Jozef Van Wissem: It Is Time For You To Return

‘Cool Hand Lute’ himself, the Dutch soundtrack master.

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Perhaps nothing should surprise us in our jaded internet age. And then along comes Jozef Van Wissem.

Dressed like a Catholic priest on smack, he’s part master lutenist, part musical adventurer, and all postmodern wonder. He composed the award-winning soundtrack for indie genius Jim Jarmusch’s vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive. His music is no mere curiosity. From the slow-burning opener If There’s Nothing Left Where Will You Go through to the menace of Where You Will Live I Will Live, the Dutchman creates postmodern classical music that is simultaneously mesmeric, disconcerting and compelling. This album is most impressive on the melancholic Invocation Of The Spirit Spell, featuring Lebanese chanteuse Yasmine Hamdan and Jarmusch himself on guitar, and utter curveball tracks like Confinement. Here Van Wissem lets his lute and voice make strange combinations with Domingo García-Huidobro’s jittery electronic beats and ticks. If you think, like John Cleese in the cheese shop sketch, you’re going to end up shouting, “Shut that bloody lute player up!” then never fear. Van Wissem’s judgement is impeccable and beguiling.