Nurse With Wound
About Nurse With Wound
A loose, experimental project spearheaded by Steven Stapleton, Nurse with Wound explore abstract music -- influenced by Krautrock, musique concrète, freewheeling jazz improvisation, and Throbbing Gristle but including a heavy debt to surrealists Dali and Lautréamont -- with an overpowering release schedule of limited-edition albums and EPs. Stapleton has worked with an ever-changing list of collaborators, though Current 93's David Tibet was the only frequent recording companion during the 1980s and '90s; Andrew Liles and Colin Potter have both remained frequent contributors since then. While early releases such as 1979's Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella were sparse and improvisatory, Stapleton's work became more elaborate and conceptual beginning with 1982's Homotopy to Marie. Subsequent works explored absurdist humor (The Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion, 1985) and dark drone (Soliloquy for Lilith, 1988), while releases such as 1994's Rock 'n' Roll Station showcase NWW's more rhythmic side. During the 2000s, a series of radio broadcasts demonstrating the group's mastery of elaborate sound manipulation, was issued as a trio of Shipwreck Radio releases, and 2008's Huffin' Rag Blues offered NWW's skewed take on lounge music. The group's output during the 2010s has included collaborations with Sunn O))) (The Iron Soul of Nothing, 2011) and multiple releases with Graham Bowers, as well as reworkings of other artists' material, as on 2018's NWW Play Changez les Blockeurs.
Nurse with Wound began in London in 1978, and initially consisted of the trio of Stapleton, John Fothergill, and Heman Pathak. Their first three albums (1979's Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella followed by To the Quiet Man from a Tiny Girl and Merzbild Schwet, both 1980) reflected a naked, minimalist slant with long periods of quiet suddenly interrupted by guitar chords inspired by the avant-garde wing of psychedelia/jazz-rock, chains, music boxes, and found-sound recordings. The sleeves of the first two albums included lengthy lists of bands and sound artists who had influenced NWW, most of whom are highly obscure. These eventually came to be referred to as "the Nurse with Wound list," and have become regarded as a sort of shopping list among fans of experimental music.
Released in 1981, Homotopy to Marie was the first NWW album to be recorded by Stapleton solo, and he regards it as their true debut. Featuring significantly more detailed tape edits and studio manipulations than their past work, as well as traces of humor, it would set the stage for the project's subsequent ventures. Collaborations with Current 93 and Organum followed, as well as albums such as the whimsical The Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion (1985) and the more spacious, meditative Spiral Insana (1986). Soliloquy for Lilith, a triple album of minimalist ambient pieces, appeared in 1988, and subsequently came to be regarded as one of Stapleton's best works.
The alarming Thunder Perfect Mind, a sister album to the Current 93 release of the same name, appeared in 1992. The 10" EP Crumb Duck, a collaboration with Stereolab, was released in 1993, and later expanded into an album of the same name. The drum machine-heavy Rock 'n' Roll Station was released in 1994, followed by 1995's Alice the Goon and 1996's Who Can I Turn to Stereo. The latter featured the violin playing of Petr Vastl (Aranos), and the two collaborated on 1997's Acts of Senseless Beauty. The double CD Second Pirate Session appeared in 1998, containing the entire recording sessions for Rock 'n' Roll Station. An Awkward Pause appeared in 1999.
The early 2000s brought additional collaborations with Aranos and Current 93, in addition to the extended drone piece Salt Marie Celeste and the eclectic She and Me Fall Together in Free Death, both in 2003. The group produced a series of radio broadcasts during a residency in Lofoten, Norway in 2004, and these were released as Shipwreck Radio, with the first of three volumes appearing that year. In 2005 the double-CD compilation Livin' Fear of James Last offered an overview of their output. On May 5, 2005, Stapleton recorded an improvisational live piece in Vienna and released it in 2006 under the title Soundpooling. Tooth, Teeth, Milk, Skin, Teeth and Disconnect (with Faust) were released in mid-2007, while NWW's terrifying 1982 cult classic Homotopy to Marie was reissued on CD just in time for Halloween 2007. Three albums were issued in 2008: Huffin' Rag Blues, The Bacteria Magnet, and The Continuous Accident. In early 2009, the retrospective Paranoia in Hi-Fi: Earworms 1978-2008 prefaced a slew of studio albums including Space Music, The Surveillance Lounge, and May the Fleas of a Thousand Camels Infest Your Armpits.
In 2010, NWW collaborated with Larsen and Eberhard Kranemann (aka Fritz Muller) on Erroneous: A Selection of Errors, for Important. With NWW remaining ever-prolific, 2011 saw the releases of Space Music 2, The Vernacular Surface, and collaborations with Sunn 0))) (The Iron Soul of Nothing) and composer Graham Bowers (Rupture). Two self-released CD-R albums -- Dream Memory and ? -- were issued in 2012, as was the collaborative LP-only release Cabbalism with Blind Cave Salamander. The NWW reissue campaign continued in early 2013 with Sucked Orange/Scrag. Chromanatron, "a hallucination on the music of Sand," appeared later in the year, as did Parade (with Bowers). NWW also collaborated with Bowers on 2014's Excitotoxicity and 2015's Mutation... The Lunatics Are Running the Asylum. While much of NWW's own material during this time was digital-only or issued as limited CD-Rs, 2016's Dark Fat, consisting of recordings from gigs and rehearsals, was given a wider release. NWW Play Changez les Blockeurs, a reworking of the 1982 debut by the New Blockaders, appeared in 2018. In December of 2019, they released the epic Trippin' Musik, a collection that compiled several self-released volumes of lengthy psychedelic experimentation. ~ John Bush & Thom Jurek