Jim Jarmusch adds a rock edge to smooth lute tunes

Jim Jarmusch adds a rock edge to smooth lute tunes
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Call him Jim Jam-musch.

Famous director and guitarist Jim Jarmusch will join his unlikely partner in musical crime Jozef Van Wissem, a Greenpoint-based avant garde lute player, to celebrate the release of the duo’s brand new album, “Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity,” at Issue Project Room in Downtown on Feb. 3.

Jarmusch, the mad genius behind “Coffee and Cigarettes,” “Dead Man,” and “Broken Flowers,” who in the early 1980s was in a new wave band called the the Del-Byzanteens, is the canny guitarist who plays counterpoint to Van Wissem’s delicate chords, shaping vast tonal landscapes that amble through styles such as ambient acoustic and drone metal to create an experimental soundscape.

“It doesn’t feel like a collaboration, it feels like a band,” said Van Wissem. “We’re friends, so there is something extra going on when you hear the tracks.”

Van Wissem gave Jarmusch a CD of his work after a friend introduced them in 2005. Jarmusch later called and asked for copies of every recording that the Dutch musician had ever made, he said.
“He had this idea for a movie about a vampire who is into lute music,” he said. “So I explained a lot about traditional lute music.”

The pair has played a couple shows around town, and Jarmusch made an appearance on Van Wissem’s 2011 album “The Joy That Never Ends” — but this upcoming show marks the duo’s first as an official band with an album.

Van Wissem said that Jarmusch — who is known as much for his white, light-socket-styled hairdo as he is for his esoteric and haunting films — is not enigmatic or aloof, despite popular belief.

“He’s not a weirdo,” he said. “He’s a really normal guy and he’s really down to earth.”

Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch record release party at Issue Project Room [110 Livingston St. between Boerum Place and Court Street in Downtown (718) 330-0313]. Feb. 3, 7:30 pm.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Jarmusch’s new wave band. The band was called the Del-Byzanteens.