Stuff You Might’ve Missed – Artist Profile – Steven Stapleton

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For three decades now Steven Stapleton has been serving wonderful (and wonderfully weird) sonic platters that mixed anything from psychedelia and krautrock to ambient and musique concrete. There is also a heavy non-musical influence in his work, as well, due to Stapleton’s strong interest in dada and surrealism. He is a man behind Nurse With Wound, a project that he was the only permanent member of, although throughout years he was assisted by members of Sword Volcano Complex, Hafler Trio and Current 93, among many others.

Originally, NWW started in the late 70s as a trio of Stapleton, Henry Pathak and John Fotgerhill. By 1981, however, the only remaining member of the band was Stapleton himself and he considers 1982 “Homotopy to Marie” the first proper NWW release.

1979 “Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And Umbrella” was NWW’s debut and probably one of their most controversial records as well. The title was based on a work by Comte De Lautremont, the French poet from 19th century mostly known for his book Les Chants Des Maldoror (which became a point a reference for not only NWW, but Current 93 and many other bands). Some record stores refused to display the original cover of the album, which was designed by Stapleton from a sleeve of an old porn magazine. All Music Guide called the album “one of the more glowing examples of late 70’s industrial noise” and UK magazine Sounds gave it a rating of 5 question marks.

1980 “Merzbild Schwet” was recorded without Pathak/Fotgerhill and was described by AMG as “”the first fully realized NWW record….a far more mature effort than its predecessors, much more focused and sounding less like some stoned guys goofing off in the studio”. 1981 “Insect And Individual Silenced” and featured Trevor Reidy and J.G Thirlwell (Foetus) as contributors. 1988 “Soliloqoy For Lilith” (essentially, one long drone separated into few tracks)  was a dedication to Stapleton’s daughter originally released as 3XLP set and considered to be one of his most succesful releases to date.

1992 “Thunder Perfect Mind” was a sister album to Current 93 album of the same name – although both records featured some of the same sounds and lyrics, they were still different from each other. 1993 “Crumb Duck” 1997 “Simple Headphone Mind” EP were both collaborations between NWW and English band Stereolab – apparently, the idea came out of the fact that Stereolab’s guitarist Tim Gane initially invited Stapleton to produce their album “Peng!”, but Stapleton refused to do it on the grounds that the record was “too rock”.   “Simple Headphone Mind” was a follow-up to “Crumb Duck” and featured more of Stereolab’s original recordings, unlike its predecessor, which mostly contained mostly unrecognizable remixes of various Stereolab tracks.

Currently, Stapleton remains as prolific as ever, since he released numerous collaborations with the likes of Cyclobe, Jim O’Rourke, Faust and Sunn O)))), full-length albums and contributed tracks to a multitude of compilations since 1999 (not counting re-releases of old NWW material). While hardly a mainstreaml artist, Stapleton nonethless made a name for himself, since some of the recordings of rare NWW material are treasured by music collectors and some of them are selling for an obscene amounts of money on Ebay.

In 2005, Stapleton also did a concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco,  his first live performance since 1984, which was followed by a band’s appearance at All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. Stapleton also announced plans to make his first hip-hop album with numerous guests, although it remains to be seen when (and if) the record will finally materialize.

In 2003, SAF Publishing released “England’s Hidden Reverse”, a book written by David Keenan (a frequent contributor to music magazines Mojo and Wire), which was dedicated to Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound as well as the general history of England and the context in which all of those bands were born.

Nurse With Wound Discography:

Chance Of Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1979 / 1990 / 2001 / RRRecords, 1987)

Merzbild Schwet CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1980 / 1990 / 1994 / United Dairies + RRR, 1987)

To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1980 / 1990 / RRRecords, 1987)

Insect And Individual Silenced CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1981 / RRRecords, 1987 / United Dairies + Raash, 2007)

Scrag Cass (United Dairies, 1981)

The 150 Murderous Passions (with Whitehouse) LP (United Dairies, 1981)

Homotopy To Marie CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1982 / 1992 / RRRecords, 1987 / Jnana, 2007)

Mi-Mort (with Current 93) CDr / Cass (Mi Mort, 1983 / Staalplaat, 1985 / RRRecords, 1987)

Ostranenie 1913 LP / Cass (Third Mind, 1983 / United Dairies, 1987)

Brained By Falling Masonry 12″ (LAYLAH Antirecords, 1984)

Gyllensköld Geijerstam And I At Rydbergs CD / 12″ (Laylah Antirecords, 1984 / Jnana, 2007)

No Hiding From The Blackbird / Burial Of The Sardine (with Current 93) 7″ (Laylah Antirecords, 1984 / Harbringer, 1990)

Nylon Coverin’ Body Smotherin’ (with Current 93) Cass (Mi Mort, 1984)

NL-Centrum Amsterdam (with Current 93) Cass (Staalplaat, 1985)

The Sylvie And Babs Hi-Fi Companion CD / LP / Cass (Laylah Antirecords, 1985 / 1987 / United Dairies + RRRecords, 1987 / United Dairies, 1987 / 1995)

A Missing Sense / Rasa (with Organum) LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1986)

Automating Volume One CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1986 / 2001 / RRRecords, 1987)

Ladies Home Tickler (Three Piece Sweet) 3xCass (Cause And Effect, 1986)

Spiral Insana CD / LP / Cass (Torso, 1986 / United Dairies + RRRecords, 1987 / United Dairies, 1997 / Jnana, 2009)

Automating Volume Two CD / LP / Cass (United Dairies, 1987 / 1989 / 2002)

Brained / Gyllenskold CD / LP / Cass (RRRecords, 1987 / Laylah Antirecords, 1989)

Crank / Wisecrack (with Termite Queen) 7″ (Wizewound, 1987)

Drunk With The Old Man On The Mountains CD / LP (United Dairies, 1987 / 2003 / Jnana, 2005 / Soyuz Music, 2005)

Nurse With Wound And The Hafler Trio Hit Again! (with The Hafler Trio) Cass (Staalplaat, 1987)

Alas The Madonna Does Not Function 12″ (United Dairies, 1988)

Faith’s Favourites (with Current 93) 12″ (Yangki, 1988)

Scrambled Eggs Rebellion In The Smegma Department / Time Stands Still (with Current 93) 7″ (Augenblick Magazine, 1988)

Soliloquy For Lilith 2xCD / 3xCD /3xLP /5xLP (Idle Hole, 1988 / United Dairies, 1993 / 2003 / Jnana + United Durtro, 2005)

???! (with Sol Invictus and Current 93) 12″ (Yangki, 1989)

A Sucked Orange CD / LP (United Dairies, 1989 / 1995)

Cooloorta Moon 12″ (Idle Hole, 1989)

Lumbs Sister LP (Cerne, 1989)

Presents The Sisters Of Pataphysics LP (Idle Hole, 1989)

Soliloquy For Lilith (Parts 5 & 6) LP (Idle Hole, 1989)

Caught From Behind (with Mauro Teho Teardo and Ramleh) LP (Minus Habens, 1990)

Horse / Lex Talionis / Lumbs Sister (with Sol Invictus and Current 93) 3xLP (Cerne, 1990)

Psilotripitaka 4xCD / 4xLP (United Dairies, 1990)

Sisters Senile EP 7″ (Shock, 1990)

Soresucker CD / 12″ (United Dairies, 1990)

The Ladies Home Tickler CD / 12″ (United Dairies, 1990 / 1993)

Creakiness / Firemoon (with Spasm) LP (United Dairies, 1991)

Live At Bar Maldoror CD (United Dairies, 1991)

Nurse With Wound /  Richard Sinclair’s Caravan Of Dreams / Underworlde Split 7″ (Ptolemaic Terrascope Magazine, 1991)

Alien 7″ (World Serpent, 1992)

Steel Dream March Of The Metal Men 7″ (Clawfist, 1992)

Sugar Fish Drink CD (United Dairies, 1992)

Thunder Perfect Mind CD / 2xLP (United Dairies 1991 / 2001 / Streamline, 2002)

Crumb Duck (with Stereolab) CD / LP / 10″  (Clawfist, 1993 / United Dairies, 1996)

Large Ladies With Cake In The Oven CD (United Dairies, 1993)

Rock ‘n Roll Station CD / 2xLP (United Dairies, 1994 / Beta-Lactam Ring, 2006)

Alice The Goon CD / 12″ (White Noise, 1995 / United Dairies, 2000 / Jnana, 2009)

Yagga Blues CD (United Dairies, 1995)

Who Can I Turn To Stereo CD (United Dairies, 1996)

A Missing Sense CD (United Dairies, 1997)

Acts Of Senseless Beauty (with Aranos) CD (United Dairies, 1997)

Simple Headphone Mind (with Stereolab) CD / 12″ (Duophonic, 1997)

Second Pirate Session LP (United Dairies, 1998)

Second Pirate Session – Rock ‘N Roll Station Special Edition 2xCD (United Dairies, 1998)

An Awkward Pause CD / 2xCD / LP / 2xLP (United Dairies, 1999 / Jnana, 2006)

The Swinging Reflective – Favorite Moments Of Mutual Ecstacy 2xCD (United Dairies, 1999)

Bright Yellow Moon (with Current 93) CD /2xLP (United Durtro, 2001)

Funeral Music For Perez Prado CD (United Dairies, 2001)

Motherfuckers Live + Hot Buttered Xhol (with Xhol Caravan, Current 93 and Christoph Heemann) 2xCD (United Durtro, 2001)

Purtle (with Current 93) CD (United Durtro, 2001)

Santoor Lena Bicycle (with Aranos) CD (United Dairies, 2001)

Man With The Woman Face CD / 12″ (United Dairies, 2002 / ICR, 2007)

Music For The Horse Hospital / Sounds From The Horse Hospital (with Current 93) (PanDurtro, 2002)

Chance Meeting Of A Defective Tape Machine And Migraine CD (United Durtro + Anomalous, 2003)

Chance Meeting Of Nurse With Wound And Unveiled On Charlottenburg (with Unveiled) LP (Bragagild, 2003)

England’s Hidden Reverse (with Current 93 and Coil) CD (SAF Publishing + World Serpent)

Salt Marie Celeste CD (United Dairies, 2003 / Jnana, 2005 / Soyuz Music, 2007)

She And Me Fall Together In Free Death CD / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2003 / 2005)

The Musty Odour Of Pierced Rectums (A Collection Of Obsolete Primitive Variations) CDr / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2003 / 2008)

Angry Eelectric Finger (Spitch’cock One) CD / LP (United Dairies, 2004)

Angry Eelectric Finger – Raw Material – Zero Mix CD / 2xCD / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2004 / 2008)

Aangry Eelectric Finger 1 – Tape Mooch (with Jim O’Rourke) CD / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2004)

Angry Eelectric Finger 2 – Paraparaparallellogrammatica (with Cyclobe) CD / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2004)

Angry Eelectric Finger 3 – Mute Bell Extinction Process (with Irr.App.(Ext.) CD / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2004)

Having Fun With The Prince Of Darkness 7″ (United Durtro + Jnana, 2004)

Lofoten Deadhead Cdr (ICR, 2004)

Shipwreck Radio Volume One (Seven Sonic Structures From Utvær) 2xCD (ICR, 2004)

Echo Poeme: Sequence #2 CD (United Durtro + Jnana, 2005 / Soyuz Music, 2007)

Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun CD (ICR, 2005)

Livin’ Fear Of James Last 2xCD (Castle Music, 2005)

Sand Tangled Women (Echo Poeme Sequence 3) 7″ (Klanggalerie, 2005)

Shipwreck Radio Volume Two (Eight Enigmatic Episodes From Utvær) 2xCD (ICR, 2005)

The Little Dipper Minus Two (Echo Poeme Sequence 1) CDr (Klanggalerie + ICR, 2005)

Untitled EP CD (Durtro + Jnana, 2005)

Natal Moonies (with Broken Penis Orchestra) CD (United Jnana, 2006)

Possible Nursemix For Sun And Moon Ensemble CDr (Self-Released, 2006)

Rat Tapes One CD (United Dairies, 2006)

Shipwreck Radio: Final Broadcasts CD (ICR, 2006)

Soundpooling CD (ICR + United Dairies, 2006)

Soundpooling / A Handjob From The Laughing Policeman 2xCD (ICR, 2006)

Stereo Wastelands CD / LP (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2006)

Disconnected (with Faust) CD / LP (Art-errorist, 2007 / Dirter Promotions, 2008)

Man With The Woman Face – Bonus Material CD (ICR, 2007)

Huffin’ Rag Blues CD (Dirter Promotions, 2008)

Huffin’ Rag Blues Etc. Canned 2xCD (Dirter Promotions, 2008)

The Bacteria Magnet 12″ (Dirter Promotions, 2008)

The Continuous Accident CD (United Dairies, 2008)

The Funktion Of The Hairy Egg (Code Scramble) CD (Dirter Promotions, 2008)

Two Shaves And A Shine Remix Project CD (Jnana, 2008)

May A Fleas Of A Thousand Camels Infest Your Armpits CD (United Dairies, 2009)

Soundcheck (with Fritz Muller / Eberhard Kranemann) CDr (Self-Released, 2009)

The Surveillance Lounge CD (United Dairies, 2009)

The Surveillance Lounge / The Memory Surface CD (United Dirter, 2009)

Selected Compilation Tracks:

“Duelling Banjos” on Hoisting The Black Flag (United Dairies, 1980)

“Untitled” on The Second Coming (Come Organisation, 1981)

“I Was No Longer His Dominant” on An Afflicted Man’s Musica Box (United Dairies, 1982 / 1985 / 1987 / RRRecords, 1987)

“Strange Play Of The Mouth” on From A Trench (Trench Musik Kore)

“Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree” on Für Ilse Koch (Come Organisation, 1982)

“Ciconia” on Masse Mensch (Selektion, 1982 / Odd Size, 1992)

“Someone Others Garden” on Rising From The Red Sand (Volume Two) (Third Mind, 1982)

“Summertime Belongs To Me” on Bethel (Self-Released, 1983)

“Excerpt From Pricksongs” on Rising From The Red Sand (Volume Three) (Third Mind, 1983)

“Nana Or A Thing Of Uncertain Nonsense” on The Elephant Table Album (X Tract, 1983 / 1989)

“Zappo-Leon V||” on Cadavre Exquis (Chimik Communications, 1984)

“I’ve Plumbed This Whole Neighbourhood” on Drastic Perversions (Inner-X-Musick, 1984)

“The Strange Play Of The Mouth” on In Fractured Silence (United Dairies, 1984)

“I Gan Noo Wha Ma Organ’s Gan” on Sounds Cosmodel (Atelier Peyotl, 1984)

“Antacid Cocamotive 93” on Three Minute Symphony (X Tract, 1984)

“Cottonwood Hill” on Vita Nova International (Vita Nova, 1984)

“It Just Aint So (Not A Cole Porter Song Unsung By Ella)” on Voice Notes & Noise (Recommended Music, 1984)

“Automating (Again)” on Born Out Of Dreams (Frux, 1985)

“The Dance Of Fools” on Could You Walk On The Waters (Third Mind, 1985)

“Elderly Man River” on Devastate To Liberate (Yangki, 1985 / United Dairies, 1985 / RRRecords, 1987)

“The Right To Kiss” on Evergreens Compilation Vol. 3 (Central Tapes, 1985)

“Yoko’s Anniversary” on Perfected Perversions (Inner-X-Musick, 1985)

“Charlie Hosts A Pork-Pie Parasite” + “Chair Improvisation #4” on Zamizdat Trade Journal Volume 4 (Zamizdat Trade Journal, 1985)

“Our Passions Are Inclined” on European Square Vol. 1 (Bande Blanche, 1986)

“The Cockroach Of Del Monte” on Ohrensausen (Dom, 1986)

“Ship Of The Dead” on F/Ear This! – A Collection Of Unheard Music, Unwritten Words And Unseen Images Inspired By Fear (P.E.A.C.E., 1987)

“Lonely Poisonous Mushroom” on Freedom In A Vacuum (Freedom In A Vacuum, 1987)

“Diana Of The Moon” on Osculum Infame (M.T.T., 1987)

“Astral Dustbin Dirge” + “You Walrus Hurt The One You Love (Excerpt)” on UDT Sampler (United Dairies, 1987)

“Alas The Madonna Functions” on Peyrere (Peyrere, 1987)

“A New Dress” on A Bead To A Small Mouth (Barooni, 1989)

“Smooching With The Sacred Cow Of Om” on Directions 2 (Direction Music, 1989)

“Human Human Human” (with Organum) + “Psychedelic Underground (In Memory Of Lüüd Noma)” + “Scapegoat” on Portable Altamont (Shock, 1991)

“Scissors, Radio, Bongo And Bell” on Ohren Des Kaiser Hirohito (Dom, 1992)

“Beetle Crawls Across My Back” on Fifty Years Of Sunshine (Silent, 1993)

“Nit-Pick” on Seven Seals (Durtro, 1996)

“Angle” on Succour (The Terrascope Benefit Album) (Ptolemaic Terrascope, 1996 / Flydaddy, 1996)

“Window Of Possible Organic Development” on Terra Serpentes (World Serpent, 1996)

“Rock’n’Roll Station” on Dream Injection 4: Bright / Dark (Sub Terranean, 1997)

“Transcribe And Dictate (Heavy Trad)” on Four Years In 30 Seconds (Dirter Promotions, 1997)

“Think Jazz, Think Punk Attitude” + “Spooky Loop” on Foxtrot (Chalice, 1998)

“Ubu Noir” on Not Alone (Durtro + Jnana, 2006)


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One thought on “Stuff You Might’ve Missed – Artist Profile – Steven Stapleton

  • […] I Heart Noise has a nice intro piece on Stapleton’s career. For three decades now Steven Stapleton has been serving wonderful (and wonderfully weird) sonic platters that mixed anything from psychedelia and krautrock to ambient and musique concrete. There is also a heavy non-musical influence in his work, as well, due to Stapleton’s strong interest in dadaism and surrealism movements. He is a man behind Nurse With Wound, a project that he was the only permanent member of, although throughout years he was assisted by members of Sword Volcano Complex, Hafler Trio and Current 93, among many others. […]

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