Monday, June 04, 2018
NWW PLAY TNB
Nurse With Wound - Changez Les Blockeurs
United Dirter. DROMLP138
Nurse With Wound reworking The New Blockaders first album provides the opportunity to dig out the original just to remind myself of its uncanny ability to remain as fresh and invigorating as it did on the day it was released thirty five years ago. Not that I should look for an excuse. In a just world the playing of ‘Changez Les Blockeurs’ should be a yearly ritual carried out by any discerning noise fan, the pulling of the record from the sleeve with dainty fingers, the settling of the needle, a gentle, appreciative rub of the sleeve, all a preamble to playing what will always be regarded as one of the best noise albums ever made.
How it was recorded is a secret thats been carried through those thirty five years by the Rupenus brothers who created it. When played it as part of this months Wire Invisible Jukebox selection Storm Bug’s Steven Ball remarked that it sounded like someone ‘building a shed’. I myself have described it as two elephants fencing on squeaky bicycles, or something like that anyway, that it sounds like nothing else before or since is the reason why I and lots of others keep returning to it.
Back in 2004, on its 21st anniversary, Vinyl-On-Demand gave it the reissue treatment and thats the copy I go to when I need my chakra realigned after listening to too many mediocre noise albums. It puts you back to where you need to be. Its construct is simple but yet devastatingly effective; it could be two elephants fencing on bicycles and it could be two squeaky wheelchairs fighting over a slack spring, it could or an army of tin men dismantling a Jean Tinguely sculpture while bouncing around on pogo sticks in need of 3-in-1. Is this the result of hours worth of studio work or did two people really once go down to the shed at the bottom of their garden and chuck some rusty metal about for 40 minutes? We’ll never know and thats half of the appeal.
I’m informed that Steve Stapleton was the first person to hear ‘Changez Les Blockeurs’ and it seems fitting that he’s the first of several numerous notables to give us his reworking of it [a 3CD set of interpretations called Changez Retravaillé via Italian label Ricerca Sonora lies imminent] or as it says on the back of the sleeve ‘NWW Plays TNB’. So what do you get for your hard earned apart from an excellent cover by Babs Santini the back of which features someone getting a custard pie in their face, an insert that mimics the Nurse With Wound list with the bands and artists replaced by the TNB manifesto and a piece by Paul Hegarty that weaves the pair of them into the Surrealist, Dada, avant-garde ethic? You get ‘Hallelujah T.N.B.’ which sticks closest to the original and a black hole dense ‘T.N.B. Amen’.
On ‘Hallelujah T.N.B.’ the squeak, grind and groan of the original appears to have been intensified, an intensity that is eventually joined by the heavenly choir of the Latter Day Saints their angelic voices emerging from the tumult until they themselves become subsumed, morphing their way into new structures and sub-harmonies. ‘T.N.B. Amen’ is a dense lower down in the mix loop, the high end buried flat going around in an industrial dryer becoming ever more hypnotic as it progresses. In their somewhere is Changez Les Blockeurs, with all its shuffles and clangs and scrapes and screech. And that's it. Simple but effective. A palimpsest of sorts. You can’t improve on a classic though. This is a new work and should obviously be seen as such. Comparisons are futile. Nurse With Wound bring us back to the original via a much darker route. It's Nurse with Wound's main road. Raise a glass, or a hammer and give thanks.
I hope I’m still here for the fiftieth anniversary where I will perform my own personal Changez Les Blockeurs ritual once more, with the same LP I have now, maybe a slightly more worn copy by then but one still capable of revealing its deepest mysteries.
Dirter Nurse With Wound The New Blockaders Ricera Sonora