Jozef Van Wissem

Simulacrum: Mirror Images For Solo Lute And Electronics

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On his third outing, Jozef Van Wissem, with his ten-course Renaissance lute (aka retrograde lute), employs not only his notion of using palindromes and backwards reading of music for the instrument, but also brings electronics and field recordings into the discussion. Van Wissem applies mirror images in compositions for solo lute. He inserts a microphone into the body of his lute, records the sounds inside (known as "wolftones"), and then electronically alters them by sampling, cutting, and pasting them to the acoustic music. The purpose? According to his liner notes, he is interested in the different representative perceptions of reality this creates and tries to give aural form to the title of this album. The "simulacrum" is, according to eggheaded postmodern theorists Gilles Deleuze (who committed suicide), Felix Guatarri, and, of course, our old pal Johnny Baudrillard (whose perceptions of America are hilarious in their pretension and ignorance), the place where the boundary between perception and reality -- which is always subjective anyway so there is no "real" reality according to people who think such things; let them ask the Dalai Lama for a much more creative view -- implodes. How artsy, boring, and utterly misanthropic. (After all, the guy wears all black and looks like he wants to be in a gothic death metal band.) That said, Van Wissem can play the lute, and his medieval lute music is wonderful to listen to, as are his juxtapositions of electronic field recordings and such in the body of his performances. Forget the theory, which is all text and no sex anyway; the music itself is compelling, and beautiful in its mystery.

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