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Salt Marie Celeste

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Album Review

Salt Marie Celeste has just one long track that begins with a whisper of sound that ever so slowly builds even as it remains quite ambient. The underlying track was issued earlier on a rare Current 93/Nurse With Wound double CD called "Horse Hospital", and consists of an ambient, ultra-minimalist tape loop drone with a sound that rises and falls but otherwise doesn't change during its hour length. The original release didn't have much to it, and was no match for an earlier Nurse With Wound release in the same vein, Soliloquy for Lilith. On Salt Marie Celeste, other noises are very gradually introduced to the underlying drone and repeated at regular intervals. First, there's a whizzing sound that was also used on Man With the Woman Face, then a one-second high-pitched tone that almost sounds like a distant ship's horn calling for help in the mist, and later on, creaking noises that earlier appeared on a Nurse With Wound track titled "Creakiness." Then comes a low, clattering noise a bit like thunder and then eventually, other clattering noises. The creaks have a back and forth movement like the wooden masts on a listing vessel, and with all the other elements thrown in, one gets an eerie sense of doom, as if the ship was slowly sinking, whereas the earlier recording suggested the never-ending waves of an implacable ocean. Towards the end of the track (album), the sounds fall away and we are left again with the original minimalist drone ebbing and surging for another five minutes before slowly fading away. It?s one of the bands' more ambient ventures, borrowing bits from several other albums to make something completely different. Not quite their best but certainly a nice listen, and a big improvement over the earlier version.

Customer Reviews

for real-audiophiles

I don't know who gets paid to write those "ALL MUSIC REVIEWS" iTunes posts here, but it is quite an off assessment. This release won WIRE Magazines' best of 2005 for a reason: not because of its relation to other NWW titles, but because of its unparalleled and inimitable listening experience (how dare some staff-writer tell S. Stapleton what's what!). Warning: you MUST truly have an incredible stereo or the highest possible headphones to really be able to listen to this richly textured and subtle audio-art piece by one of the un-genres singular pioneers. If you do, then this work will at least alter your space-time perception. If appreciated whilst already under altered-consciousness, then who knows where this ear-worm-hole may transport you.

Soundtrack to a Nightmare

Deeply creepy. Utterly satisfying. Perfect for those, like me, who enjoy falling asleep to the sound of doom.

This is what they're all about.

The most representative Nurse album I have yet heard. A great album to do the washing up or house cleaning to. Go on, take the plunge!


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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