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Nurse With Wound – The Surveillance Lounge


Hmm. Nurse With Wound. Nurse With Wound, Nurse With Wound, Nurse With Wound. What to say? Writing about Nurse With Wound is like trying to nail a jellyfish to the fourth wall. After what seems like over nine thousand albums of surrealist sound sculptures, Stephen Stapleton (and partners in crime Andrew Liles, David Tibet, and a whole bunch of other skewed prophets) hasn’t yet lost the ability to unsettle.

For a band who are based so much on the possibilities of sound, it’s weird that Nurse With Wound should be so much more easily defined by cinema and litarature. Listening to a Nurse album is like stepping into a Shirley Jackson story. There’s something of the Victorian haunted house about it; though NWW have always managed to balance the spooky with the funny. Part haunted house, part hall of mirrors, Mr Stapleton strikes me as the audio equivalent of evil cinematic genius Takeshi Miike. You never know what you’re going to get – it could be funny, it could be spooky, but you KNOW it’s going to be three things. Firstly, REALLY fucked. Secondly, REALLY intense. And thirdly- AWESOME.

The Surveillance Lounge is, to my mind, more in the spooky camp than the funny one. Though it has its moments of absurdity. It’s like walking through a haunted house where every room presents you with a different reality; a different hallucination. If I can be lazy enough again to bring cinema into it, if it was a David Lynch movie it would be Inland Empire. And I think Lynch is a pretty good reference point – ominous bass drones and insistent chattering vocals phase in and out, like breath, or like tides.

Some of it is subtly unsettling; on occasion it’s intensely scary. It has its laugh out loud moments, but it also has its periods of noise, any of which Whitehouse or even Merzbow would be proud to lay claim to. And it’s a house where everything creaks. And everything is threatening. And the scariest thing in it is your own reflection in the mirror, because what are all these sounds except what you imagine them to be? Is that a bug gnawing away at your wallpaper? Is that the sound of your typewriter realising you don’t know what to say? Is that the sound of you reading a review and still not having any idea what the album sounds like?

No. That’s the sound of me nailing a jellyfish to the fourth wall. If you want to know WHY I’m doing it, then listen to The Surveillance Lounge.


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