Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Jandek ‎– "Skirting The Edge" (Corwood Industries ‎– Corwood 0794) 2008

The 56th release attributed to Jandek released by Corwood Industries in 2008. The album features Jandek's trademark medicated Dylan vocals, limply strummed atonal acoustic guitar, and explores a number of dark lyrical themes including ill-health, death and the casting-off of material possessions.The album's first track "The side of the road" sets the scene for the rest of the album; lyrical content that can be seen to be relatively "positive", in that the piece is about accepting the certainty of death at the end of life's journey, contrasted with music and vocal delivery that seems far less sure of this acceptance... This is "deathbed blues", and this strain between lyrical content and delivery shows clearly the raft of conflicting emotions that one man can witness when considering the inevitable.
 The second piece on the album, "I know my name" seems to be more improvised and raw in its emotions; the artist's vocals can be heard to be strained, sad, joyful and resigned at various points of the story... This is how love songs really should sound. "Take this big picture away, I want to be with the little things". This is a sentiment that many will empathise with; the complicated nature of life and human relationships getting in the way of the fairytale ending that we believe would occur if we existed in a vacuum, away from the strains of life and outside interference.
Following on from this is "The Playground", a piece that discusses what we would assume to be an incident from the narrator's childhood. The song again deals with illness and cure, this time as the result of a stone thrown by local children near a friend's house. The song describes how the subject's friend, Albert, took the shirt from his own back to help stop the bleeding, before his mother "stopped the process of my demise". The incident seems to have given the narrator a fresh outlook on life at the time, and notes a recognition of the inherent kindness in others as he witnessed in Albert that day; "And then I hit the street all cured and pure clean / I swept the scenery / I touched the water every day / I found you floating in another person every day".
 The final song on this album is another piece that comes across as being mostly improvised, the oblique "Last Sunlight". This piece deals with mostly natural images of a metaphorical journey, again seemingly taking on the album's themes of ill-health and the end of life.
This album is an excellent addition to the catalogue of releases from Corwood, and is one of the label's most challenging in terms of its themes. Those with a particular interest in the acoustic material Corwood has released in the past will relish this album, and the record comes highly recommended, alongside the other recent all-acoustic album, "Myth of Blue Icicles".


1 The Side Of The Road 7:08
2 I Know My Name 23:43
3 The Playground 7:53
4 Last Sunlight 11:57

DOWNLOAD and don't skirt around the edge HERE!

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