[Jandek] More details on Canticle of Castaway

Danen Jobe danen1970 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 22 22:14:43 PDT 2010

I would agree that this album continues the internal stream of consciousness
approach of the last few studio albums (or "series of dreams" which I like
fine). There's an interesting leap if you take "London Tuesday" and play it
back to back with "Dream of Blue Icicles." "London" so deals with fame and
consciousness, of - for God's sake - facing those fans straight on with
nothing but an acoustic guitar and calling them out and asking who in the
world they are. There's a similar technique, of course, on "Austin" but
"London Tuesday" is even more bare in the sense of artist/audience. So with
"Icicles" we get something utterly different - a plunge into the psyche of
this guy complete with visions. He's come close to this on a few earlier
albums, yet so many Jandek LPs are actually about the EXPERIENCE of the
world, of the feel of feet on concrete and the places he's gone and
relationships he's had and people he's known. So this sequence seems to
wander further into the psyche, distancing itself from the outside world,
and I often feel that the "you" he's confronting is himself (again, a "dual
personality" theme has been consistent of late. I recall that the Atlanta
show is a vivid experience of this self confronting self and wondering who's
real. Can't recommend that enough, and we're not that far from a release!
Whoo hoo!).

This record feels on the harsher side, which sometimes contrasts with some
of the other studio albums between "Icicles" and this one. "Not Hunting for
Meaning" suggested a movement towards this but still the half an hour of
"Don't Go Out" is jarring, and reminds me of nothing so much as Baudelaire
without the eros and intestines. This guy really DOESN'T WANT TO GO OUT but
this sentiment is used to greatly accentuate the blues of the guitar, which
is veers between a Delta feeling and clashing, black-key tonality. I might
add, as well, that I recommend experiencing this whole and not reading the
lyrics first (though they come in handy after - thanks!). Just let it waft
over you and then wait for release.

That release doesn't come on this album. No funny song or quiet, dreamy song
as on some of the earlier records. This jarring acoustic stream moves into
an even MORE jarring acoustic track, the utterly caustic "You Weren't,"
which is "short" at 6:51 but feels longer (the other songs, curiously, feel
much more compact). This leads to the other, weirder acoustic track "Boys
Like Blue" which again carries the listener into this dark and dreamy place.

Ultimately, I'm curious as to where this series is going. Thus far this
instrumentation is consistent (though the playing style moves around the
blues/ballad/brutal canon) in a vocal/acoustic sense. Perhaps an album will
alter this? Perhaps we'll begin to see new themes? I recall the shift in
focus between the albums around "A Kingdom He Likes" and "Khartoum"/"What
Else Does the Time Mean?" These albums are another shift from those, and
show no signs of abating. It would be easy, I think, for Corwood just to
rack up concerts and release those only, but the studio albums are good and
interesting and I hope the listeners, at least, are getting them as well.

On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 8:31 PM, <jbswafford21 at tntech.edu> wrote:

> After a couple of spins, the new album fits perfectly with the last few
> studio
> albums sonically and lyrically...  first song "Don't Go Out" is 29 minutes
> and gets
> pretty intense around the 17 minute mark as the guitar starts getting
> thrashed... vocals sound a murky when compared to the last couple of
> releases
> especially win the line of "You move and you're dead..." vocals kinda
> bottom out
> or clips or something... second song "You Weren't" shortest song on the
> album
> clocking in at 6'56'' highlight of the album for me...most upbeat song on
> the
> album musically and with the phrasing of the lyrics...Ithe last one "Boys
> Like
> Blue" mentions different types of personalities and what colors represent
> them..."City men like grey, black and blue... Countrymen like green, brown
> and
> red, tones of the earth...I like the theory someone posted on here about
> the last
> few studio albums being a "series of dream albums"... this one continues
> that
> feel as the lyrics make references to dreams and have a distorted
> descriptive
> feel to them kinda like a dream... two thumbs up... like I said, cover is a
> B & W
> head shot of the Rep... looks like the background has been possibly whited
> out... kinda reminds me of The Living End sorta except he's much older and
> smiling...
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