke, Cyclobe, and Irr.App.Ext to make their mark.

  • Angry Eelectric Finger, Vol. 1
  • Tape Monkey Mooch (Jim O’Rourke)

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    Jim O’Rourke’s volume is the best of the three. While sounding much like an untouched NWW record, O’Rourke brings out the menace and horror from the source material, creating two soundscapes that truly take over the environment they are played in. At low volumes, track one is a gentle pulsing lullaby that is disrupted by some metallic interference at the end. But loud, the piece opens up and allows its secrets to be seen. I swear there’s a sample of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” in there somewhere. Track two is much more noisy, completely different from track one, using the full range of the stereo image, panning back and forth chaotic electronic stabs, undercut by some saxophone from Xhol Caravan. This morphs into an almost ambient section, but is stopped by something that, in true NWW fashion, can only be described as “metallic” and “bowed.”

  • Angry Eelectric Finger, Vol. 2
  • Paraparaparallelogrammatica (Cyclobe)

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    Cyclobe, a.k.a. some-time Coil members Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown, take the opportunity to make some of the most frightening soundscapes created by men. Using the most jarring and piercing electronic tones of the source material (available separately from this set, and unheard by this reviewer), Cyclobe’s entry into the series is probably the hardest to listen to, but all the more rewarding because of it. Described by the label as deeply psychedelic electro, this reviewer would have to disagree. This is music as concrete as it gets, devoid of rhythm, melody, etc., but full of true actual sound upon sound. Probably the closest in spirit to Nurse With Wound’s aesthetic of “aggressive disorientation,” perfectly in line with albums such as Spiral Insana (Torso, 1986) or the louder moments on Rock ‘n Roll Station (United Dairies, 1994).

  • Angry Eelectric Finger, Vol. 3
  • Mute Bell Extinction Process (Irr.App.Ext.)

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    Irr.App.Ext, a.k.a. Matt Waldron, starts in much the same place as O’Rourke, using a panned ratchet sound and doom-y drones to create a mood of quiet obliteration. These sounds are allowed to build for a while before they are smeared and warped into an oubliette of ambience that includes the mothership from Close Encounters and a xylophone, I think. Very hard to tell just what is making each sound on a project like this. Which is a good thing. This may be one of the best aural versions of what it sounds like inside your head as you lose balance, but before you fall. There’s a measured use of silence on this album, which is appreciated, in that the sounds are so dense, any reprieve to sort them out is welcome. Again, while similar in construction to O’Rourke’s volume of the series, this edition takes things to the next level, introducing a little more chaos and flying further away from the source.

    All three releases are out now on Beta-Lactam Ring Records.

  • Beta-Lactam Ring Website
  • Nurse With Wound Website
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