[Jandek] Corwood 0783: Newcastle Sunday

krakow krakow81 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 16 03:10:17 PST 2006

Volcanic Tongue www.volcanictongue.com, though currently sold out of the new
double set, had a fullsome review of it on their website and mailing list.
I'm guessing this is written by David Keenan, since he wrote the Wire piece
on Glasgow Sunday. I thought people might be interested, so I've pasted it
below, since it's no longer currently online.


Newcastle Sunday
Corwood 0783

First ever double CD set from Corwood, documenting the
whole of the first fully-advertised Jandek show that
took place at The Sage in Gateshead, England on May
22nd 2005. Although the first Jandek show at The
Arches the previous year was the more seismic cultural
event - being Jandek's first ever public performance -
it was the Newcastle performance that best showcased
the kind of instant improvisatory leaps that his new
group - Alex Neilson on drums and Richard Youngs on
bass - were capable of making. In fact, alongside the
Mazzacane/Licht/Heather Leigh set he performed at
Instal 2005, I rate Newcastle as his best performance
to date. The recording quality here is a lot better
than the Glasgow Sunday disc. For a start, it doesn't
have that slightly baggy, cavernous sound that's
impossible to escape with a venue like The Arches. In
comparison this one feels a lot more up-close and as
such there's a hell of a lot more performance nuance
on display. What most immediately strikes you is just
how completely interlocked the three players are. At
points Sterling's guitar, Richard's bass and Alex's
drums sound like a single flashing mass, with the
three players seemingly more intent on adding a muzz
of overtones to the central, black-hole-dense core of
sound than working with any notion of backing-up or
complementing each other. At the first Glasgow show
the playing seemed a little more arranged, with
Jandek's preferred 'blues/ballads/brutal' form further
heightened by the way the group would back off during
his vocals before beasting all over the instrumental
passages. There's not so much of that here and
Newcastle Sunday marks the beginning of the kind of
simultaneity the trio brought to some kind of
performance apex at the first night of Instal 2005,
especially in the way that Alex plays straight through
the songs as opposed to carving verse/chorus shapes
around them. It feels like a major breakthrough.

Sterling is using a weird kind of flange/phase sound
on his amp throughout - actually the last time he
would use it - and while for the first minute or so
it's a little distracting, it soon works out to be
another of the kind of inspired intuitive decisions
that dot his back catalogue, the kind of
na´ve/unschooled move that would have simply come
across as a massive aesthetic faux-pa in lesser hands.
But here the effect works to soften Sterling's barbed
chords and jarring open tunings, thereby blurring the
edges of where his guitar ends and Youngs' bass
begins. Alex's role on drums is even more key and the
whole disc showcases some of his best recorded form to
date. There are points here where he so emphatically
takes control of the track that he runs the tempo
right through the roof, forcing Sterling and Youngs
beyond simply playing and out into brain-abandoned
speed-of-thought channelling. It's at these kinds of
moments that the combined conceptual heft of the group
makes them sound like the latest thrilling instalment
in freely improvised trio thought, displaying an
intuitively-advanced linguistic reach that situates
them right alongside groups like Ayler's Spiritual
Unity band, Musica Transonic and Harry Pussy. Sterling
himself sounds incredibly confident on vocals (though
it's a shame that they didn't elect to keep in the
almost unbearably awkward five minute silence that
preceded the music, where Sterling attempted to
untangle his guitar lead in an almost Beckett-style
piece of unintentional, stomach-knotting theatre or
even the part after the first song where he stood
motionless for minutes on end waiting for his guitar
to be re-strung and where later a whole bunch of
audience members admitted that they thought he was
actually debating whether or not to continue) and he
plays with his whole image a lot more than in Glasgow.
The first track is a killer, with the first line "I
thought I'd give you a little bit of depression" one
of his sharpest and funniest opening gambits and
couplets of the quality of "At the floor I stare/I
don't care" straight out of the Lou Reed school of
psychological pith. And this, from 'Other End Of
Town': "I was sitting at the barstool and I gave her
my seat/the man next over said/she looks better than
you/I said, everybody looks better than me/she said,
awww, don't be like that." It's delivered with the
most evocatively weighted combination of braggadocio
and long-suffering hurt, so much so that it works as a
prefect example of Keiji Haino's great comment after
the first Jandek show: "Jandek IS the blues."

Newcastle Sunday is one of the best Jandek albums to
date. The whole set is by turns funny, touching,
exhilarating, formally mind-boggling and
heart-breakingly sad. What's most remarkable is when I
first spun this, I realised just how
burned-on-my-brain the whole performance had become.

Alongside Jandek's Mazzacane/Licht/Heather Leigh set
on the last night of Instal 2005, Newcastle Sunday
ranks as one of the two greatest live experiences of
my life and this edition more than lives up to the
challenge of fully documenting it.

Comes with a bleak shot of black, featureless castle
walls just to re-enforce that locked-down in the North
of England feel. Highest possible recommendation.


On 2/16/06, Danen D. Jobe <djobe at uark.edu> wrote:
> Don't have much time to write at this moment, but did want to get the info
> out there:
> 'Newcastle Sunday' arrived today - the first Corwood 2 disc set! The cover
> is of a VERY old castle (outside Newcastle? Should I assume?) with NOBODY in
> front. Like 'Glasgow,' we have another person-free cover, only this time
> we're in the old country.  The discs look the same except one says DISC ONE
> and the other DISC TWO just below the center hole. Tracklist as follows:
> 1. Depression - 8:11
> 2. Other End of Town - 5:26
> 3. Every Morning - 6:59
> 4. All of a Sudden - 6:57
> 5. Locked Up - 4:33
> 6. Put It Up - 6:08
> 7. Mangled and Dead - 6:11
> 1. Some Other Name
> 2. Telephone Blues
> 3. Cottage in the Rain
> 4. Sheba Don't Have
> 5. Shadow of the Clouds
> Thoughts later, but obviously we have some REALLY depressed themes early
> on getting more mystical on disc two. Love to hear from others.
> Danen
> _______________________________________________
> jandek mailing list
> jandek at mylist.net
> http://mylist.net/listinfo/jandek
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