Jandek


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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The new wave allowed solitary and fiercely independent musicians to find an audience. Such is the case with Jandek (Sterling Smith), in Texas, who released over 30 albums between 1978 and 2000, and Stevie Moore (1), in New Jersey, who released more than 100 records, cassettes and discs between 1973 and 2000, starting with the hilarious Phonography (1976).
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Sterling Smith e` un solitario musicista di Houston che ha all'attivo piu` di trenta dischi (tutti per la propria etichetta, la Corwood) sotto lo pseudonimo di Jandek. Alternando opere completamente soliste ed acustiche ad opere elettriche con corista e complesso, Jandek ha composto un'opera di dimensioni monumentali, e lo ha fatto unicamente per soddisfare un proprio bisogno interno, senza essere minimamente influenzato dall'attenzione (nulla) che gli dedicavano critica e pubblico. Questo caso cronico di solipsismo si esprime in un numero limitato di registri: un idioma blues molto primitivo, un folk surreale accompagnato da accordi casuali della chitarra, una psichedelia angelica con un cantilenare alla Buckley.

La discografia si apri` con Ready For This House (Corwood, 1978 - Corwood, 1999), un disco per sola voce e chitarra acustica accreditato a fantomatici Units, e con Six And Six (Corwood, 1981 - Six and Six (Corwood Industries, 2009), un disco difficile e certamente non melodico come i successivi, che annovera i dieci minuti di I Knew You WOuld Leave, l'equivalente della Last Trip To Tulsa di Neil Young.

La stupefacente prolificita` del personaggio inizia con Later On (Corwood, 1981), altro disco spartano, ed esplode con Chair Besides A Window (Corwood, 1982), che contiene Nancy Sings e una nuova versione di European Jewel. Living In A Moon So Blue (Corwood, 1982) e Staring At The Cellophane (Corwood, 1982), e raggiunge forse l'apice con Your Turn To Fall (Corwood, 1983). The Rocks Crumble (Corwood, 1983 - Corwood, 2001) e` il primo disco elettrico. Interstellar Discussion (Corwood, 1984) e Nine Thirty (Corwood, 1985) segnano la progressiva maturazione del cantautore.

La sua collezione comprende molti brani del tutto gratuiti, ma anche qualche riflessione riuscita: Lost Cause (da Foreign Keys del 1985), You Painted Your Teeth (da Telegraph Melts del 1986), Upon The Grandeur, Yellow Pages, I'll Sit Alone And Think A Lot About You (da On The Way del 1988), Yellow Pages e Ale House Blues (da One Foot In The North del 1991).

Il problema e` che Jandek continua a propinare dischi a valanga, dischi che, per giunta, diventano sempre piu` tetri e abulici: Follow Your Footsteps (Corwood, 1986), Modern Dances (Corwood, 1987), You Walk Alone (Corwood, 1988). L'acustico Blue Corpse (Corwood, 1987) e` forse il migliore, o perlomeno il piu` personale, di questa fase (Your Other Man).

The Living End (1989) e Somebody In The Snow (1990 - Corwood Industries, 2003) sono lavori relativamente piu` semplici e professionali.

Il mostro interiore di Jandek viene a galla nella suite di The Electric End, venti minuti di rumori gratuiti (da Lost Cause del 1992).

Questo mitomane incrocio fra Syd Barrett e Blind Lemon Jefferson ha trovato un seguito devoto nonostante la sua opera sia probabilmente la piu` dispersiva di sempre.

The acoustic Twelfth Apostle (Corwood, 1993) ranks with his best (and most abstract and atonal), but Graven Image (Corwood, 1994), Glad To Get Away (Corwood, 1994), White Box Requiem (Corwood, 1996), I Woke Up (Corwood, 1997) and New Town (Corwood, 1998) are mainly full of filler. The 16-minute solo-piano title-track from The Beginning (Corwood, 1999) and the a-cappella albums Put My Dream On This Planet (Corwood, 2000) and This Narrow Road (Corwood, 2001) and the adult The Place (Corwood, 2003) are a welcome change.

Worthless Recluse (Corwood, 2001) is another collection of a-cappella songs. I Threw You Away (Corwood, 2002), Humility of Pain (2003), On The Way (Corwood, 2003), The Gone Wait (Corwood, 2004) abandon that style and return him to his classic sound, but with an adult tone that has little of the original punkish attitude.

Jandek performed live for the first time in october 2004, as documented on Glasgow Sunday (Corwood, 2005) and Glasgow Monday (2006). It heralded a dramatic change in his musical style as well.

Raining Down Diamonds (Corwood Industries, 2005) and Khartoum (Corwood Industries, 2005) were still as impressive as his early recordings, and stubbornly repeated the usual program of introverted and dissonant confessional dirges.

But the double-CD Glasgow Monday (Corwood, 2006) contained just one nine-part composition, The Cell for piano and vocals, recorded live.

What Else Does The Time Mean (Corwood, 2006) was Jandek's most psychedelic and cacophonous album ever, starting with the 16-minute My Own Way.

The Ruins Of Adventure (Corwood Insudtries, 2007) was an album for solo vocals and bass.

The Myth Of Blue Icicles (Corwood, 2008) contains the 14-minute The Daze, but substantially remains in the sphere of Jandek's atonal singing and guitar playing.

Jandek, instead, moved towards a more professional brand of free jazz for chamber ensemble on Where Do You Go From Here (Corwood Industries, 2012), that contains twelve (short) untitled jams, and the double-disc Maze Of The Phantom (Corwood Industries, 2012), that contains six (lengthy) untitled jams. These two albums basically reinvented Jandek's career.

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