“Where Do You Go From Here” (Corwood 0805, released June 2011).
12 tracks, labelled parts 1-12, ranging from 1:28 to 14:19.
(total time 53:42)
instrumentation: drums, piano, two (?) electric guitars, flute or recorder, harmonica (melodica?), reeds, chimes/bells/additional percussion, one unknown instrument that could be fuzztone guitar or a theremin-like instrument
vocal on four tracks (built around the phrases “Make up your mind…you decide” and “where do you go from here”), the second (and possibly the fourth) of which does not sound like Jandek.
Is this the 67th album from Jandek (if you count the cd and dvd releases separately)? Whatever it is, Jandek’s body of work continues to surprise and delight. As I’ve said previously, it’s surprising how little coverage the Jandek releases of the last two years have been getting, particularly the studio releases. However, that’s the problem of others; I’ve been enjoying the journey.
The last few studio albums have been guitar and voice oriented, but this one has a very different feel. Piano and drums are the major instruments, with interesting textures created by the additional instruments listed above. I’d say there are three different musicians here, although it could vary on some tracks (assuming Jandek is not overdubbing himself). The first track sets the tone by sounding like a quieter minute excerpted from an early 70s free jazz album (maybe, a quieter sequence on the Strata-East album by Pharoah Sanders). This is a slow-burn of an album, atmospheric, pulling in the listener gradually. As in a number of Jandek albums, there is a relatively insistent and consistent overall thematic focus to the lyrics, here even clearer because of the limited number of vocals. It’s about stopping to define one’s way, one’s quest, and in a way, that’s what this album is doing. The percolating fourteen minute jam at the end, with guitar and drums and melodica (???), is the closest to “traditional” Jandek music for longtime listeners to the studio albums, but putting this long track at the end was a wise programming decision, as it anchors the album—which has previously consisted of shorter tracks with varying instrumentation—and heads out of town into the desert, and leads the listener to hit the “repeat” button and take this journey once again. Contemplative music that does not raise its voice, free-music with a comfortable lived-in quality, atmospheric music that’s a soundtrack to the visuals in one’s mind…order yours today.
I’ve enjoyed the recent guitar-and-voice solo albums, but I think this unexpected entry in the Jandek catalog will find a lot of interested listeners and will, I hope, inspire further investigation of recent overlooked albums. As always, single albums are only $8 ppd. ($9 overseas), a great value! Ordering info at http://www.corwoodindustries.com/