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Nurse With Wound and Blind Cave Salamander – Cabbalism I, II & III

ICR / United Dairies

Nurse With Wound & Blind Cave Salamander ‎– Cabbalism I, II & IIILoving the way this triptych holds you sensory hostage. One of Nurse With Wound‘s most mellowest outings to date too, documenting three separate live concerts between 2011 and 2012 with the Blind Cave Salamander — a onetime support act that Steve Stapleton invited to be absorbed into the NWW sound world.

On paper this was meant to be a live rendition of Soliloquy for Lilith, a premise that (I feel) on listening quickly dissolves into something else entirely. There’s an underlying taste of the serpent within, that glowing magnetism/otherworldliness of the original still persists, but this feels piloted towards a future sense of itself. A sound that swaps the prevailing electronic sheen for a saturation of bowed goodness courtesy of the Blind Cave Salamander. A twinkle in the eye that wiggles the melancholic on a half-lit hook of suggestion, and serves to contaminate, mimic, phonically shimmer in a Houdini of classical vanishing-points and eerie nocturnes.

Like those Czech or Polish movie posters, the arts judder with Jan Švankmajer-like potential; even the typography murmurs the clank of invisible typewriter. Hands attempt to cup a pink butterfly on the first disc. The music echoes this, in a silvery womb of slow gravities and flicking strings, a vivid landscape flittering in and out of grasp on recurring swells of cello and fluxing electronics. Kettle-like whispers that stick to your imagination fringed in curly-cueing fingers, whale-like wonderments and a persistent glimmer of the celestial.

The second disc (the art’s a fist of crushed butterfly) is my favourite, an amorphous jellyfish of glinting twilights that takes the vibes of first disc and shoot them full of narcotic arrows. You get a real sense that the two bands are gelling together here, becoming a homogenised whole. Splashes of spontaneity honeymooned by slugs of lilting melody, bare-boned harmonics torpedoing the UFO spins, the whir-pitched claws. The clusters of musical saws woo(ing) like Lilith owls, a shoaling blur of Narwhal, perhaps chased by a cross-hatchery of cello. The e-bowed guitar barking momentarily at the décor as the cello strings fade like cyan sick beachside photos, to be resurrected on the incoming tide of gnarly volatility. It’s achingly beautiful, slow and captivating stuff that glow-worms your head; astral armchair music that unshackles, full of zesty directions that throw your thoughts out there.

This is music to float in, to get swept around by. The first ninety minutes just breeze past and the third instalment continues the pleasure in a slightly edgier vibe (at least to begin with), agitated by a constant chafe of acoustika. More classical motifs follow, peering through the metallic gauze of the electronics, setting off a jet stream of hypothermic shivers that overtake the piece and ebb away into a altogether tranquil direction. A stone-washed rub that finally aches a hollow tubular grace and the odd vocal illusion before terminating in audience applause.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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