[Jandek] TMT Reviews

Darin Mitchell susseddm at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 16 20:02:45 PDT 2005

Glasgow Sunday
Corwood Industries, 2005
rating: 4/5
reviewer: s. kobak

And so the mystery man emerged from the black hole of isolation and played 
an eclectic set of fresh originals at the Instal Festival in Glasgow, 
Scotland on Sunday, October 17, 2004. Richard Youngs and Alexander Neilsen 
joined him on bass and drums respectively. Bootlegs and rumors spread 
rapidly throughout the internet. Being the provocateur that he is, Jandek 
decided to book more gigs in 2005 and has released an official live document 
of the Instal '04 set.

Glasgow Sunday may be the official document of this event, but it does 
nothing to dispel the conspiracy theories abound. The same artwork aesthetic 
that is present on his other releases is present here. No liner notes are 
included (surprise!) and the players on the album are not listed. I'm not 
even going to waste your time by analyzing the cover. I'll let Byron Colely 
do that.

The album begins with a few ground-shaking low bass notes and collapses into 
an orgy of skronk. Jandek and his band draw from the electric guitar-driven 
songs from the Rocks Crumble era, an era that I've always believed was more 
indebted to No Wave than folk-blues. He seems genuinely reinvigorated by the 
band, as his despondent warble has not sounded this desperate since the 
mid-'90s. Youngs' black void of bass notes and the accentual drumming of 
Neilson give Jandek space to work his black magic.

The thing that always amazed me about Jandek is how oppressive his music is. 
It is like a glimpse into a twisted, damaged soul. His 
stream-of-consciousness lyrics dwindle in the mind of the listener like a 
picture of a dead loved one. He also records with a small group of masked 
men, didn't reveal his face to a mass audience until 25 years after his 
first record, and writes more songs in the second person than Morrissey. 
Somehow in front of an audience, the dynamics have changed. All of Jandek's 
pain, longing, and despair is secondary. His 
playing-in-front-of-a-wall-in-a-rundown-hotel-room imagery is shattered and, 
instead, fans are embracing his music in a live setting. This could be the 
beginning of a new chapter.

1. Not Even Water
2. Where I Stay
3. Darkness You Give
4. Sea of Red
5. Real Wild
6. Don't Want to Be
7. Blue Blue World
8. The Other Side


Shadow of Leaves
Corwood Industries, 2004
rating: 3.5/5
reviewer: amneziak

Jandek is certainly one of the most interesting characters in music. For 
those who are familiar with him, this review and tidbit of information will 
be nothing new. For those who don't know who he is, get ready. Jandek is a 
reclusive character/person/musician/myth from Houston, Texas, who has been 
releasing albums under a secretive label for the past 25 years.

The address for Corwood Industries, in fact, is nothing more than a P.O. 
Box. The bizarre thing is that no one knows who this guy is or if he's even 
still alive. You'd think that someone in the process of releasing material 
and cutting the album would know something. But regardless of his 
whereabouts or validity, people can't help but be completely enthralled by 

Now, regardless of what anyone tries to tell you, listening to one Jandek 
album is basically the same thing as hearing them all. Even if the 
instrument of choice changes, the basic concept is still the same. To date, 
Jandek has recorded about 35 albums, and only the true Jandek completists 
tend to buy all of his material. His album covers usually consist of 
pictures of himself (if it's really even him) or pictures of furniture, 
homes, instruments, etc. They've actually become one of the more interesting 
parts of his releases, because the music certainly is not of the highest 

The main instrument played by Jandek in the past has been the acoustic 
guitar, but on Shadow of Leaves he opts for the bass again. And in normal 
form, the bass is detuned to the point of absurdity. There's absolutely 
nothing accessible about Jandek's music, only the haunting realization that 
this is a man who has a passion for messing with people's minds. The funny 
thing is that even though most people will give his music about two minutes 
before they leave him behind for good, it's been said that there are people 
who can actually sit around and listen to his music for days on end. I'm not 
one of them.

Do yourself a favor and find one of his albums for yourself. Actually, now 
that I think of it, this might be a good time for me to throw out the 
"download it" card so you can at least get an idea of what you'll be up 
against. It's gruesome. But if you find yourself becoming intrigued like the 
rest of us, be sure to keep an eye out for the Jandek documentary that is 
coming out soon. It should be an interesting documentation of the most 
underground musician in history.

1. Shadow of Leaves
2. Find Me Again
3. I Give You Me


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