Chair Beside a Window

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Another baffling addition to this phenomenal discography of outsider art, this CD reissues the fourth obscure LP produced by Jandek, and dates from 1982. That same year, he released three albums of inimitable abstractions of rural folk-blues. If this outsider has a signature trait, it is absolute deviation; as on any disc in his enormous discography, he seems set on deconstructing music from the inside out. Few recordings exist of such a distorted musical vision, and it is this character that is cherished in the artist's work. Love them or loathe them, it is undeniable that Jandek recordings are powerful -- and for all their off-kilter abstraction there is a consistent focus that never falters, regardless of how warped the vision. The closest musical idiom that the Texan complies to is the blues and, when following that tangent, he finds magic on "Nancy Sings," an exquisite song where his own disheveled voice is replaced by an elusive female vocalist. An occurrence rare for Jandek recordings, which are predominantly solo outings, the duo vamps up an intoxicated ad-lib hollering session that could have appeared on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music were it recorded 50 years prior.

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