[Jandek] John Fahey

Paul Condon paulgcondon at gmail.com
Mon Jan 10 17:57:28 PST 2011

Interesting, I'd forgotten about that Fahey correspondence. You would indeed
expect Glenn Jones to have a good idea about what Fahey was into, but I
don't find it difficult to imagine he'd like Jandek, especially as he was
impressed with Keiji Haino, who he met shortly before his death and intended
to collaborate with. Apparently Fahey spent many isolated years under the
impression that avant garde music had died with John Cage, so it wouldn't be
surprising that he would later reach out to those he saw as kindred spirits.
His "comeback" records were aggressively outré and he was adamant that he
made "alternative music".

A comment I made here back in 2003 (Christ!):

Often wonder about this - I mean, talk about "American Primitive"! I tried
to post the following Fahey-related comment recently, but I don't think it
got through: I recently bought his Guitar Vol. 4: The Great San Bernardino
Birthday Party, and the track Guitar Excursions Into the Unknown (recorded
1963) is the closest thing I've heard to Jandek's acoustic style - it's
almost as if Fahey picked up Jandek's detuned guitar and started
fingerpicking on it. Here's what Fahey said about it in 1968: "I agree it's
one of my best pieces. I was afraid to issue it for a few years thinking
that no one would be able to like it and I was not sure of my own feelings
towards it were until Al Wilson virtually forced me to issue it. I can now
listen to it without fear that I will freak out but it took a long time."
And in 1970: "God knows what key or tuning it's in (if any of you can figure
it out please let me know." (I've read elsewhere that it's in D modal).
Fahey's use of his Blind Joe Death alterego is arguably an interesting
precedent to Jandek's mysterious-identity deal...
I met Fahey a few years ago when he played in Dublin, on what I think was
his last tour. I shook hands with him but when I asked him about his
interest in noise he ignored me and continued writing on an A4 pad. At the
time, I didn't know about his personal problems and the extremely fraught
nature of the tour (which was abandoned a couple of days later), nor about
his reticence in such situations. In retrospect I feel lucky to have gotten
a handshake.

On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM, GB <nocontact at arkhonia.co.uk> wrote:

> This brief discussion from 2005 might be of interest:
> http://mylist.net/htdig/jandek/2005-June/001458.html
> http://mylist.net/htdig/jandek/2005-June/001459.html
> and
> > my earlier post about a parallel
> > between 'Later On' & a few Fahey albums
> is here
> http://mylist.net/htdig/jandek/2005-June/001423.html
> in response to
> http://mylist.net/htdig/jandek/2005-June/001421.html
> I don't recall this discussion really going anywhere, but the confirmation
> of
> correspondence between Fahey and Corwood was an interesting detail to me.
> Cheers
> Gavin
> On 09/01/2011 18:26, Alex Koenig wrote:
> > I've been listening to many of the early John Fahey albums recently, and
> despite
> > the very different sounds the two men produce and their different
> approaches to
> > guitar I couldn't help but notice some similarities between some of his
> work and
> > the work of Corwood.
> >
> > Fahey's approach to releasing the music, often using bare bones
> packaging, no
> > real record covers, just titles, on his first three albums struck me as
> similar
> > at first. There's also the fact that the record only reveals his name,
> the album
> > title, the label name, and song titles.
> >
> > But there's also his approach to recording, the albums themselves often
> contain
> > only one instrument and are recorded in a pretty lo-fi manner. In fact,
> it
> > sometimes sounds as if they were recorded in the same room as the Corwood
> albums.
> >
> > Now I suppose these are pretty superficial similarities, they have very
> little
> > bearing on the actual music the two men produced. But when I wonder what
> may
> > have been some of the early influences on the Jandek albums, I suppose in
> terms
> > of pure presentation, I can't help but wonder if Fahey and the early
> Takoma
> > catalog had a bit of a hand in shaping the Corwood aesthetic.
> >
> > Which I suppose could bring us to the broader topic of just what in the
> hell was
> > the rep listening to when he crafted this method of making and releasing
> music?
> >
> > And for those unfamiliar with the music of John Fahey, you can never go
> wrong
> > with wikipedia...
> >
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Fahey_(musician)
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > jandek mailing list
> > jandek at mylist.net
> > http://mylist.net/listinfo/jandek
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