Boomkat Product Review:
Nurse With Wound’s stygian dark ambient prowess is in deeply queasy effect.
‘Deadlined’ is a signature tract of stygian dark ambient by Steven Stapleton flanked by audio alchemists Colin Potter and Andrew Liles. It sensitively, yet unflinchingly, transposes Stapleton’s reading of Otto Dor Kulka’s ’Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death’ - the historian’s autobiographical account of time spent in Auschwitz during the Holocaust - into abstract musical terms that no doubt convey a clammy feeling of dread, to say the least. This one is far less “sinister whimsy” and just explicitly dark as hell, formed of a palette of cold-clawed strings and discordant electronic drone that evokes Kulka’s highly personal subject matter from Stapleton’s relatively detached perspective.
Renowned for his authoritative academic treatise on the Holocaust, Kulka’s award-winning 2013 book was unusually written from a mix of historic and biographic viewpoints that drew on his experience of Auschwitz as a child, and subsequent reflections on the nature of horror and death. Nurse With Wound’s musical interpretation delineate across three parts, with relatively concise works limning the sound of trains and a foreboding dread in ‘The Night Journey’, and the almost surgical foley of ‘Torment’, bookending a pitch black 30 minute centrepiece of spectral dread and unsettling avant-classical touches in ‘Musulmans Odyssey’.
Thwarted by Covid in 2020, but now in the wild, ‘Deadlined’ is among the most powerful examples of NWW’s hallucinatory music at the service of abstract storytelling.