Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reclusive Texas enigma... dot com?

It kind of feels like the end of an era. I know I wasn't around or aware for most of Jandek's mammoth run as the most reclusive musician on the planet - I only started collecting and listening to his stuff after he stepped out on stage for the first time in 2004. I wasn't there for the 40-some albums he released over the 26 years before that, during which time he never played live, gave only one interview, and only advertised in one tiny magazine. How anyone heard of Jandek before the Internet is beyond me.

Since 2004, he's become a lot more outgoing, playing numerous shows each year with a wide variety of sidemen. He still sounds like he never quite learned how to play any of the instruments he tackles, and his music is still wildly improvisational, but the variety of the live shows has been remarkable. Jandek has almost become a social creature.

And now the capper: he has what appears to be an official website: www.corwoodindustries.com. It's very Jandekian, just a list of his albums, prices, and a mailing address. No links to anything, no way to buy online. The site does seem to announce a new album, Toronto Sunday, which I'm about to order, though. And if that's its purpose, to get news of new releases out there from an official source, then that's excellent.

But it's weird to think of Jandek updating a website. Before you know it, he'll have an email address, and I'll be able to stop sending him letters each time I want one of his records. In a lot of ways, that will be a shame. There's still something old-fashioned and mysterious about the way he does things, and I appreciate that. I hope it never gets to the point where I buy Jandek albums with PayPal. That would be too weird.

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