What Else Does the Time Mean is the 46th album that Jandek has created, and it goes a long way toward proving that, despite his recent proclivity to actually make public appearances, his music is just as difficult as it’s ever been. His trademark affected-but-undistorted electric guitar is his primary (almost his only) instrument here, used as utterly tuneless white noise backing his age-deepened voice’s slurred speak-singing. There’s a lyrical thread of dedication to someone who has died, someone who continues to provide inspiration to Jandek as he yearns for a way to be with that person once again. This thread is most obviously, harrowingly outlined in the opening lines of sixth track “I’ve Been a Body”, as Jandek speaks “I’ve been a body / I just want to be a spirit now”, discussing “the other side” and the desire to “be a light that never lets you be” for his unnamed subject. Jandek breaks out the harmonica for one track, the positively drunken “I’m Sorry No”, and even does something vaguely rhythmic with his guitar in the oddly explicit closer “If I Waited Twenty Hours” (which, at under four minutes, is the most digestible thing here, despite a “refrain” that repeats “I need to explode my love on you”), but Jandek will never have you tapping your foot or humming along. Ultimately, What Else Does the Time Mean is another look into a wounded soul, wonderful for those who appreciate Jandek’s form of anti-music, and completely impenetrable for the uninitiated.
// Notes from the Road
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