Kendra Steiner Editions

July 4, 2012

JANDEK, “Maze of the Phantom” (Corwood 0808, 2-cd set)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 10:00 am

JANDEK

“Maze of the Phantom”

Corwood 0808, 2 cd set

released April 2012

Disc One

1. part one, 18:08

2. part two, 14:48

3. part three, 13:23

4. part four, 13:59

Disc Two

1. part five, 10:32

2. part six, 15:49

3. rehearsal one, 7:07

4. rehearsal two, 16:53

CD releases from Corwood Industries have been following a two-track schedule recently. Archival live releases—-presently we’re up to about December 2006, with the recent release of INDIANAPOLIS SATURDAY—-are alternated with a new studio album. The exact pattern may not always be exactly one-live, one-studio, but the releases follow parallel tracks. After the fascinating, atmospheric, mostly-instrumental WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE (Corwood 0805), which was recorded in Scotland and featured exploratory improvisations that could have been excerpted from the middle of a long track on a 1970 European free-jazz session, we now have MAZE OF THE PHANTOM, a beautiful, haunting two-cd set that was, according to Corwood Industries, recorded in Houston and features a line-up of harp; percussion; wordless female vocals;  guitar & flute (played by the same person); and the Rep on double Korg keyboards. I also hear a stringed instrument such as a cello.

Whatever the instruments are, this Jandek ensemble plays an atmospheric, exotica-tinged free-improv that tends to swirl in a relaxed manner and to hang like smoke rings in humid relatively still air, but air with enough of a breeze to keep the patterns shifting, to keep a flow and a direction. This music moves like that…it investigates, it stops to smell the roses and to view them from different perspectives. As with Jandek’s HELSINKI SATURDAY album, on which he plays piano and is accompanied by a harpist, this music slows down time and relies on texture and space. It’s meditative in the most positive sense of the word, but also exciting and with a breathless sense of constant discovery. In case you can’t tell, I find it to be a fascinating and beautiful album. Forget what you think you know about Jandek. The Representative From Corwood has always been one to throw himself into new and different musical situations, to leave his comfort zone, and to see what happens. Here, he is just one member of an exploratory ensemble, and if I had to categorize the music, I’d describe it as “free-improv chamber music with an exotica tinge.” Definitely on my best of 2012 list.

$12 postpaid in the US ($13 overseas) from Corwood Industries, PO Box 15375, Houston, TX  77220.

Below is the cover art, which I’d guess is somewhere in Northern Europe. You could stare at this photo, put on the album, and take a trip, and perhaps that’s what’s intended by Corwood with this majestic release…

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