Label: Dirter Promotions
Format: 3CD Box
Originally recorded and released in 1988, Nurse With Wound's ambient opus was years ahead of its time, a ground-breaking set of atmospheric sound patterns designed for ritual ceremonies. Hailed as a masterpiece on release, it soon became a firm favorite of NWW fans and topped the world ambient chart for over three months. Originally a limited-edition, three-album set housed in a handsome 12-inch gold and black foil embossed box, this new edition, a CD facsimile of the original vinyl set, contains the entire album, plus 40 minutes of superb quality, previously unreleased music from the original sessions that did not appear on the vinyl. A green foil blocked cover and new parchment insert makes this one of Dirter Promotion's most elegant and desirable releases to date.
Understanding this album as Stapleton's take on the groundbreaking minimalist drone work of LaMonte Young, Charlemagne Palestine and Iannis Xenakis gives essential perspective on Stapleton's unique developments. Soliloquy for Lilith is an album of complex, powerfully realized moods, both somber and fragile; one of the most rewarding "ambient" albums ever made. It was recorded to take advantage of the strange electrical phenomena that occurred when Stapleton discovered a malfunctioning synthesizer that would emit varying tones in response to physical movement in the vicinity of the machine, much the same way a theremin is played. This fortuitous accident is utilized to stunning effect on the eight sidelong pieces that comprise the album. Giant sheaves of majestic, glacial sound are wielded in repetition, with the inevitable effects of sound decay and distortion creeping in at the high end and bottom tones. It's a gleaming sound full of depth and dimension, like a work of modern metal sculpture in which you can see your distorted reflection. When given your full attention, the coldly warm tones have the effect of rendering thoughts, and therefore time itself, neutral. The same sound palette is used throughout, but each track manages to be very different from the last, birthing its own unique phantasms. The two new pieces are very much in the same vein as the original six, but are perhaps slightly more dynamic than the others. Either way, they're all extraordinarily subtle and stirring works. Soliloquy for Lilith works on its own terms, and it certainly stands the test of time as one of Steven Stapleton's most transcendental experiments.