[Jandek] Khartoum: Dusted Review vs. Paul Condon vs. All Music Guide Review

Paul Condon paulgcondon at gmail.com
Tue Feb 7 12:39:01 PST 2006

> the big U > has a history with Jandek so if he wants to be critical he's earned
> the right....
> I guess even the Dusted guy has a right to his feelings even though they're far
> removed from mine (and a tad offensive - note I didn't modify them
> with "intelligent").

Absolutely. As a fan, my opinion of Jandek's music is always going to
be biased (but informed, I hope).
There are a few "backlash" articles appearing since the gigs - this is
a natural side-effect of Jandek appearing in a wider context alongside
other underground musicians rather than being isolated in his own
outsider ghetto. I think that is a good thing overall. Many more
people are getting to hear the music, and it seems to me that more of
these people appreciate it than dislike it.

But I have a problem with reviews that don't seem to bother to attempt
to engage with the music. Criticism of this music should go beyond
"it's depressing / it's dissonant". The classic example of this is
Irwin Chusid. I don't think he's ever spotted the obvious blues
content and influence in Jandek's music for example, preferring to
fish for cheap laughs (as he does with practically all his
"discoveries"). Such writing leans on the twin crutches of the
"mystery" involving Jandek as the main element in his appeal, and the
supposed obsessiveness of his fans.
I think the Unterberger review is, disappointingly, less thoughtful
than I would expect from him. The reviews of Raining Down Diamonds and
Glasgow Sunday on the Dusted site are not entirely positive, but the
writers have paid attention to the records.

>It IS a lot like some of Beckett's work (thanks for that, Paul, I
don't think I'd put it >in that context).

I tend to compare everything to Beckett anyway, so it's bound to happen ; )

By the way, you can listen to You Wanted to Leave from Khartoum
Variations at the link below, from Chusid's WFMU show:
However, you will have to put up with Chusid's usual playground
attempts at humour, and Jandek-fan baiting...

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