Nurse with Wound

Alice the Goon: Second Edition

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As its liner notes make clear, Alice the Goon is a re-release of a two-song, limited-edition record that was sold at France's Musiques Ultimes Festival in 1995. Depicting a huddled mass of hybrid, degenerating goons, disfigured and distorted by the artist's lacerating strokes and haloed by jumbled lettering, the album's phenomenal cover art is indicative of its contents. The first track provides just the easy listening nightmare its title conjures. What begins with a simple rumba is slowly and meticulously devastated as the predictable repetition is countered by the swelling and evasive noise of distorted guitar squeals and industrial interference. The effect is like watching a dancer under a strobe light; it's not clear whether the apparent unity of the rumba is disrupted by the electronic noise or whether the unity was an illusion from the start. The image on the surface of the disc itself -- a magic wheel animation of a dancer -- underscores Stapleton's sonic experimentation with the phi phenomenon on this track. The two tracks that follow, "Prelude to Alice the Goon" and an untitled track that fans have dubbed simply "Alice the Goon," provide a fantastic counterpoint to the repetitive rhythm of the first track; atmospheric noise and spectral vocals wind unpredictably around each other over muffled rhythms. With Alice the Goon, Nurse with Wound offers just under 30 minutes of fascinating music that's no less beautiful for its disturbing experimentation.

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