What Else Does the Time Mean

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What else does the time mean? Well, in 2006, what else could the passing of a mere several months mean other than that it was time for yet another Jandek release? It was a throwback to the most exploitative days of the record business in the '60s, when artists were sometimes chugging out four to six albums a year to squeeze the lemon while it was juiced. The difference here, however, is that there's no record company putting the squeeze on Jandek to crank out more product, or an insatiable demand from a big pop audience for that product; if there's any demand to fulfill, it's only his own. Uncompromising? Sure, as is What Else Does the Time Mean, an hour-long disc, which has more rattling dissonant solo guitar performances, adorned by Jandek's stretched-out vocal moans and disjointed lyrics. Palatable? No -- not only on its own terms, but also in the context of his own discography. For Jandek, variety is not only not the spice of life -- it doesn't even enter the equation (and nor is their much, if any, spice to his life, at least as reflected in his music). The vocal-less section of the opening track, "My Own Way" (which, at 16 minutes, is long even by Jandek standards), raises some hopes that perhaps he's decided to do an instrumental, but that's ruined by the entry of his trademark singing soon enough. His electric guitar on the record is spiky and reverberant, yet subdued and defeated, and of course doesn't roam near conventional tunes or tuning. The songs are more of the same dejected observations, albeit not always of the sort you'd hear on grunge rock records, leaning on off-the-wall phrases such as "there was cabbage and cognac all over the place" (from "The Place"). (Then again, "I need to explode my love on you, why don't you love me too" could probably fit into a more-or-less "normal" rock song if someone had the inclination.) The entry of a bleating, random harmonica on "I'm Sorry No" is a surprise, and sometimes (especially on "The Place" and "I'm Sorry No") his singing veers into (but doesn't quite fall into) near-hysteria. It's not enough to mark the record as a significant statement, even within Jandek's own strange world.

Track Listing

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