Ready for the House

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Originally released under the moniker the Units (even when it is painfully obvious that this is a solo performance), Jandek's debut album is as mysterious today as it was in 1978. Landing somewhere between idiot and visionary musically, Jandek's sound might best be described as shadow music. His voice wavers between singing and talking, and his lyrics are full of rhyming non sequiturs. When he yelps "Blind Man! Blind Man!" in "Cave in On You," the first reaction is to cringe, though this is not entirely negative. In a way, Jandek's first-take approach to music is a half-step away from being music. He literally plays one dissonant chord throughout the entire album on his out-of-tune acoustic guitar, only picking at the strings differently for each track (though sometimes he does not bother). The only track that deviates from this formula is the albums closer, "European Jewel (Incomplete)," reminiscent of how the Velvet Underground might have sounded on a particularly bad evening in 1966. As the parenthetical title suggests, the song literally ends abruptly, leaving the listener to wonder what happened to the rest of the song, and many other things, about the hermitic idiot savant-slash-genius Jandek.

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