Staring at the Cellophane


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Staring at the Cellophane Review

by Skip Jansen

There is a virtue in repetition that is admirable. In minimalism or even dub music, artists often revisit the same formula or song, and reveal something new with each return. Jandek is an artist who produced 30 albums in 20 years, and with each installment presented the slightest of variation on an oblique and atonal vocal and guitar style. Within the realm of his own catalog, such slight variations can seem like leaps in style. As in the folk and blues traditions, versions of the same song can be worlds apart. While Jandek's defiant minor-key stumbling hardly comes under any genre umbrella, essential values of folk music are present in Staring at the Cellophane, in that he revisits his own self-defined formula yet again, in a move that can be interpreted as either incessant repetition or self-reinvention, depending on how you look at it. Either way, this album is as strikingly unique as any Jandek album, in that there is still no comparison to this outsider artist's music.

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