Album Review: The Mystery of Heaven by Jim Jarmusch
Very Good, Based on 4 Critics
Filter - 84 Based on rating 84%%
Jim Jarmusch’s cult-acclaimed film work, heavily drenched with atmosphere and carefully crafting a milieu in the stead of a traditional plot, always retains a prevalent musician’s sensibility. Unsurprisingly, his musical collaboration with Dutch lute player and minimalist composer Jozef Van Wissem is as cerebral and dramatic as you’d expect. Loaded with dissonance and drones, the entrancing “Flowing Light of the Godhead,” in particular, exemplifies Jarmusch’s ability to create textured guitarlines billowing with white noise.
The Mystery of Heaven is the second collaborative album between lute revivalist and innovator Jozef Van Wissem and guitarist Jim Jarmusch to appear in 2012. The first, Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity, appeared on Important in the spring. It showcased a seemingly natural intimacy and near instinctive rapport between the pair. This date on Sacred Bones is very much a continuation of the dialogue begun on the earlier album, but also stands on its own with a few key differences.
Jim Jarmusch's films often give life's bit-part players a central role. There's Eddie from Stranger Than Paradise, played by former Sonic Youth drummer Richard Edson, whose weatherworn existence revolved around placing bets at the dog track. Ghost Dog deposited an ice cream salesman played by Isaach De Bankolé as the best friend of the titular character.
Music consistently amplifies mystery and drama in the films of screenwriter/director Jim Jarmusch, perhaps most notably through Neil Young’s epic soundtrack to the impressionistic Western film Dead Man. Jarmusch carries that aura over to his music, particularly in collaboration with lutist Jozef Van Wissem. The Mystery of Heaven, the duo’s second disc of the year, is full of layered string work reminiscent of Young’s sprawling electric guitar dust storms, though colder, leaning further into the past than Young’s old west.