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Jandek, "Manhattan Tuesday"

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There are few, if actually any, musical series’ at the moment as interesting as Jandek’s chronological live releases. With his twenty five year old ‘Texan loner’ tag finally being shed, his live releases are revealing a whole experience to fans of his disturbingly bare vocal/guitar confessions. After the indifferent Austin Sunday release, Jandek seems to have taken some wise soul’s advice, getting players with improvisational chops in instead of local backroom bums.


Backed by Chris Corsano on drums, Matt Heyner on bass and Loren Connors on guitar, the oddly subtitled ‘Afternoon of Insensitivity’ (odd because Jandek sounds anything but insensitive over these two discs) is his most composed sounding set to date. Jandek spends the LP away from his customary live set-up of electric guitar and sits behind the staple instrument of sanctum seekers, the organ (well, a Korg synth set to organ). He certainly seems able to express himself more traditionally through this instrument, as opposed to his signature untrained guitar style. This trio of musicians collude in a mutual conspiracy to shelter and protect Jandek from slipping into skeletal soloisms, perhaps overexposing the natural spookiness of the organ. Loren Connors plays out of his self, his guitar opening up in liquid swirls, his pedals spreading sound across the show in great strokes.

The rhythm section moves steadily in the footsteps of the organ, much of Corsano’s playing like pensive, beautiful footsteps beneath Connors and Jandek. His role feels more obviously rhythmic than Alex Neilson’s drumming work on three of the previous live releases, snare shots like candle points in the fog. Vocally, there’s an initial surprise as he actually sounds unsure about what he’s saying, perhaps even a little shy. Though why Jandek should choose his fiftieth album to get all reticent on us is anyone’s guess. This slip doesn’t last long though (stage fright?) and soon he’s back to his undulant matter of fact confessions. It’s interesting to see that brief glimpse of something behind the impassive mask, Jandek normally ignoring the crowd’s presence beyond a few rare recorded smiles. Manhattan Tuesday follows the usual lyrical routes, the sheer strength of his imagery and questions always overcoming his dependence on the themes of isolation, alienation and lost love. Its beginning to really feel like Jandek has been slowly becoming more capable of accurately describing his incipient awareness of the internal world.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 10:35  


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