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Drunk With the Old Man of the Mountains

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Album Review

This release fills in some holes in the vast Nurse with Wound catalog, gathering up five stray tracks from the mid-'80s into a nice package for the collector. Some of the tracks have appeared on compact disc reissues (for example "Mourning Smile" appears on the CD reissue of Spiral Insana, but was not on the original release) that were all out of print at the time this was released. So that makes this a nice piece for the rabid collector, and also a good starting place for the inquisitive. As an album, the tracks work surprisingly well with each other and present a rounded, if difficult, view of what Nurse with Wound was capable of at the time. "Mourning Smile" is a relatively brief (just over five minutes) distillation of Steven Stapleton's unique ability to mix disparate elements (ghostly drone with ragtime piano and pipe organ) into a disorienting collage that keeps a close listener on his toes. "Swamp Rat" is a long exploration of drones working over a Neu! Motorik beat. "Sheela-Na-Gig" recalls some of the Penderecki music that was used as the score to The Shining. Broadly cinematic and avante-garde, Drunk with the Old Man of the Mountains resists easy categorization except as a NWW release. It couldn't have been made by anyone else.

Customer Reviews

Sinister Whimsy for the Wretched, indeed.

Nurse With Wound remains the last of my favorite musical artists about whom I've tried to write, and for good reason—they simply put me at a loss for words. Artiste Steven Stapleton, who has been constructing and manipulating sound for three decades, and his digital ingénieur Colin Potter, who has been with him for nearly two of them, make unique, visionary, auteuristic, state-of-the-art soundpieces. When World Serpent Distribution, the former heart of the modern esoteric English underground in music, closed its doors a few years back, the entire Nurse With Wound catalog fell out of print. After connecting with Canada's Jnana Records, Stapleton and his United Dairies label gained a new market, and suddenly Nurse With Wound records (with reasonable prices!) began appearing stateside for the first time. DRUNK WITH THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS, originally from 1987, was one of the first fruits of the new arrangement, and not only does it work as a great introduction to an underground legend, but it acts as a gift to his fanbase, as it had never existed on CD before. Primarily a collection of edits left out of earlier Stapleton projects, it includes tracks from the original CD versions of such masterpieces as 1982's HOMOTOPY TO MARIE ("Astral Dustbin Dirge") and 1986's SPIRAL INSANA ("Mourning Smile"), as well as a rare look at the same time period's LIVE AT BAR MALDOROR days ("Shatterin' Man Falling"). Part of the fun of following Nurse With Wound is seeing how Stapleton hones his editing skills constantly over time, and this is a keen example of how he takes individual pieces, recorded at different times and places, and folds them beautifully into a larger work of its own.


Formed: 1978 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A loose experimental project formed in 1978 by Steven Stapleton, Nurse with Wound explored abstract music -- influenced by Krautrock, 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 worked with an ever-changing list of collaborators during the early years of Nurse with Wound, though Current 93's David Tibet was the only frequent recording companion...
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Drunk With the Old Man of the Mountains, Nurse With Wound
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