[Jandek] Greetings all
honeyisfunny at fastmail.fm
Wed Apr 18 00:56:14 PDT 2007
I just signed up to the list and wanted to say hi. I came across Jandek through a friend who had something of an obsession with the music (locking anyone willing in his house and playing it to them until the sun came up after long nights in the pub - shudder).
A good friend of mine has also ended up being a regular soundman and assistant in the recording process for some of these recent releases, starting back with that first live performance at Instal.
Anyway, Seth's website fascinated me (and amused me too with the comments in the discography) and so I signed up.
I did a quick scan through the archives and thoroughly entertained myself with people's deciphering of what the music is all about. It's true, I'd hate to know much more than I do, the mystery is as much a part of things as the back catalogue.
However, something that really struck me for a number of reasons (and I apologise if this has been discussed before) is this: has anyone ever considered that the guest musicians on the earlier records ("Nancy", "John") are relations of the man making the records and somehow the work (at least at that time) relates to their absence?
What's always fascinated me about Jandek is the way people use statements like
"It's music for no-one but himself"
when describing the music. This isn't really true though. What makes Jandek so unique is that it sounds so much like it was made with no one in mind but yet, the person who made it (we assume) decided to try and sell it to the public and in quite a commercially-minded way too at times. I've often wondered what circumstances might lead to someone making personal music but needing it to be out there for people to hear.
In the Jandek On Corwood film, a lot of people speculate that this is about a shy person wanting to connect with the world.
What about if it's a person who is heartbroken by the loss of a relationship (in whatever way) sending out messages to the people from that relationship? This idea is something that's as old as recorded music itself - the artist singing to the person who spurned him/her in the hope or knowledge that they will hear it or that the singer will become famous and win back the heart of those they lost.
It runs through countless pleading 'come back' songs to John Lennon singing 'How Do You Sleep?' about Paul McCartney.
Let's say, for example, Nancy was the person's wife and John was their son together. A young son too (totally conceivable from some of the drumming!). And let's say the relationship breaks down. 'Jandek' (let's call him) decides, for the first time in his life, to make music as a way of addressing his feelings about this. He records it to a tape machine. He decides that this part of what he does is either attractive, or contains messages he wants Nancy to hear. So he releases the album himself in the vague hope that at some time she will hear it and get the message or that he will somehow become famous and Nancy will come back.
As time goes on, it doesn't occur. So he begins putting more direct references in the music and eventually he includes the people themselves - be it from recordings they made together before they parted, or recordings made then and there if the people were still in contact for some reason. Nancy and John certainly contribute in a manner that suggests they weren't aware it was a recording session. Maybe Nancy brought John to visit sometimes? Maybe they're John's drums on the all the record sleeves and John is just a kid? It might explain the fascination with the drumkit on the album sleeves.
It also goes some way to explaining the cropped album covers and the several cases where someone has blatantly been snipped out of the picture. And to me the sleeves of 0748 - 0754 (Follow Your Footsteps excluded) are perfect examples of the kind of snapshot young couples take of each other when they get a new camera, or when they move house.
Anyway, just thought I'd share that thought!
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