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Nurse with wound/Stereolab - Simple Headphone Mind

- Simple Headphone Mind (Side 1)
- Tripin With The Birds (Side 2)

I make no apologies in saying that the last collaboration between these two acts (1993s Crumb duck) really left me cold. It was basically a compilation of an old Nurse 7Ē and a couple of songs from Stereolab. It was my first exposure to Stereolab and I canít say I was too impressed. Well guess what? I take it all back. This record is great, and made even better due to itís limited release and cool foil packaging. I have the LP which like the even more limited CD comes in a foil like sleeve.

The music within is brilliant, two tracks, the title track and an extended, sort of remix called 'Trippin with the birds'. The title track and for the most part the second piece is built upon a backbone of David Kennyís rhythm and solo guitar work and some slightly tinny sounding beats and a synth bass loop. I think what makes this so good is that Stapleton really has gone for it in terms of the ďcollage and mixĒ as he is credited for. Itís a quite a large sounding mix, from which all manner of weird and wonderful effects and surprises jump out at you. The cute little vocals of Nora Duus are also a delight as Stapleton twists her voice into a robotic like drone, as she recites the lyrics about milky white spiders. The title track is a bit more straight forward, with less off the wall plays on the mix than the second track. Some nice drones and harmonics drift around while the repeating bass loop and guitar flit from speaker to speaker. There are some nice solo moments from Kenny throughout in a style which I can only describe as ethereal. The track ends with Duus reciting the words milky white as the loop of the her voice slows and eventually disappears.

The second track shows much more evidence of the hand of Stapleton, as the title might suggest there are a range of bird song interludes along with some other more abstract surprises. It does at times become very chilled and moody, when Duus moves to a chanting style and the production allows a more ambient and spacey atmosphere to pervade. This track is about twice as long at the title track, and is in my opinion the best of the two. As I said Stapletonís personal touches are much more evident with some more mechanical creaks and cracks making an appearance, also quite prominent is the use of a very spacey synth which tends to move to the fore during the interludes in the rhythm. The track seems to fade out and stop a few times only for a piece of concrete electronics to fire up the loops and off we go again.

I suppose it should be said that this release is a welcome break from the 'yagga blues' type of rhythm excursions that seemed to influence Stapletonís work on almost every release through the middle/late nineties. So I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone. It may be a bit on the pricey side, although I hear talk of a re-release, (circa 2003) but as they say ,it is well worth the dosh.