[Jandek] Re: Irwin Chusid

Matthew Gordon mlgordon75 at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 8 21:29:50 PST 2006

As someone who lives in a non-metropolitan area and was initially introduced to Jandek via Irwin Chusid's CD compilation and then book, I have a certain opinion of the guy(Chusid).  I don't think he really disdains Jandek's music as much as he seems to, and though he snarkily launches journalistic pot-shots safely from his pedestal of studied hipness, I get the distinct sensation that he really is in a certain kind of awe of Jandek and his universe.  I find that when I read the chapter in the book, it does make me laugh, but it doesn't dissuade me from my own appreciation for Jandek, his music, his mystery, his album art, and his dogged persistence.  So is it possible for these two apparently polar views to occupy the same mind?  I sorta think so.  Irwin must certainly feel he's important, or he wouldn't play something from each album on his show when it arrives, and Corwood wouldn't keep supplying him with albums to play.  Sure, as someone who studied 20th century classical music,
 with its atonalism and serialism and whatnot, in college, I disagree with his on-air statement that Jandek isn't about music, but in a way I see that statement as Irwin trying to explain to the uninitiated how Jandek's ouevre might be approached initially, something that, as the intro to Seth's site states, "at first... may seem crude or inept, but upon exploration it reveals incredible depth, intelligence, feeling, and rewards for the listener."  Perhaps the latter portion of that is more implied, but I can't help but consider Irwin as one of the good guys.  And that may be only because without him I might not have learned about Jandek.  But those are my thoughts and perceptions to date.  When I first heard They Told Me I Was a Fool my mind was swamped with questions and images of where this Jandek was operating from, how something so unearthly could come from the individual represented by the relatively conventional image of Six and Six that was included in the insert to Songs in
 the Key of Z Vol 1.  And after I became familiar with the rest of the Corwood catalog I still enjoy reading the section in Irwin's book, even though my own feelings about Jandek don't mirror his.  I really think Irwin respects his subjects, even thought he occasionally seems to journalistically treat them like a clever Rex Reed type dashing out quick jingoistic dismissals of quirky but promising off-Broadway productions.  Perhaps "don't shoot  the messenger"?  Irwin's okay in my book.  But what do I know, I've only been aware of Janky for the last 3 years.
  Matthew L. Gordon
  Pre-Code Records 
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