Automating Volume Three
2010 March CD UK United Dairies UD202CD
in digipak
Track Listing
  1. I Gan Noo Wha Ma Organ's Gan (1:14) [apsp018] [nwwma]
  2. Antacid Cocamotive 93 (3:54) [nwwckg] [nwwma] [stappleton01] [xx002]
  3. Scissors, Radio, Bongo And Bell (10:58) [domcd771415] [nwwma]
  4. Angle (5:20) [potcd01] [ud069]
  5. Beetle Crawls Across My Back (6:20) [sr9333] [stappleton01] [ud041]
  6. Transcribe And Dictate (Heavy Trad) (0:40) [dprom45]
  7. Window Of Possible Organic Development (9:00) [tourette002] [ud100] [uj810] [wsdcd016]
  8. Ubu Noir (3:50) [durtrojnana1963]
  9. Nosedive (6:21) [gg119]
  10. Hindu Monastery Breakfast (8:28) [ph06]
Sleeve Notes
1. I Gan Noo Wha Ma Organ's Gan
(from 'Sound Cosmodel', 1984;
originally created for Morgan Fisher's 'Miniatures')
2. Antacid Cocamotive 93
(from 'Three Minute Symphony', 1984)
3. Scissors, Radio, Bongo And Bell
(from 'Ohren Des Kaiser Hirohito', 1993)
4. Angle
(from 'Succour', 1996)
5. Beetle Crawls Across My Back
(from '50 Years Of Sunshine', 1993)
6. Transcribe And Dictate (Heavy Trad)
(from 'Four Years In 30 Seconds', 1997)
7. Window Of Possible Organic Development
(from 'Terra Serpentes', 1997)
8. Ubu Noir
(from 'Not Alone', 2006)
9. Nosedive
(from Cadaverous Condition's 'Destroying The Night Sky' 2008)
10. Hindu Monastery Breakfast
(from the Sonic Catering Band's 'Artificial Additives', 2001)

All tracks © Steven Stapleton / Nurse With Wound
except track 9 © NWW/Cadaverous Condition and tracks 10 © NWW/Sonic Catering Band

Artwork & Ridiculous Injuries: Babs Santini

Layout & Mastering: M S Waldron
According to Matt Waldron, tracks 7 & 10 are previously unreleased mixes.
After many years, the third instalment in Nurse With Wound's classic Automating series of compilations has been unveiled. Digging up old nuggets from the last 26 years, this is another trip through the dustier, forgotten regions of Steven Stapleton's back catalogue. Not quite as dazzling as the previous entries in the Automating series, this compilation still shows the strength of Nurse With Wound's expansive approach to sound and most importantly, saves me a lot of leg work in tracking down old compilations.

The first two Automating compilations stick out as not only being great examples of compilations working as standalone albums but as two of the best releases put out under the Nurse With Wound name. Automating Volume Two was one of my first NWW purchases and it has remained one of my favourites consistently. As such, Automating Volume Three has a lot to live up to and although not as consistent as the earlier volumes, it performs admirably. "Antacid Cocamotive 93" mutates the '60s pop song "The Loco-Motion" into something stranger; the piece is highly reminiscent of The Residents' Third Reich' Roll album.

Elsewhere, "Beetle Crawls Across My Back" sees Nurse With Wound in rare melodic form; its eastern sounding strings subtly warped by Stapleton as what sounds like a didgeridoo joins in the jam. The song degenerates into a primal beat as Diana Rogerson delivers some truly unsettling vocals. It anchors the rest of the album around it, a definite centrepiece which is as good as any canonical Nurse With Wound piece. 'Ubu Noir' is another version of Stapleton's rendition of the traditional song "Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair" which is quite a departure from the extant versions on She and Me Fall Together in Free Death and Rat Tapes Volume One. Here it sounds like a broken Kraftwerk crawling out of the darkness of a nuclear apocalypse.

Automating Volume Three does fall down a little in places; "Transcribe and Dictate (Heavy Trad)" is a miniature sketch of "Two Shaves and a Shine" and considering there are already so many different versions of "Two Shaves and a Shine" out in the wild, the inclusion of this seems a little superfluous. Especially so considering it's only half of Stapleton's contribution to the Four Years in 30 Seconds compilation (the other half being the same piece in reverse). "Nosedive," a remix of music by the metal band Cadaverous Condition, is an improvement on the source material but ultimately disappointing. A segment from Nurse With Wound's remix of Sunn O)))'s 00 Void album would have been a better choice.

Given Stapleton's love of contributing bits and bobs to whatever compilation is passing his way, there are still enough Nurse With Wound tracks out there to make up a fourth volume in this series (even discounting those collected on last years Flawed Existence vinyl box set). There are a few tracks from last year's download only compilation More Automating that did not end up either on this CD or on Flawed Existence and it would be nice to see these obscurities release in a more satisfying format than MP3s.

John Kealy

11 April 2010