Soliloquy for Lilith – Nurse With Wound (1988) – Review

In the realm of experimental music, there are albums that challenge, provoke, and take the listener into uncharted territories of sound and emotion. “Soliloquy for Lilith” by Nurse With Wound is a shining exemplar of this, an experience both haunting and hypnotic.

At first approach, one may find themselves unprepared for the sonic voyage that Steven Stapleton, the mind behind Nurse With Wound, lays out. The album doesn’t beckon the listener so much as it envelops them, drawing them into its depths. Across its tracks, the record unfurls not as a sequence of songs, but as a soundscape, vast and immersive.

One of the intriguing facets of “Soliloquy for Lilith” is its origin story. Born from an accident – a feedback loop created between two effects units – it’s a testament to Stapleton’s intuitive feel for sound that such an inadvertent moment could birth something so profound. Instead of dismissing this unintended consequence, he leaned into it, letting the sounds evolve, guiding them but not forcibly shaping them. The result is an album that feels both organic and otherworldly.

It’s hard to pinpoint individual tracks as standouts because the album operates more as a cohesive entity. Yet, it’s not a monolithic experience. Within its expansive stretches, there are nuances, ebbs and flows, moments of heightened intensity, and periods of near-silence. It is in these oscillations that “Soliloquy for Lilith” reveals its layers.

To the unacquainted ear, it might seem as though the album is static, but a closer, more intent listen reveals the intricacies. There’s a pulse, albeit a slow, deliberate one, that runs through the tracks. It’s like the heartbeat of some massive, ancient creature, felt more than heard. The sounds, while primarily derived from feedback loops, are manipulated with such finesse that they take on a life of their own. There are moments when they resemble whispered chants from a forgotten ritual, and at others, they swirl and dance like specters.

The title, “Soliloquy for Lilith,” adds another layer to the listening experience. Lilith, often associated with the night and depicted as a demon in various mythologies, brings a shade of darkness and mystique to the album. While not overtly narrative in its approach, one can’t help but feel that the sounds are echoing the laments, the tales, and the musings of this enigmatic figure. There’s a touch of the feminine, a hint of the forbidden, and a sense of timeless allure.

For some, this album might not be an easy listen. It demands patience and surrender. It’s not the kind of music you’d put on in the background during a casual gathering. It requires, or rather invites, immersion. In today’s world of instant gratification and bite-sized entertainment, “Soliloquy for Lilith” is a resolute testament to the art of deep listening. It’s not just about hearing the sounds, but about letting them wash over you, seep into you, and allowing them to evoke whatever emotions and images they might.

Nurse With Wound, with this release, offers not just an album but an experience, a journey. “Soliloquy for Lilith” isn’t merely a collection of sounds; it’s a realm to be explored, a dream to be lost in, and, for some, a mystery to be unraveled. Dive in, let go, and let it take you where it will.

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