A loose experimental project formed in 1978 by Steven Stapleton, Nurse with Wound explored abstract music -- influenced by Krautrock, freewheeling jazz improvisation, and Throbbing Gristle but including a heavy debt to surrealists Dali and Lautréamont -- with an overpowering release schedule of limited-edition albums and EPs. Stapleton worked with an ever-changing list of collaborators during the early years of Nurse with Wound, though Current 93's David Tibet was the only frequent recording companion during the 1980s and '90s.
Nurse with Wound's first three albums (Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella, To the Quiet Man from a Tiny Girl, and Merzbild Schwet) reflect a naked, minimalist slant with long periods of quiet suddenly interrupted by guitar chords inspired by the avant-garde wing of psychedelia/jazz-rock, chains, music boxes, and found-sound recordings. By the early '80s, Stapleton had begun to incorporate noisy, abrasive rhythms that put him more in line with contemporary EBM masters like Skinny Puppy and SPK. Though Stapleton continued his surrealist slant, he often moved back to more empty recordings. These works -- beginning with Soliloquy for Lilith in 1988 -- came to light in the context of the growing ambient/electronic movement, however, putting Nurse with Wound squarely in line with music trends for the first time.
Stapleton recorded two split singles with Stereolab during 1995 and continued his hectic, uncompromising release schedule from his base in southern Ireland. In 2005 the double-CD compilation Livin' Fear of James Last offered an overview of their output. That same year the two-CD compilation Judas as Black Moth was released through the Sanctuary label. On May 5, 2005, Stapleton recorded an improvisational live piece in Vienna and released it in 2006 under the title Soundpooling. Tooth, Teeth, Milk, Skin, Teeth was released in mid-2007, while NWW's terrifying 1982 cult classic Homotopy to Marie was reissued on CD just in time for Halloween 2007. Three new albums were issued in 2008: Huffin' Rag Blues, The Bacteria Magnet, and The Continuous Accident. In early 2009, the retrospective Paranoia in Hi-Fi: Earworms 1978-2008 prefaced a slew of new albums including Space Music, The Surveillance Lounge, and May the Fleas of a Thousand Camels Infest Your Armpits.
In 2010, NWW collaborated with Larsen and Eberhard Kranemann (aka Fritz Muller) on Erroneous: A Selection of Errors, for Important. With NWW remaining ever-prolific, 2011 saw the releases of Space Music 2, The Vernacular Surface, and collaborations with Sunn 0))) (The Iron Soul of Nothing) and composer Graham Bowers (Rupture). Two self-released CD-R albums -- Dream Memory and ? -- were issued in 2012, as was the collaborative LP-only release Cabbalism with Blind Cave Salamander. The NWW reissue campaign continued in early 2013 with Sucked Orange/Scrag. ~ John Bush & Thom Jurek