- The Little Dipper Minus Two
As Nurse rarities go this will certainly be up there with the best of them. This twenty minute single track CD-r was given out as part of the package that went with the non Nurse with wound Nurse with wound shows (The organisers claimed the show was not a NWW show despite Stapleton, Potter and Rogerson being present and playing a version of Salt Marie Celeste) in Vienna in May 2005. It was limited to two hundred copies and the remaining copies from the show were offered to subscribers of the mailing list for Potters label Icrdistribution. Days after the show the CD-r was reaching prices of up to £100 on E-bay.
So what’s all the fuss about. The title and subtitle hints at a very 50s/60s style musique concrete work. I’m thinking Varese Poem Electronique or some of the work by Pierre Henry. But in fact to my ears the artist that the Little dipper is most influenced by is that French master of filmic concrete sound art, Luc Ferrari. From the opening organic drone and French dialogue, half spoken, half sung to the slow and subtle layering of field recordings and electronics, this work exemplifies the style and mood of Ferrari’s masterpieces.
Not to say this is anyway unoriginal. Once again Stapleton and Potter give a nod to their predecessors while still forging their own unique brand of contemporary composition.
The French dialogue is delayed, panned and reverbed into a wild and creepy montage of half heard voice that will take NWW fans back to classic works like Merzbild Schwet and Homotopy to Marie. In the distance, light bells and complex manipulations wriggle and squirm against the slow throb of the central voice and drone. At one point the sound of a dog barking can be heard, and at around seven minutes a rhythmic breathing and percussive loop joins the highly dreamy and surreal landscape of sound. The woodblock like percussion is reversed and stretched out at times adding to the ever changing atmosphere. It goes on like this for most of the piece, the French recital changing ever so slightly amid small additions and subtractions to the mix. At thirteen or so minutes the breathing sample returns now manipulated into a warped static burst that like much of the Little Dipper is panned around the stereo field to an alarming degree. At sixteen minutes a very bizarre turn of events, the German air force attack with a multi-tracked air-raid on our senses, the screaming sounds of the aircraft blowing away all before it, before the voice returns (now speaking German) and saying something about being “in the night”.
So this is certainly a surprise release by Stapleton’s camp. A very old school effort in comparison to their recent output and one that fans will certainly be pleased with, if they could get hold of one that is!!!
Also note that this version is a short introduction to what will be the full length Echo Poem sequence two.