Their Library: Jackamo Brown

Literary influences explored...
Jackamo Brown

Jackamo Brown's music seems to hark back to an earlier, simpler time.

Each song is carefully woven, with the London based artist spending time sanding down the edges of each couplet, each chord change. Recalling the more pastoral moments in Bert Jansch' output - or even tragic American songwriter Jackson C Frank - this is acoustic music with an arresting, electric feel.

Debut album 'Oh No. The Drift Of The World' is out now, and features two 18 minute suites with ambient, instrumental passages placed between each track. It's a beautiful document: stark in places, but with a redemptive light shining like a halo above the material.

Intrigued, Clash asked Jackamo Brown to enter Their Library.

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What is your favourite book and why?
I've never been able to answer that definitively, today I'll cheat a little and say "The Complete Novels of Flann O'Brien" (it is a single volume so counts as one book). "At Swim-Two-Birds" in particular. Endlessly inventive, without being showy, funny, profound and I am not sure any one single author has expanded my vocabulary more.

What other authors do you like?
I read a very wide range of writers - poets, authors and Philosophers. Favourites would be Friedrich Nietzsche, Emil Cioran, Tove Jansson, Emmanuel Bove, William Bronk.

What draws you to certain books?
I'm always looking for something I haven't seen before or a perspective I am yet to inhabit. Entertainment is very much secondary but inevitable when I find what I am looking for.

Have you ever discovered a real lost classic? What is it and why?
Not sure about lost but I recently read Simon Jenner's 'Pessoa' a selection of poems from a larger project where Jenner seeks to inhabit the various heteronyms/alter-egos of Pessoa. It is brilliant but the full collection is yet to see the light of day. Other than that I would also say Leonid Aronzon, another poet, but one that seems largely forgotten. I discovered a collection of his work recently and he instantly became a favourite that I know will stay with me.

Do your literary influences have a direct impact on your songwriting?
Not as such I don't think, but having said that the title of my album is lifted from a poem by William Bronk and the final, unlisted, track references (or attempts to) the Russian writer Daniil Kharms and a particular trait displayed in some of his more famous, very short, stories.

What are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am entirely in the thrall of Kirsty Gunn's 'Big Music'. For once the hype surrounding a new release is entirely justified. Sounds almost ridiculous but from the frontispiece on I was pretty much convinced I was reading a genuine modern classic.

What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
I've always read a lot but that question has stumped me somewhat, I can remember a whole host of books I read as a child but not the first...or even one that I can say had a huge impact or sparked my love of literature...I'm finding that kind of odd actually.

Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager? 
Yes, very good use and I still do constantly, I think our library service is very undervalued on the whole and it will be a genuine and profound loss if there continues to be cuts and closures (you may guess that I work in a Library).

Have you ever found a book that you simply couldn’t finish?
Not as such. I seem to have good instincts and really cant remember the last time I picked something I did not enjoy/take something from. Niether have I ever found one that I could not bring myself to finish as I loved it too much or something, I'm not like that (but I've heard of it happen). There is a book i hate to finish though - "The Diary of A.O.Barnabooth" by Valery Larbaud - a book I love immeasurably and Barnabooth himself is a hero of mine but he throws away everything I love about him in the final moments, heartbreaking haha.

Do you read book reviews?
Yes, I do not think I am overly swayed by them, I have read books despite bad reviews, but there is so much out there to try and devour that reviews can be helpful in aiding selections to add to my book-queue.

Would you ever re-read the same book?
Yes, I have done and do from time to time. More so with Philosophy - every book by Nietzsche is pretty much inexhaustible.

Have you ever identified with a character in a book? Which one and why?
So many in different ways, rarely entirely but in small ways... not often in flattering ways. Most recently (and almost largely for the sake of typing the title) I'm going to say Tyl Ulenspiegel from 'The Legend of the Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel in the Land of Flanders and Elsewhere'. 

Do you read one book at a time or more than one?
Almost always just one at a time, I was dipping in to a collection of poems by Alejandra Pizarnik whilst reading my current read as I had left it unread so long and was starting to feel guilty but "The Big Music" has taken my full attention in the end.

Is there an author / poet you would like to collaborate with?
I kind of am working on something with a couple of poets/writers I love at the moment but that is being kept under my hat at the moment. If I played the bagpipes I would be giving Kirsty Gunn a call! 

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'Oh No. The Drift Of The World' is out now.

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