[Jandek] Corwood 0788: Manhattan Tuesday

Danen D. Jobe djobe at uark.edu
Wed May 2 20:49:15 PDT 2007

> I just got it in the mail today May 2nd, 2007

Me, too - came home tonight and there it sat.

> The cover seems to be a scene of somewhere similar to southern 
> pennsylvania.a white footbridge in the distance, some ivy/moss 
> covered trees and a 
> stream.... very elegant cover.... probably the most gorgeous album 
> cover 
> from the Jandek catalog in my opinion

Curiously, I've noticed that his covers for the live albums follow a similar behavior: he's NEVER on them (I always presume him to be the taker of the photograph, though that may not be true), and they are often as far removed from the venue as possible. In other words, how much further from Manhattan would you get to a creek (complete with rippling water) running through a spooky, mist-covered forest. Sorta like imagining a sea-side hotel in Austin, or the countryside of Glasgow or Newcastle? Of course, how about the suburban church of the original Glasgow cover? On all of them, things are not as they seem.

That's more fitting here than on any other disc. My GOD, this thing is S P O O K Y. The cover is perfect. The album, on first listen, is a psychedelic church sermon performed by ghosts. Whether intentional or not, it sounds like a bootleg. Or more specifically, it reminds me of the live recording of "Careful with that Axe, Eugene" on Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma." No, really - scoff all you want. You've got a sustained wah-wah guitar, percussion that keeps an eccentric rhythm and, above it all, this ghostly keyboard. 

And then the vocals...

May I invite not only Nate but as many as get this to help in transcription? This is gonna be TOUGH. The vocals (for the most part) echo about, lost in the froth of the music around them. "There's no escape" he says in the first song, and that's no joke. I think this spooks me more than any Jandek album since "Shadow of Leaves." Maybe more than that. But it's so unique, so unlike anything else. I figured this would sound like the Toronto show, but it doesn't. It sounds like a dank cellar in 1968, as recorded by some rabid follower on an old tape deck, and somebody dug it up and now we have it. 

So yeah, it relates to Toronto in the sense that the keyboard playing is similar, but the sound is...a lot darker. Also, the lyrics are more vague - my favorite thing about Toronto was the way the characters played off each other (he did this in Indianapolis also); you got a sense of human interaction, or at least of some sort of interaction, even if one of the players was an invented personality. Here there is only one man and his depression. He addresses people throughout (and I'll have more impressions on this as I figure out just WHAT these lyrics are) but it all circles back to him, like buzzards flying over a corpse that doesn't know that it's gone. I - of all people - am not leveraging the sort of 'he's so crrrreeepy, lord what will we do' type of criticism at Jandek. In fact, it's not criticism at all. It's honest. This is as close to the dark side as I can imagine getting without being sucked inside. 

And yes, as with Glasgow and Toronto (and Atlanta? I assume that was one piece, but I never heard a name for it) this is one "song" stretched over an hour and a half of disc time. It's not like anything else in the catalog. I recall people pondering what his fiftieth release would be, well here it is. You couldn't ask for more. "It's all so useless/why do it/why do anything" he says in the twenty minute second song. You do it so we can have music like this, that's why.

note: I'm going to upload the cover on photobucket or something - I don't want to overload anyone's account. I'll send a link soon. Meantime, anybody who wants a copy of the cover I'll be happy to send one. 

I'm still floored.  

> the whole piece is called "Afternoon of Insensitivity"
> Disc One
> Part One  (13:04)
> Part Two (20:44)
> Part Three (9:56)
> Disc Two
> Part Four (11:24)
> Part Five (12:39)
> Part Six (7:06)
> Part Seven (18:25)
> I am about to put it in my player.... so I will probably post 
> lyrics if 
> anyone is interested..
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