[Jandek] Jandek vs. Jandek in Toronto

Danen D. Jobe djobe at uark.edu
Mon Sep 18 06:27:34 PDT 2006

Want to add to Seth's comments that it was a sister-show of sorts to "the Cell" (didn't see Brooklyn), but wanted to point out that the band were amazing. The integration between musicians was the most jazz-like of any show I've seen, and at times the passages built to a sort of catharsis.

I took the "him" in this to be about a lot of things - one possibility being perhaps a father or brother? Someone close who passes away. There's definitly other lines that seemed to be about God, (though often in a funny way - "he got so high he forgot the solar system" - something like that). Overall I was VERY impressed. There was a mirror to the right of the stage and from where I was sitting you could see him reflected in it. At times he was singing to himself. Again, the communication with the band was effortless.

I get the feeling Chicago's going to be a rock-out, as well. But I thought this was terrific. Five camera's, and more sound control than Corwood's ever had. Thank Gary Topp for it - he paid for it all. I understand that ALL five camera angles will be used individually as "that's what we normally do." Can also say that the Newcastle Sunday DVD will be out "in a few weeks." Wonderful time, wonderful show, wonderful group of people here. And yes, I met the Corwood Rep (after all this time!) and yes he's a great guy. There's nothing else to say, really. Wish this were coming out soon.

My first reading tonight - we'll see how it goes! Had the joy of being searched at customs yesterday, but here I am. I'll try to add more later, but the time is running out on my public computer. 

----- Original Message -----
From: Seth Tisue <seth at tisue.net>
Date: Monday, September 18, 2006 8:44 am
Subject: [Jandek] Jandek vs. Jandek in Toronto
To: jandek at mylist.net

> Someone announces that the show is being recorded, in both audio and
> video, for Corwood, so "no flash photography" please -- a 
> relaxation of
> the usual no-photography-at-all policy?
> Jandek takes the stage in his usual garb, except his shirt's a lighter
> shade than usual.  He tests the mike over his keyboards with the 
> tap of
> a finger; looks like we'll get some vocals tonight.  (After 
> Finland, you
> never know.)
> We knew to expect the Korgs.  Smaller model above, full size 
> below, just
> like at the Manhattan show.  Same backing instruments as 
> Manhattan, too:
> electric guitar, double bass, drums.  The drums aren't assembled 
> into a
> drumkit; they stand individually, forming a low semicircle around the
> drummer.  He's on the floor, no drumstool.  Glances are exchanged;
> everyone's ready.  It's dark out in the audience and the stage is 
> bathedin blue light.  For a moment the room is silent.
> When the first notes from the keyboard ring out, my heart sinks.
> Jandek's chosen a setting for the lower keyboard that sounds like
> something you might hear on a new age CD you bought at the 
> supermarket.It's dreadful.  I'm mollified when he starts playing 
> the upper keyboard
> too and I hear the same somber church-organ tones we heard in 
> Manhattan,a sound well suited for funereal blues or just for a 
> funeral.  But that
> other keyboard sound remains a near-constant bummer for the next 90
> minutes despite my struggles to tune it out.
> The mix favors the vocals quite heavily; Jandek's voice seems to boom
> out of the speaker I'm in front of.  Even so, the band's arsenal of
> improviser's instrumental special effects is distracting during the
> vocal passages.  They sound much better during some somber, murky,
> intense all-instrumental sections, with the organ sound officiating.
> Perhaps you've heard Glasgow Monday, aka "The Cell".  At that 2005 
> show,Jandek introduced a new vocal style: half spoken, half sung, 
> breathy,hushed.  In Manhattan last year, and again here tonight, 
> he's adapted
> that style for use with louder backing music; still spoken/sung, but
> lower, more forcefully, changing to a wail or a moan here and 
> there for
> emphasis.
> Musically it's the sequel to Manhattan, but lyrically it's like "The
> Cell".  He's even more direct now about recovering from an 
> illness.  He
> mentions "the sickbed" several times, and describes his travails 
> there."Afraid to die/ Afraid to live... Chemicals/ I destroy 
> myself and live/
> Unexpected revelation... Rising out of your own ruin... Germ warfare/
> kill or be killed/ Story of cellular survival... Something must live
> on...  He destroyed himself/ he continued anew."  Sounds like
> chemotherapy to me.
> Did you notice the switch from "I" to "he" in those lyrics, there? 
> He
> switches like that several more times and it puzzles me, but any doubt
> that "he" and "I" are the same person are erased when he sings, "He
> carried his art/ on his bones/ skin stretched over/ apparel hanging/
> stick of a man..."  But why the different pronouns?
> The division between "he" and "I" emerges as the dominant theme of the
> evening: "He sprawled about the bed at night/ waiting for the 
> dawn/ At
> times I watched him/ Was he really me?...  He spoke, I listened/ He
> moved, I watched."  As this split emerges, "I" is determined to take
> charge: "I decided to make him/ do what I wanted/ I grew tired of the
> years of regret... The moment had simply arrived/ Bursting through all
> the blockades/ The whoosh of a torrent... I took responsibility/ 
> He was
> mine..."
> "I" wants to take control of his own life by controlling "he", but
> "he" doesn't always fall in line.  "Why can't I just kill him?" asks
> "I".  "I crucify the thing he was/ I let him suffer/ He died for me"
> -- the double meaning here, referencing Christ, is unmistakable.
> (Later, too, there is a line comparing recovery from illness to rising
> from the dead.)
> In bed, our hero waxes metaphysical: "The sensation of 
> mathematics/ His
> thoughts took on an abstract isolation/ They resembled geometric
> lines..."  But then, when he feels well enough, he returns to the
> everyday world: "I walked for hours/ navigating the city."  He sees
> people, buildings, cement, fire hydrants.  He witnesses "the march of
> sex."  "I" even complains that "He forgot me in the panorama."
> So, this was the third in Jandek's series of unified evening-length
> lyrical presentations, after "The Cell" and whatever the Manhattan 
> suitewas called ("Depression", perhaps).  I think he wanted to 
> integrate and
> contrast the darkness of the latter with the hope and peacefulness of
> the former, all in a single work.  (And with dueling synth 
> settings to
> match.)  Another intriguing set of lyrics, for sure.  I wonder if 
> Jandekwas making music during the period of illness and recovery 
> that he
> describes...?
> In New York, the heavy downer night (Manhattan) was followed by a
> night of amped-up catharsis (Brooklyn, 1st set).  So that means I'm
> ready to rock out in Chicago this Wednesday.  Actually, I'm ready for
> anything.
> -- 
> Seth Tisue | seth at tisue.net
> http://tisue.net | http://www.flickr.com/photos/tisue/
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