[Jandek] A Minimum of Jandek

Frank Hardy soccerdude219 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 27 15:04:13 PST 2006

I'd say there's more than three periods now: 
  0739-0745: early acoustic period. "classic Jandek". almost totally solo. lyrics are often personal and poetic, emplying metaphors and imagery more than any other Jandek period. He can still have his odd moment, however. often the guitar is simply strummed or picked open- very little in the way of chording or "licks" shows up. 
  0746-0752 (skipping 0751): early electric period, noted by dissonant and jerkyily rhythmic electric guitar and insane pounding drums, a ,more screaming vocal style, and lots of nancy, the exceptions being "Nine-Thirty" which is all solo acoustic though influenced by the jerky electric rhythms of its cousins, and "Follow Your Footsteps", which partially contains this period's style, but also is the first to feature the man we call "Eddie". It's a very strange record that seems to bridge the gap between this and the next period, even though one more electric, nancy, and screaming album ("Modern Dances") comes after it. during this period the lyrics become more obtuse and bizarre, especially on the nancy duets.
  0751-0759 (skipping 0752)- "blues" period denoted by the entrance of conventional guitar playing on "Follow Your Footsteps" which continues to crop up until Lost Cause obliterates it in a 20 minute catharsis. Most accessible, but not necesarily the best material. Lyrics during this period continue in the vein of the weird, but also reflect the increasing normality of the guitar playing- in a way they're bluesier.
  0760-0766: return to solo period. Jandek abandons collaborators, except on exeption-that-proves-the-rule "I Woke Up", and lyrically combines the weirdness of the last two periods with a more soul-searching quality. Jandek embraces a bleaker but at the same time more advanced guitar asthetic, exploring the guitar neck more than ever with strange meandering solos and unfathomable chords played in his already left-field tuning.  
  0767-0769: the infamous "a capella" period, and by far the briefest, containing three albums of spoken word poetry. Jandek returns to the world of metaphors and personal statements, generally meditating on his relationships to friends, lovers, and the greater society. His voice seemed to have aged considerably and abruptly, leading many to wonder if he'd stopped recording for a few years. 
  0770- now: the current period, marking a return to guitar (ocassionally bass), but perhaps the bleakest music yet. lyrical content is focused on lonliness and isolation and seems even more desperate than the spoken word albums. the guitar technique seems to have devolved back to open strum on some records and on other reveals a continuation of the experiments of the 90's, especially on the bass driven records and the live recordings, which though more full bodied are certainly of a piece with this period's studio work. 
  a minimal Jandek collection would have to have at least one album from every major period (the a capella period, being such an abberation, probably isn't necesary). But that doesn't even hint as the sheer variety of music the man has produced. The truth is, only a mix CD could get close, but everyone disagrees on what the perfect mix would be. For the uninitiated I still reccomend Ready for the House, You Walk Alone, Blue Corpse, and Glad to Get Away. If you can't wrap your head around those, forget it.

Joe Faust <boddekker at yahoo.com> wrote:
  > They ask people to put their iPods on shuffle and
> comment on what they
> hear. Sort of like Wire mag's invisible jukebox, but
> not. On page 2
> Ben "Death Cab for Cutie" Gibbard's iPod comes up
> with Message to the
> Clerk pt 2. His comment below:

Which prompts the question, what is the minimal number
of Jandek CD's does the list membership think is
needed in order to get a clear view of the man's work?
Certainly not one. One from each of the three
defined periods? But that lets out at least one
acappella disc, and mixes the live stuff in with the
"late period." Now we're up to five. But what about
the tendency to revisit lyric sets with new
arrangements, like Dozen Drops/Nancy Sings or the
Eurpoean Jewel series? Do we make one of the late
period CD's Khartoum and add Khartoum Variations? Now
we're up to at least six...

So what's the opinion out there? I know most of us
are probably completists in various stages of filling
out our collections, but how much do you think would
be enough for the great uninitiated masses?

b.---Most interesting of all, a guitar store is the only place in the known universe where a guy will allow himself to shop like a woman, spending half an hour, an hour, two hours trying a dozen guitars with only the faintest possibility of actually buying something, playing a few licks, swapping a few lies, while in the background someone plays the opening bars of "Stairway to Heaven."Tim Brookes,Guitar: An American Life---

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