[Jandek] Jandek in The Wire

chx yahoogroper at bigpond.com
Sun May 23 04:36:47 PDT 2004

Greetings all,

My first post to this list, so I'll try to make it something useful. 
More or less, it is what has brought me here...



David Keenan. (2004). The state of song. The Wire, JANDEK "I NEED 

The three albums of unaccompanied vocals the artist known as Jandek 
released between 2000 and 2001 are the most emotionally traumatised 
entries in a back catalogue predicated on personal revelation 
unmediated by conventional technique, form or presentation. Right 
from the off, his song forms more closely mirrored the awkward 
contours of his own being than any conventional structural dictates, 
his guitar tunings operating according to what sounded good to his 
ears, his vocal delivery ranging from catatonic to possessed, his 
lyrics populated by repeating personal tropes, coded entreaties and a 
revolving cast of people and places. His work readily lends itself to 
division into various phases, as he incorporates new sonic elements 
as challenges or binds. But nothing matches the devastating power of 
2000's Put My Dream On This Planet, especially the opening "I Need 
Your Life". Jandek has never sounded so emotionally evacuated as he 
interrupts long bouts of profoundly charged silence with barked 
threats and creepy pleas, the only framing structure being the huge 
brackets of static and crackle that punctuate every entreaty, giving 
the song the feel of a Charley Patton broadcast from the other side. 
Its entropic hiss works as an integral part of the track, signifying 
unbridgeable space and harrowing emotional distance, as opposed to 
that after-the-fact authentication device. But if these are blues 
they're a new bloodless strain. Far from walking like a man, they're 
unable to get up off their knees.

David Keenan. (2004). The state of song. The Wire, 243, p.43, p.43


"The question is", said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so 
many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be MASTER -that's all."
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