Jim Jarmusch, Jozef Van Wissem and Marissa Nadler soak downtown NYC in beautiful darkness
One of the most stylish and classy modern cabaret venues in New York – Le Poisson Rouge – hosted a very interesting event on Tuesday, featuring singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler, Dutch minimalist composer and lutenist Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch.
You probably know film-maker Jim Jarmusch from his prominent indie flicks Stranger than Paradise, Coffee and Cigarettes and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. But he’s also a musician. Actually, a very cinematic musician with a passion for noisy and dense guitar riffs. Jarmusch was presenting his new album The mystery of heaven in collaboration with Jozef Van Wissem for the New York audience. The record was issued on 13th November via Brooklyn-based label Sacred Bones. However, his involvement in music started long ago. In the early 1980s he was part of the musician line-up in Robin Crutchfield’s Dark Day project and later he became the keyboardist and one of the vocalists for the No Wave band The Del-Byzanteens.
The show started just after 10.30pm by Marissa Nadler – American dream-folk singer with a haunting mezzo-soprano voice, reminding of the mythological sirens tempting the sailors in ancient times. Marissa started her performance with the first song from her debut album Ballads of living and dying – Fifty Five Falls, followed by Your heart is a twisted vine from her new record The Sister. Nadler’s voice sounded even more enchanting live, almost surreal in its perfection, accompanied only by the gentle strings of her acoustic guitar. She performed six more songs, finishing the set with her most acclaimed single In your lair, bear. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call her one of the most important voices of the modern gothic/dark scene. Also a great storyteller with introspective poetic lyrics soaked in sadness and grief, she involved recurring characters like self-professed alter ego Mayflower May and Silvia – a presumable reference to writer Sylvia Plath.
After Nadler’s magical performance, it was time for some baroque noise, as controversial as this term sounds. Jim Jarmusch’s guitar was making a distorted, veiled in darkness sound, pierced by the tenderness of Van Wissem’s lute. The scene lights were perfectly arranged, leaving Jarmusch in the blue part of the stage, while the Dutch lutenist was illuminated in more tender pink. Even though monotone, the duo’s performance was more of an experience than a traditional concert – they were creating music you can bury your thoughts in, beautiful melodies contrasting with scratchy buzz. The compositions weren’t for everyone and a few people started leaving during the performance. Whoever stayed was rewarded with the captivating cover of Hank Williams’ I’m so lonesome I could cry that Jarmusch played and sang alone on stage. After one more track, the two musicians suddenly left the stage, leaving a lingering noise, but a minute after came back to turn it off, followed by the applause of the public.
Photos: Martina Dechevska
Marissa Nadler’s new album The Sister can also be found through Amazon – $7.92 for MP3, $11.99 for audio CD, $14.98 for vinyl.
Watch the official video for The wrecking ball company from Marissa Nadler’s The Sister here
Listen to Etimasia from Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch’s LP The mystery of heaven here