[Jandek] Worthless Recluse

Alex Koenig rabid_anti_dentite at sbcglobal.net
Mon Oct 11 09:58:14 PDT 2010

Considering the boards have been getting some attention for the last week or so 
I figured I'd bring this up and steer the conversation to what has so far been a 
little talked about Corwood album.

Worthless Recluse has really been growing on me as of late. I know the spoken 
word discs are by no means the most popular numbers of the corwood catalog, but 
I find them a good deal more palatable than some of the recent digital albums, 
(which seem to put the lyrics front and center, and mood and atmosphere are more 
or less secondary or at least terribly consistent, although Not Hunting for 
Meaning is a nice exception in my opinion)

Put My Dream on this Planet was the first spoken word disc I heard and with its 
two 20 minute plus tracks and pretty abstract lyrics, I considered it an 
extremely brave record to make, even for Jandek. Worthless Recluse in comparison 
is a little more digestible with most tracks being only a few minutes, with most 
having a consistent focus. The album's title track at 17 plus minutes is 
ironically one of my favorites, probably out of all three of the albums, as it 
seems to be one of the few Jandek tracks that's ever struck me as definitely 
somewhat autobiographical. Maybe I'm not looking close of enough, since the 
details I'm thinking of are pretty basic with the line "cold northern cities" 
 seeming to correspond with the rep's known time spent in New York, and the line 
"Do you really live there?" with reference to the subject's house, reminding me 
of the man who releases the Corwood albums relative affluence and how he may at 
times feel at odds with it. The guy after all does have a pretty nice house.

Of course there could after all be nothing to this, as always whenever we try to 
read something autobiographically when we know fairly little about the person, 
or anyone really. But I feel like there might be at least something to this 
idea, any thoughts?

While going through Worthless Recluse as well as the other spoken word discs it 
really did make me agree with Aaron Goldberg's reviews and say it's a real shame 
these albums haven't gained any real traction with spoken word communities, his 
delivery is quite unlike any reader I've heard before. 

And as a side question, (this was probably discussed when the albums were first 
released, but I'll ask anyway) Put My Dream on this Planet's track titled "It's 
Your House contains the line "Ready for the House" has this made us wonder 
whether that recording and possibly all of the spoken word discs predate all 
other recordings or in the very least predate corwood's release history? The 
audio quality seems to be some of the most basic, so it's always made me wonder.
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