Heresy of the Free Spirit, Jozef Van Wissem | Heaven Gallery | Experimental, Classical | Chicago Reader
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Heresy of the Free Spirit, Jozef Van Wissem 

When: Sat., April 24, 10 p.m. 2010
Price: donation requested
Dutch-born lutenist Jozef Van Wissem pairs a Renaissance-era instrument with modern-day artistic strategies like cut-up composition and electronic processing, which is great for attracting the attention of critics looking for a hook, but what keeps me coming back is the way his stark, beautiful music messes with my sense of time. While his plucking forms tones into shapes as elaborate and palpable as ornamental wrought iron, the lute's quick decay—much faster than a guitar's—makes it seem as though the music is disappearing even as he plays it. And on the recent It Is All That Is Made and Ex Patris (both on Important Records), he overlays palindromic figures that continually advance and retreat, ending where they began and vice versa—rather than sounding like they're from one era or another, they exist outside time, retracing their steps like ghosts doomed to forever walk the same staircase. Though Van Wissem often plays solo, he's collaborated with the likes of industrial-music composer Maurizio Bianchi and guitarists Gary Lucas, Tetuzi Akiyama, and James Blackshaw, and tonight he'll introduce a new group effort: Heresy of the Free Spirit, an improvising trio with multi-instrumentalists Che Chen (True Primes) and Robbie Lee (Howling Hex, Baby Dee, Brightblack Morning Light). The one track I've heard is a sublime mixture of country blues, old-time mountain music, and minimalist drone that features Van Wissem playing his lute with a slide. —Bill Meyer



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