The Units – Ready For the House

Ready For the House

The UnitsReady For the House CORWOOD 0739 (1978)

So, I want to say that Jandek is the antidote to any ill-conceived notion (sometimes espoused by me) that all the final frontiers of music were crossed in the 1960s.  But, it gets better than that suggests, so read on.  Jandek really perfected meta-music.  This collection of tuneless warbling, credited to “The Units,” seems to show a profound disregard for anything that would appeal to the listener.  This sounds like music recorded in the basement of a very, very empty house, one with an imposing and almost oppressive sense of isolation.  And there is this man, of some sort, playing music there, for his own purposes, whatever those are.  And yet, here you are, listening to it.  This was recorded, released!  So why would you, me, anyone…why would we listen to it?  As the doubters say, are we a pretentious lot, listening to it to be contrarians, or something like that?  I think not.  The key to this, if there is one, is that it’s just brutally honest expression.  It’s naked, daring, bold expression of a type rarely put forth into the public, for the cruel human social structure to critique, attack, put down, or — even if it was a long shot — love and admire.  Philosopher Paul Feyerabend suggested that the only universal methodological rule for the progress of science was epistemological anarchism, that, in essence, nothing is sacred or true and everything is permitted.  Has Jandek proved that for music, and all arts too?  William S. Burroughs said that the function of art is is to remind us of what we know, and what we don’t know that we know.  And so, with Jandek, the reductionist removal of any clear reliance on structure or accepted method has, paradoxically — and awesomely, I may add editorially — exposed some kind of hidden potential for human connection through the sharing of experience, or shared experience if you prefer.  Wasn’t that kind of always something we knew?  And if Ready for the House was insufficient to establish any of this, Corwood Industries has survived as an outlet for scores of these albums to be continuously kept in print.  And long after this was achieved, and Jandek was established as a notably obscure purveyor of “outsider art”, bands emerge to perform this music live.  Folks, this has started to get interesting…