Red WharfMusic

 

 

Steven Stapleton and Graham Bowers

The collaborations are a result of the chance meeting of Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton and Graham Bowers, both artists were appearing at Bangor Sound City's first art/sound event 'Wet Sounds' curated by Joel Cahen located at the Bangor Swimming Pool, North Wales, in January 2011. Both were admirers of each others past works and felt that a collaboration on a new piece of work could be an interesting and exciting prospect, consequently Rupture was the first full length work, and was released as a Double Vinyl album/LP, a CD and Download.

The Vinyl album and CD have been released through Dirter and are distributed by Cargo. Downloads are available through all the major download stores.

Following on from the success of Rupture, a new work Parade was released on the 3rd of June 2013 as a CD, a special limited edition Double Vinyl album is scheduled for release in February 2014. Both are released through the Red Wharf label and distributed by Cargo. Downloads are available through all the major download stores including BandCamp

A small number Parade CDs and Diploid (Parade ~ Epilogue) CDs are now on sale: Of Interest? ~ go to shop.

The Special Pre-Release Art Edition of the Double Vinyl album Parade by Nurse With Wound and Graham Bowers have all been sold ... Sorry.

A Special Pre-Release Limited Edition of the Double Vinyl album Parade by Nurse With Wound and Graham Bowers
This pre-release is a  LIMITED EDITION of 185, each containing a 8.26" x 8.26" (210mm x 210mm) full colour folded Art Print, each one individually signed, brush-marked and numbered by Steven and Graham.
The price for each LIMITED EDITION ALBUM of Parade is £60.00 which includes post and packing

 

 

 
 

Parade
A collaboration between Nurse With Wound (Steven Stapleton) and Graham Bowers


The music is an audio sketch-pad, capturing a Commedia dell’Arte type procession of the extremes and banalities of what we are, and what we do, on this bizarre and indefinable one-way trip to oblivion.

A continuous musical track in eight sections:

OFF TO HELL ON A HANDCART
APES AND PEACOCKS
BELLS OF HELL GO TING A'LING A'LING
RING A'RING O'ROSES
A TISSUE OF DECEIT
RATS, CATS AND DOGS
BEYOND THE PALISADE
THE BITTER END

The CD features original artworks by Babs Santini and Graham Bowers, and a special double vinyl limited edition album is available now.

 

 

Artworks: Babs Santini and Graham Bowers

Read Reviews of Parade

Parade 01
Parade 02
Parade 03
 

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OFF TO HELL ON A HANDCART

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APES AND PEACOCKS

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BELLS OF HELL GO TING A'LING A'LING

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RING A'RING O'ROSES

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A TISSUE OF DECEIT

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RATS, CATS AND DOGS

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BEYOND THE PALISADE

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THE BITTER END

For details on the double vinyl ~ go to shop

 

 

Diploid (Parade ~ Epilogue)
A collaboration between Nurse With Wound (Steven Stapleton) and Graham Bowers

A twenty minute composition recalling the salient musical motifs and the final resolution of Parade.

Artworks: Babs Santini

 
Parade 01
Parade 01
 
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Excerpt

 

Of Interest? ~ go to shop

Reviews ~ Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brainwashed ~ Magazine

John Kealy ~ 20th October 2013

Nurse With Wound and Graham Bowers, "Parade"/"Diploid (Parade ~ Epilogue)"

 Red Wharf

For their second collaboration, Steven Stapleton and Graham Bowers take the elements that worked so well on Rupture and push them outwards into something more bewildering, but equally as compelling. Pomp, ceremony, showbiz and a cryptic approach to musical arrangements, this is a powerfully odd and oddly powerful work by the duo. As much as I enjoyed Rupture, its heavy subject matter prevents it from being a regular addition to my listening schedule but Parade fills that gap perfectly.

Given the name of the album, it is perhaps no surprise that the music largely has a touch of fanfare and a strong beat to it. Synthesised brass and strings bring to mind The Residents circa Freak Show (their last great one in my opinion) but sound far less rigid. Divided into eight movements, Parade does truly sound like I am surrounded by marching bands. Granted these marching bands are a far cry from the usual mobile orchestras seen at the St. Patrick’s Day parade or at a New Orleans Mardi Gras but the different segments fade in and out like the sound is being made by musicians in transit. The fact that the different segments also tend to be jarringly different is also reminiscent of the parades I would go to as a child; an American high school band followed by traditional Irish musicians followed by dancers dancing to pop music would not have been out of the ordinary. A psychotic brass band followed by frenetic electronic beats followed by eerie noises from the outer dark would not have been normal for sure.


Such otherworldly sounds permeate the album with pieces such as "Apes and Peacocks" and "The Bells of Hell Go Ting A'Ling A'Ling" sounding like they are celebration music from another dimension and one that might or might not be friendly. On "The Bells of Hell…" first appears one of the album’s leading motifs: amidst the clanking industrial rhythms is a scratchy recording of "Thanks for the Memory." The song appears in various stages of decay throughout the rest of the album, its presence mysterious and made all the more strange considering it keeps popping up among a slew of other oldies and showtunes. Only a sizeable chunk of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "I Am the Very Model of Modern Major General" on "Beyond the Palisade" rivals it for playtime.
Yet, Stapleton and Bowers do not rely on the music of others to propel Parade forward. Each section is a dense and intricate layering of different rhythms, melodies (some tonal, some atonal) and typically Nurse-y scrapes and clangs. "A Tissue of Deceit" stands out as being particularly good, combining hammy horror soundtrack with actually unnerving mood all on top of an upbeat but wobbly beat. It manages to be funny, terrifying and catchy all at the same time. It reaches its peak when, about three minutes in, insistent rhythms and a cacophonous range of sounds come together in a trippy climax.

The bonus disc, Diploid, is listed as an epilogue to the main event and with good reason. The single 20 minute piece feels like Parade in redux as the different themes and sounds explored during the album are regurgitated, re-assimilated and reformed into something new. Additions of creepy acoustic guitar and discordant piano add further drama to the sounds, whatever feelings of excitement present in Parade become soured and unwelcoming as if the parade has turned back on itself and was marching into the underworld. It seems almost a crime that this is not part of the standard Parade album because it is a solid way to finish off such a head-scratcher of a release.

 

 
 

Freq ~ Magazine

Michael Rodham-Heaps ~ 8th June 2013

Graham Bowers and Nurse With Wound – Parade/Diploid

 
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Wharf

Only listened to this twice so far, but I must say its miles more entertaining than the previous Graham Bowers collaboration Rupture. Gone are the studious symphonics,  favourably replaced by liberating wonky oompha chip-chop that scatters the wares more psychsomatically without labouring any fixed point..

“Off to Hell on a Handcart” (seriously loving these track titles) is stereophonically awry, a slippery mess of Michael Jackson moonwalk on a blancmange pavement of pomposity. An erroneous comedy monkeying around with your cranium like old-fashioned ‘Wound used to, before everything got protracted and drone swept. There’s too much going on, not that I’m complaining, Mr Stapleton and company haven’t been this satisfyingly doodah since The Surveillance Lounge. A welcome return to form me thinks, as my head feels that it’s swimming in too much alcohol and that internal gyro is about to let things fly. The speakers are working the savage twists and huge swells of  bloated Thicke‘n ‘Pharrell over  Floyd‘s “Heart Beat Pig Meat.” Surfing those gooey choirs swallowed in monumental dronic croup and collapsed kola crushes whilst an airborne Mr Bowers spits notation like massive globs of multicoloured chewing tobacco.

The pleasures fly by, three tracks in and you’re suddenly immersed in some mighty fine piano insanity, a nailing techno that’s batshit crazy (I’m listening so loud the windows are quaking). A judder jaggered action sequence shuffled into the back of tomorrow fading on eerie rivers of cooling fat whilst the innards of piano wire play on ill winds. “Ring A’ring O’roses” is full of scribbled discordance, a weird shrill and squeaky gravy. The brass skirting round choral creepers and strange percussive indigestions. Old gramophone flavours coming and going to fluffy organisms on hospital trolley wheels; a feed-Baucus-aba-caustic-bizarre-ness fading to a lone whistling bin man. This should be on the education syllabus, it’s definitely on par with trying to read the other side of Ulysses or the unfathomable Flounder by Mr Grass (easy has never been on my agenda).

I’m really enjoying every single minute of this – as the violins and ominous swell of “A Tissue of Deceit” suddenly whips into a munster dance floor of loose scoops of ’30s crooner, cross wired with panel punching beats  and against the tide operatics. It’s a mess that almost doesn’t work, but it cusps that disgruntled frontier beautifully in mixed metaphors of interchanging texture, bedazzles you in abrupt swindle. The penultimate “Beyond the Palisade” is a curmudgeon of mental hammering to a Gilbert and Sullivan ribcage of BPM xylophonics. Punishing and ludicrous, leading to the worry beaded soundscape of “The Bitter End,” with its harmonic cloisters oozing away  on an orchestrated slow roast to nowhere.

The 20min bonus Diploid is an epilogue to Parade, a slow electroacoustic groping of piano wires and zithery misfirings of notation; a considered vibe that relishes in a restrained chaos blighted in rolling classical touches. Rising horns and twilight caresses. Dark Cage(ean) rumbas and siren calls from beyond, dancing textures between the left and right channels. Swollen beats, cutting off to a rising of rusty hinges and the creakiness of empty swings to a Mozart haze. Classic Nurse territory of scraping and tourniquet tightenings.  Berio floods of insecurity at odds with the jewellery box cuteness, liquifications of insects scuttling all over it  as decaying notes steam off into cul-de-sac(ean) recesses retiring on a piano viscera fade.

FAB-U-LOUS.

 

 

 

 

Read Reviews of Rupture

Rupture
A collaboration between Nurse With Wound (Steven Stapleton) and Graham Bowers

This work is an attempt to create a musical illustration of the ‘goings-on’ in the brain during the last hour and three minutes of a life after suffering a major stroke.

The piece is multi-layered and is primarily concerned with the internal chaos caused by the loss of control of thought processes, responses and consequential actions, with all types of incoherent disjointed memories and present real time events – as well as moments of lucidity, panic and fear – clashing, merging and evolving.

When the complexity of the human brain’s retained information and the inherent properties which constitute a‘life’, an ‘individual’, a ‘person’, are catastrophically damaged after blood – ‘life’s fuel’ – ruptures the previously organised and essential control centres, absolute mayhem follows.
The cold, hard indisputable truth, and one that we all have no alternative but to accept, is that:
“… a life as it now is, is not what it was, and never will be again”.

 
Artworks: Babs Santini and Graham Bowers
 
Rupture ~ Front cover
Rupture ~ Front cover
Rupture ~ Front cover
Rupture ~ Front cover
Rupture ~ Front cover
Rupture ~ Front cover

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CD ~ " ... a life as it now is,"   Vinyl ~ Disk One

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CD ~ " ... is not what it was,"   Vinyl ~ Disk Two

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CD ~ " ... and never will be again,"   Vinyl ~ Disk Four

Of Interest? ~ go to shop

 

Reviews ~ Rupture

Brainwashed Magazine

John Kealy ~ 29 January 2012
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This "musical illustration" of the events occurring in the brain following a lethal stroke is a dramatic, chilling and emotional portrait. Musically, it is removed from anything else Nurse With Wound have done (even if it does touch on similar influences as the rest of Steve Stapleton’s body of work) as Bowers adds a more composerly hand to Stapleton’s surrealist drift. Bowers and Stapleton have crafted something unique that does not fit neatly into any categories, even amongst Nurse With Wound’s expanded horizons. This is draining, devastating and utterly compelling.

Bowers’ work in the medical field designing environmentally controlled rooms for operating theatres and medical imaging suites has added tremendously to the power of the piece. Listening to this from two different perspectives, firstly from that of an enthusiastic experimental music listener and secondly from my professional perspective as a neuroscientist reveals an impressive and moving synthesis of art, science and pathos. Concepts such as memory and disinhibition of neural networks are played out in the music; a warped sample of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the sound of children’s voices appear to represent the resurgence of memories in the minutes before death (possibly due to metabolic disturbances within the temporal lobes of the brain). The disrupted electrophysiological rhythms of the brain are represented in the discordant and tumultuous rhythms of Bowers’ playing.

Towards the end of the album, various permutations of "My Blue Heaven" are played, gasped and hinted at. The protagonist/patient/spirit promises to see loved ones (whether living or dead, we are unsure) in their blue heaven. The effect is moving and unsettling, my own memories at the loss of loved ones (albeit not from a stroke) emerging in the fabric of the music. While I have always found Nurse With Wound’s music to be enthralling on a number of levels, this is the first time I have ever felt Stapleton’s music to connect in such a powerfully emotional way. I have been frightened, entertained, humoured and provoked but never have I felt grief.

The weight of Rupture is crushing; this is not music to turn on, sit back and relax to. It is intrusive, captivating and mentally exhausting. Each time I listen to the album, I feel like another little part of me has changed. Aptly, the titles of the segments sum up not only the medical and physiological implications of a stroke but my feelings as a listener following this work: "A life as it now is, is not what it was, and will never be again."

 
     
 

Freq ~ Magazine

Linus Tossio ~ 1st January 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweeping in on modernist orchestrations, Rupture is a very different kind of Nurse With Wound collaboration, though there is plenty which harks back to Steve Stapleton‘s tape-loop manipulations of orchestral music both in Nursey guise and with Current 93‘s earlier harshly overbearing recordings in the pre-Apocalyptic Folk days. Here there is an explicit theme hinted at in the title, as the ensemble attempt to envisage musically what it might feel like to undergo a severe brain embolism – and who better for sculptor and composer Graham Bowers to work with on such a project than Messrs. Stapleton, Liles, Waldron and Potter?

Wall of sound doesn’t begin to adequately describe the onslaught they unleash together; once the first few gentle tones of part one’s calm before the rupture (“… a life as it now is,”) have been dispensed with, there’s no stopping the sounds layering and slathering over each other in an incrementing palimpsest of composed, found, cut, pasted and thoroughly mashed up sources, from bombastic kettledrums and braying horn sections to the crooning sounds of yore, flummoxed and banjaxed together. Part two (“…is not what it was,”) is marked by the sudden drop from rubbery throbs and a slowing of the heartbeat pulse as what sounds like a terribly unprepared piano is given a strum, plonk and surging snippy surgery as the cackling, pounding blood music flows lopsidedly, seemingly up, down and round the hill with an increasingly demented air as a marching band engorges itself Ourobouros-style inside the victim’s head.

The religiose cacophony of the likes of C93′s Dog’s Blood Rising and Bowers’ own compositional method (which he terms sound theatre) bubbles up through the mire on synthetic strings and sampled roadworks, a symphony of multimedia detritus emergent as the brain begins to recurse upon itself, then shatter under the strain of catastrophic failure. The stumbling, slurred incoherence of a stroke sufferer comes via the poor abused piano once again and shivery strands of synthesis, smeared and traumatised by tape manipulations in the throes of Modernist spasms and bilious chorales.

There are repeated visitations to rhythmic devices – clocks, pulsing arteries, bright shards of painful sound stabbing straight for the inner ear, bowel-churning rumbles of the corpus under stress and strain – whose recurrence builds into a narrative of dissolution, of inevitable consequences of the blockage of blood flow to the brain. Part three (“…and will never be again”) brings medical emergency sounds in as the patient stabilises, the whirr and heave of assisted breathing phasing in and out of audibility with the immanence of those pearly gates and white-lit voids chiming at the brink. The thrum, crunch and crashes of the orchestral heaves take up the strain, the musical body undergoing its own catharsis as the voices return. Indistinct and unquiet, their speech is hesitant, their laughter hollow and the moans chorused to a fragmentary swing coda, jazz mired in a soup of dissonant brazen memories as the words decay to nullity.

A dizzying descent into malfunction on the most personal of levels, Rupture marks a return to gelatinous surrealistic pillow music from NWW in one of those fortuitous collaborations which was just waiting for the right circumstances to happen.

 
     
 

a closer listen ~ Magazine

Richard Allen ~ 26th January 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One hour, three minutes and thirty seconds of death: that’s one way to describe Rupture, and in this case, the description is literal. This concept album seeks to “create a musical illustration” of the dying brain following a stroke; and damn, is it powerful.  The brain is a miraculous storage facility, but following a stroke, all of the neurons get jumbled.  The ensuing hodgepodge of memory and fantasy, important and inconsequential is fearsome and wondrous all at once.  So much packed into electrical impulses!  So much beauty, so much despair!  All of these conflicting thoughts and feelings are present in Rupture, an album composed in a tightly controlled fashion, yet ironically reflective of chaos.

Shy strings and sullen brass introduce the stroke: bursts of color like tiny stars exploding in the brain.  A series of drum rolls leads to an ominous passageway.  From whence do these incoherent voices stem?  Are their chants sinister or benign?  (To quote Jacob’s Ladder, “if you’re frightened of dying, and you’re holding on, you’ll see demons tearing your life away”.)  Is there a message embedded in their code?  And what of the radio transmission that follows?  Is it a memory, a phantasm, a TV show?  Who will sort these things out?  Why do sense not?  Who in, as wonder?  Feel.  Truth, is!  Is!
Why does the phone keep ringing?  Who am I?  At this point, the questions are moot.  As outsiders, we know what’s happening.  We know that the heartbeat is fading, that the systems are dying, that the snatches of radio, the choirs and laughter, the children singing “Happy birthday”, are all part of a larger scheme: a life.  The auditory dredge is in full effect, but scrambled.  Notes begin to warp as if passing through wormholes.  And yet, for brief moments, everything makes sense.  The mind is back in the presence of the indelible: a playground, an orchestra, a Latin mass.  Yet as the blood vessels grow desperate for oxygen, all coherence fades.  The sensical crumbles into the void.  A clock stops and restarts.  One yearns to comfort one who by nature cannot be comforted, can no longer recognize comfort, can only recognize that there is no more recognition – and soon even that will be lost.

In its final moments, the composition achieves the triumph of not-knowing, a victory that mirrors its subject.  How faithful a reflection this may be has yet to be determined; one can only hope that some time passes before such mysteries are revealed.  But the album sounds as we imagine one’s dying, stroke-ridden brain might sound, and therein lies its sad and savage triumph.  
 
     
 

Piccadilly Records ~ Record Store Day 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Due to popular demand this work is now available as a very limited double vinyl LP in a special edition for Record Store day 2012.

It's the first collaboration of Steven Stapleton's Nurse With Wound and composer/sculptor Graham Bowers. It is, without doubt, one of the best things we have ever released. It's an extremely unnerving, but also hauntingly moving listening experience. The work is an attempt to create a musical illustration of the "goings-on" in the brain during the last hour and three minutes of a life after suffering a major stroke. It is multi-layered and is primarily concerned with the internal chaos caused by the loss of control of thought processes, responses and consequential actions, with all types of incoherent disjointed memories and present real time events - as well as moments of lucidity, panic and fear - clashing, merging and evolving.

It's essentially one long piece, but is presented here over 4 sides of finest quality 150 gm virgin vinyl. . "...a life as it now is,. ...is not what it was, ...and will never be again" The records have been expertly mastered for vinyl and cut by Noel Summerville at 3345 Mastering, who's 30 + years of experience of cutting vinyl speak for themselves. It arrives packaged in a beautiful gloss laminated gatefold sleeve, featuring artwork from both Babs Santini and Graham Bowers and a full colour insert. At the artists' request, it is limited to just 500 copies.

250 copies of these have been created for Record Store Day. This edition will additionally contain an extra insert, each one being a unique hand created piece of art, mounted on black fine art paper and individually signed and numbered by Steven and Graham.