Nurse With Wound - Homotopy To Marie (1982)


Though Homotopy To Marie is the fifth album by Nurse with Wound, Steve Stapleton has said that he considers it the band's true debut because it's the first one he created by himself. Slowly created over the course of a full year's worth of studio sessions (Stapleton having booked one six-hour block per week for 52 weeks), Homotopy To Marie is no less unnerving and experimental than Nurse with Wound's previous albums, but it's far less chaotic. Stapleton created the album's five songs (four on the original LP; the 12-minute "Astral Dustbin Dirge," recorded during these sessions, was added to the CD editions) almost entirely through tape manipulation, artfully editing miles of audio tape into these lengthy dada-esque soundscapes. It may be more elegantly constructed, but it's just as difficult to penetrate. The opening track "I Cannot Feel You as the Dogs Are Laughing and I Am Blind" opens with a lengthy solo for random metal clanking that sounds like a drawer full of silverware being stirred with an axe handle and then fades into near-total silence for several minutes until a processed vocal wail wanders in, leading to an unexpected noise-burst climax that causes listeners to jump even when they know it's coming. The title track ("homotopy" is a mathematical term for the morphing of one two-dimensional shape into another, incidentally) consists of little more than gong crashes with occasional interjections of whispered voices, atonal violin-like creaks and other small and inexplicable noises. "Astral Dustbin Dirge" lulls the listener into complacency with a lengthy prologue of sounds resembling tape-manipulated whale song before a brief burst of cries and alarms then settles into possibly the most minimalist near-silence of the entire album. The 25-minute epic "The Schmurz (Unsullied by Sucking)" slowly builds into a symphony of feedback and electronic tones alternately droning at irritating frequencies and imitating natural sounds like woodpeckers and rainfall, like a more pastoral version of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. After that, the barely 90-second "The Tumultuous Upsurge of Lasting Hatred," a snatch of tape rendered near inaudible followed by several seconds of pure silence, sounds like a lullaby in comparison. While hardly accessible, Homotopy To Marie is at least generally comprehensible in its structures and sounds, and as such one of the most popular starting points in the Nurse With Wound catalogue.

3 comments:

decrepittapes said...

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dfmoss said...

knocks me flat on my ass each time I give it a listen. Thanks a bunch!

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