The stranger - Page 2

Music's mystery man Jandek comes to town

San Francisco is especially rich in this regard, and two of the area's best will fall into Jandek's orbit Jan. 12: Ches Smith (Xiu Xiu, Good for Cows) is marked down for drums and Tom Carter (Charlambides, Badgerlore) for bass.

Carter wrote to me about a previous experience playing with the Representative from Corwood, "It was one of the heaviest playing situations of my life. He didn't demand much specifically from the other musicians, but there was definitely a sense that there was something he wanted, and that if you didn't figure it out yourself, it was on your head if the performance fell flat."

The shows may last longer than the records, but this seems less of an issue when you acknowledge the elastic, architectural quality of the music. The recordings, in any event, are an apt preparation for the appearances, as they too seem to unfold in stuttering real time. After we listen, our throats are dried out, our blinking irregular, and it seems the preceding minutes have passed through a dark star. We do not ask for music to move us like this, but once it does it is hard to imagine anything else.

Some fans think the performances and recent spike in releases indicate that the Representative from Corwood has retired from his day job. Regardless of whether he has, he's certainly earned the right to embrace his artist self. Whether we choose to visit his terrain or keep away is inconsequential next to the fact that Jandek is undeniably there. Insofar as this body of work represents the buzzing strangeness lurking just behind the flecked curtains of everyday Americana, the Representative from Corwood is on a track similar to that of Thomas Pynchon or David Lynch. Ever inscrutable and increasingly undeniable, the Jandek discography has somehow wormed its way onto the map. 2


Sat/12, 7:30 p.m., $25

Swedish American Hall

2170 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016

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