In May of 2004, Nurse With Wound’s Stephen Stapleton and Colin Potter were abandoned in the Lofoten Islands near the Arctic Circle. What sounds like the plot of a compelling but peculiar reality TV show actually happened, and the two were provided with rudimentary recording gear and left to create music based on whatever sounds they could capture or produce using items they found on the islands. The results were broadcast three times a week on local radio and later released on this two-disk set. A fair amount of these tracks – each one named for the day it was recorded – are fairly stereotypical, at least by Nurse With Wound standards. The second disk consists almost entirely of metallic, low frequency drone pieces, most of which are fairly soothing, with the exception of “July 6,” which is riddled with high-pitched squeals and pulses. “June 15,” from the first disk, is also par for the course, with heavily distorted sound looped into extended broken rhythms. It’s the stuff that Stapleton and Potter left more or less alone that makes this so interesting: the sound of gulls and terns wheeling in the distance, the little rattles and clanks, the lapping of water. It’s almost like a more immediate, visceral version of those “Sounds of Nature” CDs, one that gives a real sense of place instead of an abstract idea of thunderstorms or ocean waves. The Lofotens are no desert islands, being home to several fishing villages – very appropriate considering Stapleton’s long-time fascination with “cod surrealism” – so there are also snippets of conversation. A woman describes some local delicacy. A man expounds on the Grateful Dead. There are even snippets of applause and distorted brass instruments from “Codstock,” the local summer music festival. It’s unlikely that most of us will ever find ourselves in Utvaer, but this is the next best thing to being there. For whatever that’s worth.
Visit www.brainwashed.com/nww for more information on this and other Nurse With Wound projects.
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