Live preview: Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch
A filmmaking visionary proves his musical mettle in a duo with an anachronistic lute master.
Fri Jan 27 2012
Photograph: Sara Driver
Any Jim Jarmusch buff could tell you that the man has great taste in music. Take the original scores for Stranger than Paradise and Dead Man, by John Lurie and Neil Young, respectively—stand-alone masterpieces that mesh beautifully with the director's stark black-and-white palette—or the killer lineup (Stooges, Sleep, Raekwon) he put together for the 2010 ATP New York fest. Curating isn't the same as performing, though, and even a disciple hip to Jarmusch's stint as keyboardist for early-'80s NYC art punks the Del-Byzanteens might second-guess his current instrumental abilities.
So what a happy surprise it is that Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity (Important), a new record that pairs Jarmusch's guitar with Jozef Van Wissem's lute, is one of the young year's most engaging listens: an album that dispels within seconds any sense of a filmmaker turned dilettante musician. Van Wissem, a Dutchman who has spent the past decade or so establishing himself locally as a scene of one, shares with Jarmusch a love of surreal anachronism—in his case a penchant for repurposing 16th- and 17th-century lute styles to his own experimental ends.
While that may sound esoteric, there's nothing overtly difficult about the new disc; Van Wissem plucks out stately, cyclical themes, which Jarmusch wreathes in some of the more tastefully harnessed feedback this writer has ever heard. Jarmusch might not have played on the Dead Man soundtrack, but Concerning the Entrance makes it clear that he was taking copious mental notes.
Follow Hank Shteamer on Twitter: @DarkForcesSwing