Dusted Reviews

Nurse With Wound - The Surveillance Lounge

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Nurse With Wound

Album: The Surveillance Lounge

Label: Dirter

Review date: Aug. 19, 2009

I would wager that most Dusted readers are already familiar with Nurse With Woundís lengthy discography of audio surrealism. But if not, youíre encouraged to check out the Brainwashed NWW page and the Wikipedia entry. The thirty-year journey of Steven Stapleton and his collaborators Ė including frequent partner Andrew Liles on this album Ė is a tribute to Dada, like a Tristan Tzara text interpreted via abstract sound.

For The Surveillance Lounge, NWW fleshed out pieces composed for a silent film soundtrack and turned them into four long songs, each around the 16-minute mark. To a great extent, though, this can be considered one long flowing text, as the track divisions could fall almost anywhere. With such a surrealist assemblage, one personís ending is anotherís beginning.

This is a very subtle album, which is both its strength and its weakness, depending on your proclivities and expectations. Ominous throughout, and calm more often than not, the music can easily fade into the background Ė which, ironically, works well when it suddenly bursts into startling cacophony after youíve forgotten itís even on. The dynamics at play can be a bit dangerous when put on late at night, as it will either be too quiet most of the time, or too loud in its random eruptions. Headphones are recommended.

If thereís one word that describes The Surveillance Lounge, itís dread. Seemingly innocent sounds Ė shifting static, crinkling and clattering Ė become drenched in foreboding against distant drones and mysterious reverberations. The slow piano of the opener, "Close To You,Ē; cut-up radiophonic voices, shouts, and screeches; cloudy murmurs and chanting; crazed factory buzzings and electronic fuzz: All of Stapletonís sounds refuse to lie still. The intense shrieks, howls, whooshing, and scraping of the occasional frenetic passages often come out of nowhere, and quickly subside back to whence they came.

The most memorable piece is "The Golden Age of Telekinesis,Ē which begins to build with exquisite patience at about the five-minute mark, and is still on its way up several minutes later. Simple rattling percussion accelerates the pulse as freakish sounds become more and more insistent, until it implodes with a sci-fi squelch into near-silence. Few other moments on the album match its intensity, which comes not entirely from the injection of rhythm and more from the passageís sense of purpose.

The Surveillance Lounge is certainly not an easy listen, and its crazed moments may put off those looking for a purely spooky listen. The quieter points may do the reverse. It took several listens for the albumís personality to come through for me, and Iím still not entirely convinced. But itís nonetheless a masterly performance if youíre prepared to give it some time.

By Mason Jones

Other Reviews of Nurse With Wound

Drunk with the Old Man of the Mountains

Huffiní Rag Blues

Read More

View all articles by Mason Jones

Find out more about Dirter

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.