Ready for the House and Later On CD reissues

The mysterious figure known only as Jandek started lo-fi home recording in 1978, long before anyone thought of using those words. The Beginning marks his 28th release, all on the Houston label Corwood Industries, which only releases his records. Based on the very limited information that he provides, it appears that he has recorded all of these albums himself, and performed the bulk of the music on them. Most of The Beginning follows the style of his recent albums, with sparse guitar and vocal songs. The songs at times resemble folk and blues, but with very abstract and untraditional structures. While his playing and singing reflect the development of a musician who has worked for over 20 years, they do not resemble most traditional playing. The recording has a bit of room sound on an otherwise clean signal. The album's final track, an extended piano instrumental called "The Beginning", displays a new variation on his basic approach. Since the release of The Beginning, Corwood has begun reissuing Jandek's early albums on CD, beginning with his first, 1978's Ready for the House. Originally released under the name The Units but reissued here as a Jandek album, Ready for the House predates the lo-fi singer- songwriter phenomenon by more than ten years. It employs prominent reverb on the vocals and one song includes electric guitar, and the songs display less melodic development than his more recent material. His third album, 1981's Later On, also recently reissued, experiments occasionally with more prominent use of effects but follows in the same basic pattern. These 3 albums alone cannot reflect all of the variations in his 22 years of output, especially as they omit his more aggressive electric work of the late '80s and early '90s. They do present a nice introduction to the vast body of work of one of the strangest and most distinctive songwriters of the last 25 years. (Corwood Industries, P.O. Box 15375, Houston, TX 77720)

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