Jandek

Glasgow Monday/The Cell

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AllMusic Review by

Recorded live at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow on May 23, 2005, this two-CD set is not what the typical listener familiar with Jandek will expect from the artist. Most of his records, whether acoustic or electric, feature amelodic guitar strumming and anguished, at times distraught vocals. In contrast, this album puts simple and, dare we say, gentle piano at the forefront, accompanied by light drones and waves of percussion (no musicians are credited on the typically minimal liner notes). Jandek's vocals, too, are an anomalously mild sing-speak, with the accent on the "speak." The words aren't all that far afield from the stream of consciousness characteristic of virtually all his other work, the vocalist proclaiming (as just one illustration) "canals with a dry wit, fresh water for the desert bound, I don't care if it takes forever, but it won't." It's still quite avant-garde by the standards of any music with lyrics, the ten "songs" in the nearly hour-and-a-half set merely designated "Part One," "Part Two," etc. all the way up to "Part Nine," introduced by a "Prelude." The length, lack of melody (even though the piano approaches a sort of rudimentary roving classical flavor), impenetrability of the lyrical train of thought, and Jandek's still-creepy phrasing -- if far more muted than usual -- nonetheless ensures that the average listener, even the average adventurous listener, might have a tough time digesting this in its entirety. The fairly radical change from his habitual approach, though, suggests Jandek might be reaching a more peaceful state of mind than the customarily stormy space he'd explored over the previous quarter-century. Here's another surprise: after "Part Nine" concludes nearly 90 minutes in which virtually no audience noise can be heard, the crowd erupts into nearly a minute of ecstatic applause.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
5:17
2
10:30
3
8:30
4
11:09
5
9:15

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
7:45
2
6:26
3
7:56
4
6:34
5
12:10
blue highlight denotes track pick