The Beginning marks a turning point for Jandek, who over 22 years stumbled through some 28 albums of guitar and vocal debasements that leave folk and blues genres shattered in their wake. The reclusive cult figure gives seven tracks of his formula skeletal avant-garde blues and introduces a piano on the 16-minute title track, a first for his largely acoustic guitar-centered music. His solo piano improvisation stumbles through chaotic territory typical of the subversive lo-fi iconoclast, and the significance of this concept piece would surface on subsequent albums Put My Dream on This Planet and This Narrow Road, where instruments are abandoned all together in favor of an a capella/spoken word approach. The Beginning is more an end, as the outsider artist has taken what began as applying a brute hand to blues and slowly distilling his music down to nothing. This album proves that it is not so much the music that he plays as the ambience of the recording that makes his albums so distinctive.
AllMusic Review by Skip Jansen