[Jandek] Worthless Recluse

jesus kenievel knievelperu at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 15 13:05:10 PDT 2010

Thanks for the clarification. I think I'm going to be doing some comparative listening this weekend. I did notice the similarities among the digital albums that I do have. I don't have anything beyond Glasgow Friday yet, but in listening to The Myth of The Blue Icicles and Ruins of The Adventure I think I know what you mean. I really like the digital albums, but I wonder if The Rep's focus has been primarily on the live material with regards to new musical style explorations. I'm waiting for the next phase with regards to his "studio" stuff, sort of the post-live period. But maybe it's already started. I guess I'll find out in a few weeks when my next batch of CDs from Corwood arrives.
What I find particularly interesting about your comments is how you listen to Jandek. I listen to each album on its own, never mixing songs from one with the songs of another. It just never occurred to me listen otherwise. I guess I just take each album as an entity on to its own. Listening to tracks from various records seems to me mixing chapters from different books. But you're comments have me thinking that maybe I'm too dogmatic in my listening habits. But then again maybe it's the records themselves. Maybe earlier in his career Jandek was more concerned with singles, and in the most recent phase he's more a concept album kinda guy. 
I also agree that The Rep's lyrics are getting stronger. I especially like The Myth of The Blue Icicles. But Jandek's always been strong with words, not just the actual words themselves, but how he uses them. Worthless Recluse, (and the other spoken word albums as well), is a perfect example. The way he annunciates the words, and the way he's recorded them has a huge impact. I agree with you that those records are extremely under-rated. I know some people have claimed that they don't enjoy them, but I do. They really require focus, (as does much of Jandek's work), but I find that the effort I put in is vastly rewarded. I find all three of those records to be bold, intense artistic statements. It's too bad he only made three.

Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 09:26:36 -0700
From: rabid_anti_dentite at sbcglobal.net
Subject: Re: [Jandek] Worthless Recluse
To: jandek at mylist.net

Certainly, you know when I was looking at that sentence I had a real feeling there was something not quite clear about it. What I really meant to say that with the recent digital albums the mood is consistent, (in my opinion more consistent than his earlier albums) in terms of sound. He seems to have been using roughly the same tuning for at least the past five albums (I'm of course excluding the live releases) the sound is always a clean digital sound, the guitar playing is a bit more erratic in terms of improvisation, and by and large the lyrics are front and center, very rarely do they have any song-ish qualities that you often find with the earlier albums. Very rarely do the albums feature the type of singing found in the classic Jandek period, I'm sure his age might play
 a role in this, and he's adopted that sort of moan we've all come to know. It's almost as if they could have been spoken word pieces with music added in later serving more of a secondary role (then again you could argue Jandek has always done this) 

Not Hunting for Meaning first two tracks seem to buck this trend a bit, perhaps that's why it stands out in my mind more than Corwood's other recent albums. I'm not mentioning any of these characteristics as criticisms, in fact many of these recent albums I like quite a bit, but I will say that  if a song from a recent album comes up randomly on my ipod, I have a harder time placing the track to the album it belongs, that is until he hits a particularly evocative image, which you'll guaranteed on the recent albums, his lyrical skill has only improved in my opinion.

From: Jesus Knievel <knievelperu at hotmail.com>
To: Alex Koenig <rabid_anti_dentite at sbcglobal.net>
Cc: "jandek at mylist.net" <jandek at mylist.net>
Sent: Wed, October 13, 2010 9:50:29 AM
Subject: Re: [Jandek] Worthless Recluse

Could you expand on your comments about the recent digital albums? I'm not sure what you mean by the mood being terribly consistent. Weren't some of the early albums also very consistent in that regard, such as Ready For The House?


Sent from my iPad

On 2010-10-11, at 12:58 PM, Alex Koenig <rabid_anti_dentite at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

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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