Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Nurse With Wound - Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella

Nurse With Wound
Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella

Released 1979 on United Dairies
Reviewed by Jim Tones, 29/08/2003ce

Nurse With Wound is the recording vehicle driven by londoner Steve Stapleton whose 75 plus albums (at the time of doing this review) and together with many other projects, have been released on his own United Dairies label.

This debut release begins it's tale in the latter half of 1978...

.....Stapleton was going about his daily buisness working as a signwriter and and found himself working at a central london recording studio.

Legend has it that he got into a lengthy conversation about avant-garde and experimental musics with the in-house engineer, one Nicky Rogers.
Their talk got around to Rogers commenting something along the lines of- "...if you know of any groups or people who want to record some of that stuff then let me know..."

Stapleton, blinded by satori and possessing enough youthful savvy- replied that HE had an 'experimental group' together and asked if the offer was still open, Rogers then repying that the next weekend would be fine.

Of Course, he hadn't made any music before (having been a "deep listener" and vinyl junkie) and hastily got in touch with his two friends John Fothergill and Heeman Pathak, telling them to get hold of some musical instruments...ANYTHING!

Sure enough, they scurried around in the next couple of days having bought and aquired cheap guitars, ring modulators, effects pedals, a lumbering Keyboard, toys, tools, household appliances and entered the studio as arranged.
Without having a 'practise' as such, other than a level soundcheck, they drew in their breath and recorded their first album in six hours, totally improvised apart from a few overdubs, one being the 'commercial guitar' laid down by engineer Nicky Rogers, which was part of the cut-price deal!

The album was released in the summer of 1979
and together with it's striking S&M themed artwork (by Stapleton), it soon shifted the initial 500 pressings in a matter of weeks.
I could say here- "...and the rest is history..." ...BUT! I hear some people say...."what does it sound like ?".

Okay, first up is "Two Mock Projections", starting with some angular Guitar from Fothergill which is shadowed in the background by a lurking Keyboard drone straight out of early Kraftwerk.
Light machine sounds bob and float in the spaces, this is the sound of three budding experimentors spinning an aural tapestry with a wannabee axe-hero in Nicky Rogers- Stapleton has said in more recent years that -"It sounded like fucking Santana!".

"The Six Buttons Of Sex Appeal" is track two, and a Keyboard 'bossa-nova' rhythm (albeit heavily processed) shunts things into view. Shards of Electric Guitar steam in and then begins some glorious primal howling and yelping, this is the sound of pent-up frustration AND the glee of being able to run your own riot of expression in the newly found environment of a recording studio.
That said, there is a kind of in built logic and 'invisible know how' to this remarkable recording, it casts a potted vision of years spent in bedrooms analysing that latest Faust album, eagerly listening to some rare masterpiece from the underground, of endless hours talking about avant-garde and the surrealist artists the world over with youthful enthusiasm and thirst for enlightenment.

The third and final track- "Blank Capsules Of Embroidered Cellophane" is, for me, the cherry on the cake.
A 25+ minutes excursion that has Reed Organ, clattering Percussive sounds, Electronic skitters and some haunting Acoustic Piano phrases. If someone would have told me that this was a lost Henry Cow recording with Bowie sideman Mike Garson guesting on the ivories, I'd have consumed it hook, line and sinker.

Fothergill and Pathak left after a couple of years, leaving Stapleton to steer the NWW ship into further unknown and totally bewitching areas of recorded sound.

The man is a genius.

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