The Memory Surface
Details
2009 May 3xCD UK Dirter Promotions DPROMCD72
In polyprop box
Notes
Containing the following three releases.
Reviews
This mail order only edition of Steven Stapleton and Andrew Liles' The Surveillance Lounge is superb. In addition, there are two extra CDs of drastically different versions of the album. Creaking and groaning their way across an audio backdrop that brings to mind the boggling landscapes of Yves Tanguy, the three discs cover the same unnerving mental states as classic Nurse With Wound albums like Homotopy to Marie and Insect and Individual Silenced. It is the first Nurse release since Salt Marie Celeste that has spooked me in any significant way and it is a welcome return to weirder moods after the lighter side of Nurse With Wound that has been explored with their recent live and studio output.

With a title like The Surveillance Lounge, this might suggest that the (un)easy listening style employed on Huffin' Rag Blues has persisted but that is not the case. When elements of easy listening music do appear, it throws a sinister normality amidst the even more sinister strangeness. On "Yon Assassin is my Equal," the introducion of a relatively inoffensive lounge rhythm puts me on edge; Stapleton and Liles combine the annoyance of being stuck in a waiting room with an existentialist anxiety. Claustrophobic and paranoid, the music and incidental sounds haunt the listener, creating the sweaty discomfort of a bad dream. The nightmare continues with "The Golden Age of Telekinesis" where there is a fabulous, violent midsection featuring a demonic auctioneer that suddenly cracks open into a quiet, disorientating abyss.

Elsewhere, disembodied voices speak in French and German, bringing to mind the regrettably underexplored Echo Poème Sequence releases. In these moments, the unearthly beauty of Stapleton's audio surrealism come to the fore. Yet no matter how wonderful parts of The Surveillance Lounge get, the dripping dread is never far away. Stapleton and Liles conjure up an surreality where the sublime is dangerous and the benign is unfamiliar and threatening. The whole experience recaptures that early obsession with Le Comte de Lautréamont's Maldoror and the darker moments of that novel are mirrored in the viscous quicksilver of "Close to You."

The other two discs in The Memory Surface are dedicated to earlier versions of The Surveillance Lounge. The album started off as a soundtrack to F.W. Murnau' Der Brennende Acker before evolving into the album described above. The soundtrack version of the album is a different beast altogether, the vast majority of the music bathed in vinyl surface noise like a fog obscuring a landscape. The effect is reminiscent of Philip Jeck's work, crusty old records being given a new life in an unintended way. It is impossible to tell how much (if any) of the material is vinyl-sourced but the alien nature of the sounds suggests that whatever sources were utilised have been completely shorn of their original contexts. Elements are recognizable from The Surveillance Lounge but there is a large difference between it and the music created for Murnau's film.

Also included are early mixes of "The Golden Age of Telekinesis" and "Yon Assassin is my Equal," which are familiar sounding but still a far cry from the finished versions. They are different enough to warrant their inclusion but overall they lack the intensity of the The Surveillance Lounge versions and the atmospheric allure of the older Murnau soundtrack versions. However, from a phylogenetic standpoint they allow a glimpse into the fossil record (as it were) and provide the missing link between the soundtrack and the album.

The Memory Surface is well worth buying over the standard version of the album. While a lot of Nurse With Wound special editions are aimed at the hardcore fan, this is one instance where the special edition trumps the standard version hands down. What Second Pirate Session did for Rock'n Roll Station, The Memory Surface does for The Surveillance Lounge.

John Kealy

14 June 2009
The Surveillance Lounge
Details
2009 May CD UK Dirter Promotions DPROMCD72
In six panel digipak
Track Listing
  1. Close To You (15:08) [nwwllap]
  2. The Golden Age Of Telekinesis (17:32)
  3. The Part Of Me Which Is That Part In You Is Now Dead (16:36)
  4. Yon Assassin Is My Equal (17:06)
Personnel
Sleeve Notes
Steven Stapleton
Andrew Liles
David Tibet: voices, big muff and hawtrey

Voices by: Freek Kinkelaar, Miranda Kinkelaar, Nadja Belabidi, Olly Louis Mathura O'Keeffe, Melon Liles, Maude Swift

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Bear Den, Brighton

Cover art: Babs Santini
Label art: The Fat Controller
Layout: Paul Jackson

Eternal thanks to Steve Pittis and Mark Logan
Bandcamp
The Memory Surface - Disc A
Details
2009 May CD UK Dirter Promotions DPROMCD72a
In card sleeve
Track Listing
  1. Akt. One (21:06)
  2. Akt. Two (8:23)
  3. Akt. Three (17:03)
  4. Akt. Four (16:15)
Sleeve Notes
In 2007 Steven Stapleton and Andrew Liles were invited by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation via In Famous to perform a live soundtrack at La cité de la Musique, Paris, to the 1922 Murnau film 'Der Brennende Acker'

Part of this performance incorporated some of the material included on disc A and disc B of 'The Memory Surface'.
Akts 1-6 formed the backing track and were developed in the studio prior to the live event. Specific musical effects and other sculpted sounds were designed to coincide with on screen sequences and also to sympathetically emphasise the antiquated visual quality of the film.

From these backing tracks and with the rearrangement and adaptation of individual sounds, the initial recordings began to cultivate a distinctly different identity. The new sounds that were generated and musical parts recorded for the film became rudimentary building blocks for 'The Surveillance Lounge'.
The Memory Surface - Disc B
Details
2009 May CD UK Dirter Promotions DPROMCD72b
In card sleeve
Track Listing
  1. Akt. Five (9:51)
  2. Akt. Six (11:44)
  3. The Golden Age Of Telekinesis (Early Mix) (22:01)
  4. Yon Assassin Is My Equal (Early Mix) (10:31)
Sleeve Notes
Included on this disc are the earliest mixes of 'The Golden Age Of Telekinesis' and 'Yon Assassin is my Equal'.
These versions have been included to catalogue the first phase in the development of 'The Surveillance Lounge'.

The content on both disc A and disc B can be considered in several ways. They are in part studio outtakes, historical documents, the sequential evolution of an album and a primitive version of 'The Surveillance Lounge'.
Alternatively the compositions may be regarded as a film score, backing track or as produced for a completely unrelated project.
The Surveillance Lounge
Details
2015 September 2x12" LU Norton North OPIUM MMXIV / V
400 black vinyl copies
gatefold sleeve
2015 September 2x12" LU Norton North OPIUM MMXIV / V
400 white vinyl copies
gatefold sleeve
Track Listing
A
  1. Close To You [nwwllap]
B
  1. The Golden Age Of Telekinesis
C
  1. The Part Of Me Which Is That Part In You Is Now Dead
D
  1. Yon Assassin Is My Equal
Vinyl Etchings
A: NURSE WITH WOUND A ELE-15-3412-A
B: NURSE WITH WOUND B ELE-15-3412-B
C: NURSE WITH WOUND C ELE-15-3412-C
D: NURSE WITH WOUND D ELE-15-3412-D
Personnel
Sleeve Notes
Steven Stapleton . Andrew Liles

David Tibet: voices, big muff and hawtrey

Voices by: Maude Swift, Melon Liles, Miranda Kinkelaar, Freek Kinkelaar, Olly Louis Mathura O'Keeffe, Nadja Belabidi.

Label art: The Fat Controller.

Cover art: Babs Santini.
The Surveillance Lounge
Details
2016 July CS LU Norton North OPIUM MMXIV-V
200 In regular cassette box
Track Listing
SIDE ONE
  1. Close To You [nwwllap]
  2. The Golden Age Of Telekinesis
SIDE TWO
  1. The Part Of Me Which Is That Part In You Is Now Dead
  2. Yon Assassin Is My Equal
Personnel
Sleeve Notes
Andrew Liles : Steven Stapleton
David Tibet: voices, big muff and hawtrey

Voices by: Maude Swift, Melon Liles, Miranda Kinkelaar, Freek Kinkelaar, Olly Louis Mathura O'Keeffe, Nadja Belabidi.
Layout: The Fat Controller.
Cover art: Babs Santini.
Other Images