Lutanist Jozef van Wissem and filmaker/guitarist Jim Jarmush release their second album, The Mystery of Heaven, in November on Sacred Bones. Van Wissem performs with Loren Connors and Clint Heidorn joining the celebration in a special duo performance.
Jozef van Wissem builds music with the sonorities of his unusual instrument: a 24-string Baroque lute. Much of the work of van Wissem is based on the application of mirror images to lute composition. The work is idiomatic to lute tablature around 1600. Through study in New York City with Patrick O'Brien, he discovered that beginning in the Middle Ages, one of the variations on the cantus firmus (the given melody) is the backwards performance of the melody. As a result, he used this on his first group of compositions, released as the CD Retrograde. On A Classical Deconstruction (Persephone 002), van Wissem wrote out mirror images of hundreds of classical lute pieces, copying them out from the bottom right to the top left corner. To these inversions he added new themes, accents and rhythms. He then applied the "cut up" technique of writer William S. Burroughs and cut, shifted, mixed and pasted the parts together to create new works. One critic has compared van Wissem's work to that of German painter Georg Baselitz, who painted upside down. More recently his lute compositions consist of trance-inducing layered palindromes.
Loren Connors was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1949. Best known as a composer and improviser, Connors has issued over 50 guitar records on his own imprints (Daggett, St. Joan, Black Label) since the late 1970s and over two dozen on other labels across the globe. He has recorded under the names Guitar Roberts, Loren Mattei, Loren MazzaCane Connors and other variations. Connors' singular adpation of the blues is a distinct personal vision combining the Delta bottleneck sound and the ancestral blues voice (appearing as distortion, baying hounds or multi-tracked guitar), with hauntingly unexpected sounds. Outside of Connors' three decades of solo work, he has collaborated with Suzanne Langille, Jim O'Rourke, Darin Gray, Alan Licht, Christina Carter, Keiji Haino, San Agustin, Jandek and many others, as well as leading the group Haunted House. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Clint Heidorn is a composer and guitarist based in Los Angeles, California. His first album, Atwater, was released on his own Ashes, Ashes Publishing imprint in October of 2011. Deeply personal, his music explores simple melodies, themes of death and futility, and the sounds and impressions of his native Southern California. Atwater will be followed in September 2012 with +33° 58' 41.85", -117° 49' 13.74", a limited edition release about the oak tree near his childhood home, where his ashes will be spread at a date in the future.
Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmush in performance at ISSUE, 2/3/2012