Waldron, Steven Stapleton, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, Jim Haynes,
and R.K. Faulhaber
The Sleeping Moustache
CD HMS 007
This curious quintet makes sounds that recall the glory days of Nurse
With Wound: long, shapeshifting collages of psychedelic murk interrupted
by random outbursts of industrial clatter, nightmarish drones, deeply
bizarre audio mutations and tangible masses of sticky audio goop of
impossibly vague origin. The Sleeping Moustache consists
of five ten-minute tracks interspersed with five brief interstitial
tracks. Everything blends together well because nothing blends together
well; forced juxtapositions and jarring eclecticism are par for the
course, just like the finest NWW of yore.
At its inception, Nurse With Wound was a group, not a solo project.
However, for the last 25 years or so, even with the large cast of
collaborators and producers that have worked on NWW records, it has
seemed like the sole autocratic creative domain of Steven Stapleton,
lone surrealist wolf. That's why its odd to see Stapleton involved
in so much group activity lately, with active memberships in ensembles
such as Scribble Seven (with Maja Elliott, Joolie Wood, Freida Abtan,
Colin Potter, Andrew Liles and Matt Waldron), the Wounded Nurse Ensemble/Salt
Marie Celeste live group (with Diana Rogerson, Potter, Liles and Waldron),
and now The Sleeping Moustache.
The Sleeping Moustache is an adventurous fivesome consisting
of Steven Stapleton, Jim Haynes of Coelecanth, Matt Waldron and R.K.
Faulhaber of irr.app.(ext.), and Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson of Icelandic
experimental group Stilluppsteypa. There is no clue given as to who
does what on which track, and in fact the album's packaging consists
only of five primitive, apparently hand-stamped brown paper slips,
each listing the five members of the group in a different order. In
the background are fragments of Dada-esque typeset dialogue: "Please
sirs, could you help me onto the railings so I might leap to my death
into the waters?" or "This malign energy issued forth unchecked,
saturating the intimate and the mundane alike to twist the innocent
contents of our lives into shapes of vivid, indescribable horror."
Each slip is backed with a small print by the artist listed on top.
Because of the lack of practical information given about the project,
the sounds on this CD emerge as even more esoteric and inscrutable
than they would have anyway, and it would be impossible to untangle
each artist's contribution. The only entity that can be held responsible
for this album, then, is The Sleeping Moustache.
The mind-blowing quality of production is a consistent thread running
through this cracked, chaotic journey across unspeakably weird audio
realms, remaining vivid and thoroughly fucked for the duration of
the album. The album plays like an abstract radio drama in which the
narrative could never be turned back into sensible language. Chilling
drones and stereo-phased plinks and plonks stretch and dilate while
tiny flesh-eating robots force a freight train backwards through a
rift in spacetime. Squeaking door hinges and creaking wood stairs
slowly sink into a burbling peat bog at midnight, while a gas-fueled
generator floods the scene with obscene fluorescent lights. Outmoded
machinery and monstrous disembodied spirits battle for supremacy against
a backdrop of cosmically generated keyboard drones, which shudder
and pulsate as they fester into glowing red sores that blasphemously
belch and vent thick steam into the pipes of a church organ. Heavily
delayed voices utter foreign gobbledygook which bounces between the
stereo channels, farting beings of pure static who cannibalistically
consume each other inside telephone wires. Damp, evacuated warehouses
serve as the setting for strange and awful ceremonies involving tesla
coils, rusty steel beams and quivering electrified gelatin fingers
slowly caressing articulated marionettes enacting their own doom.
Suffice to say, fans of classic Nurse With Wound will rejoice at The
Sleeping Moustache. It's a thoroughly enjoyable resurrection
of the sort of classic 1980s audio. - Jonathan Dean