NURSE WITH WOUND
Anyone with me here? I was up to my eyeballs in NWW back in the '90s and kept up the pace 'til about 2003 or so, but have slacked off in recent years for no other reason except, well, I guess there's a thousand other musical avenues worth exploring, too, and I had/have the feeling that 20-odd NWW discs was enough to keep me satisfied for at least half a lifetime. Steven Stapleton, aka Nurse With Wound, managed to keep a fairly subterranean profile for nigh on 20 years, or at least until The Wire put him on the front cover of their magazine in 1997, with a story by David Keenan, and next thing you knew the guy was the pin-up boy for esoteric music geeks the world over. The NWW "list" - the list of musical influences Stapleton displayed on the inside sleeve of their debut LP, Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella - is so legendary amongst collector-dork circles you could Google it right now and find at least half-a-dozen web sites dedicated to its artists, Best Ofs, fake entries, omissions, etc. Fact is, I've been known to debate its merits myself (fancy that!), such as: Steven, why so Eurocentric? How on earth could you not list Sun Ra or Cecil Taylor?
I haven't purchased any NWW since '03, though I've been giving some of the old faves a spin and I've narrowed his best efforts (at least out of the albums I own) down to: 1986's Spiral Insana (the best, and probably should've been listed in my Top 100 a little while ago); 1996's Who Can I Turn To Stereo; and 1999's An Awkward Pause. The first possesses a creaking ambience which never shifts, and whilst it doesn't exactly explore many different areas of sound, the terrain it travels is note-perfect. The second is from NWW's supposed "sell-out" period from the mid '90s, when hardcore noiseniks thought Stapleton had gone soft by daring to put a goddamn tune or two on his records (the cheek!), though for my money the ethno-trance-rock shenanigans he was indulging in at the time sure beats the cut-up/tape fuckery of his more difficult works. And the latter, An Awkward Pause, is a full-blown "rock" album w/ David Tibet on vocals that sees the NWW moniker quite seriously "rocking it" like Stapleton is living his teenage dreams of having joined Guru Guru or Ash Ra Temple in a Berlin nightclub. It is pulled off with such aplomb it still has me wondering why he hasn't indulged further w/ the idea of making NWW a full-blown krautrock tribute act for a few discs more. I'd buy 'em!
Stapleton is still active playing music and creating his art on his farm in Ireland, and has even taken to playing the odd live gig the last year or two, something he didn't do for 20 years or so. There's also that hip-hop album he keeps on threatening to release... Hmmm... the guy's in his 50s now, still going strong, has a healthy back catalogue which still brings me joy, and for that I raise my glass! Anyone with me?