The Surveillance Lounge

Nurse with Wound

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The Surveillance Lounge Review

by Thom Jurek

The Surveillance Lounge is both an oddity and a similarity in the vast Nurse with Wound catalog. On the one hand, this is a puzzling affair because it comes on the heels of much more diverse, humorous, adventurous, and musically canny recordings, such as 2008's wonderful Huffin' Rag Blues. What is similar is that we've heard much of this type of experimentation from Steven Stapleton (NWW's founder and only constant member) before. This time out, Stapleton teamed with Andrew Liles, and received significant contributions from David Tibet, Nadja Belabidi, Lynn Jackson, Olly Mathura O'Keeffe, Freek Kinkelaar, Miranda Kinkelaar, Melon Liles, and Maude Swift. There are four tracks here, containing a total running time of a shade over 66 minutes. The sounds are dark, ambient, and industrial. This set meanders and drones, slips, whispers, and crawls, and feels like it takes more than double the actual time to listen to. There is a bit of noisy chaos in the center section of "The Golden Age of Telekinesis" and in the album's final cut, "Yon Assassin Is My Equal" (that also features a tiny bit of easy listening for fun) but that's it. The now-requisite humor and quick thought and editing processes that have made NWW the most fun group in experimental music in recent years is utterly absent here. Apparently, there is a limited edition with bonus discs that carries an earlier version of the album -- one wonders if it's any different. The approach is very minimal, hushed, studied. We've heard bits of this on NWW recordings before and often, but if we've heard an entire album this dreary and static from them, it's difficult to remember. That said, there are no doubt fans who will be delighted to hear such an extended "meditation" in dark ambient music from Stapleton, Liles, and company. It's a tough call, but this one is a head-scratcher to be sure.

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