- Alvin's Funeral (The Milk Was Delivered in Black Bottles)
- Absent old Queen Underfoot
- Mutilés du Guerre
A thwack of metal, the rumble of feedback and one of Nurse With Wounds most Cult releases bursts into life. 'Insect and Individual Silenced' was the result of Stapleton’s first collaboration with Jim “Foetus” Thirwell (The second being 'Brained By Falling Masonry'). The record released in a pressing of 1000 was greeted with a mixed reception, it’s rawer more chaotic sound was a departure from the subtle compositions seen on 'Merzbild Schwet' however it was still a fine addition to the ever expanding early Nurse catalogue. Stapleton however did not share this view. According to legend he destroyed the masters berating the mastering job done in part by Thirwell. Thus the album was never repressed or re-released on CD, and as a result is one of the most coveted Nurse Vinyl rarities with copies going for up to and over £100.
But what was the big deal, was the mastering that bad and what is the material like anyway? Structurally the sound is more akin to noisy compositions like 'Ostranenie' or the later 'Astral dustbin dirge'. There is a great deal of percussive work on the tracks, using all manner of objects, metal and otherwise. Thirwells aggressive style is evident and leaves the noise level not far away from the Nurse collaboration with Whitehouse that was released that same year. What rescues the album from noise overload is the maximalistic use of tape and found sounds. This is most evident on the first and longest of the tracks 'Alvin’s Funeral (The milk was delivered in black bottles)'.
Huge metallic noises, fast cut-up distorted tape work and some disturbing uses of female dialogue. “I wanted to eat dirt, play with sand, and keep pebbles in my mouth…” One of bonuses of this long piece comes in at about the fifteen minute mark, where the noise stops and some very nice solo choir like chanting comes in backed by what sounds like sticks or twigs rolling and banging around. It’s a lovely concrete moment that has Stapleton’s hallmark all over it. This track however does show evidence of the bad mastering that so infuriated Stapleton. The levels of the different tape cut’s are disjointed and the mic fuzz does jump out at you at various points. For a perfectionist like Stapleton this was too much.
The second track 'Absent old queen underfoot' is just not as engaging as the first, much more percussive and with less tape work, this certainly has Thirwell written all over it. Abstract drum work and use of feedback is an interesting combination but for much of this tracks twenty plus minutes it just sounds a bit off key. Dirty, gritty and loud, but the interest falls away as the same frequency patterns and motifs are used over again. This is however the best mastered track on offer here.
The final track is a short five minute piece that uses some of the sounds used in the first track and adds some more curious metallic squeaks and tweaks, looping a woman’s screams and foreign radio announcements to disturbing effect. It also ends with a rendition of Beethoven’s ode to joy, played on a ukulele, which is nice!!. Here again some of the mastering of the higher frequencies makes the thing a bit to sharp but it’s a minor gripe. To cut a long story short this thing really should be re-released. I’m sure someone could find a good vinyl copy for Colin Potter to re-master. With today’s technology this shouldn’t be such a big deal.