Josef Van Wissem : Dutch Lute player brings the baroque into the 21st century

Josef Van Wissem is a Dutch lute player who brings the instrument into the 21st century. What was once a popular instrument centuries ago has become the territory of the few and in danger of becoming a museum piece. Josef who cuts a dash as a rock n roll figure with long hair, eye liner […] The post Josef Van Wissem : Dutch Lute player brings the baroque into the 21st century appeared first on Louder Than War.

Josef Van Wissem : Dutch Lute player brings the baroque into the 21st century

Josef Van Wissem is a Dutch lute player who brings the instrument into the 21st century. What was once a popular instrument centuries ago has become the territory of the few and in danger of becoming a museum piece. Josef who cuts a dash as a rock n roll figure with long hair, eye liner and a life on the frontline of that culture has turned the instrument into something of the now.

Combining the baroque with the darker corners of groups like Earth he is exploring that vast terrain that lies between soundtrack, spectral goth, dark folk and even the atmospheric end of black metal and his beloved industrial bands like Coil and Throbbing Gristle as well as Nurse With Wound though, and early Cabaret Voltaire and also Wim Mertens or Arvo Pärt with his brilliant musical narratives. In 2013, the minimalist composer and lute player won the Cannes Soundtrack Award for the score of Jarmusch’ Only Lovers Left Alive at the Cannes Film Festival.

He is just one of the many great acts on this year at the Grauzone Festival which will have an online edition for international guests.

 

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Johnny Mafia: Sentimental – album review

Johnny Mafia: Sentimental (Howlin’ Banana) LP | CD | DL Out 21st May 2021   Johnny Mafia return with an album of tightly-wound sonic blasts and infectious hooks on Sentimental. The French quartet Johnny Mafia first hit our radar in 2018 with the release of their second album, Princes de l’Amour. The album was full […] The post Johnny Mafia: Sentimental – album review appeared first on Louder Than War.

Johnny Mafia: Sentimental – album review

Johnny Mafia: Sentimental

(Howlin’ Banana)

LP | CD | DL

Out 21st May 2021

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4.5

 

Johnny Mafia return with an album of tightly-wound sonic blasts and infectious hooks on Sentimental.

The French quartet Johnny Mafia first hit our radar in 2018 with the release of their second album, Princes de l’Amour. The album was full of dense angular post-punk garage and was a sign of the strength of the French scene, alongside bands like Escobar. In their own ways, these bands were harnessing the drive of early grunge, bypassing the muscular form to hit straight into the bloodstream. On their new album, Sentimental, they’ve doubled down and ramped up the adrenalin to produce an album of great pop hooks buried within their sound, rearing their heads throughout to really grab you and throw you into the record.

They kick it off with that riotous intensity on the chaotic Split Tongue, paranoic swirling and pounding rhythms that bring them close to Bristol fuzz-psych merchants Turbowolf, brimming with bombastic energy. Recent single I’m Sentimental drips in early Sonic Youth fervour, more spacious reverb-drenched guitars giving way to forceful choruses that really rage. The video is a perfect representation of their Sugar Kane horrorshow.

Songs such as Phone Booth continue in that mould, but the band know full well the power they hold to shift up a few gears and let their poppier sensibilities take hold. New single Trevor Philippe is the perfect example and one of the highlights of the record. By letting the guitars chime instead of engulf, they allow the bass throughout the verses to dance and dictate the pace. The choruses hit and the band have a song that Rivers Cuomo still wishes he could write. Refused keeps it going, the band bouncing effortlessly between light and dark, marrying heaviness with crystalline sonics, the vocals always sliding over the top.

The band know exactly how and when to let up off the gas to stay on track. They drop back on Problem and let the song sway more without losing any of the vehemence. Love Me Love Me adds a perfect dose of the classic quiet-loud dynamic in pure Pixies style and No More Toes brings a slacker vibe to the melodies, but they refuse to pull any of their punches and ensure that they don’t brake too much. It’s something that they don’t employ fully until they reach the end of the record with On My Knees, signing off with a respite from the pandemonium.

Sentimental is an authentic rollercoaster of a record. It twists and turns, rises and drops you flailing into the next breakneck curve. Johnny Mafia are a band going from strength to strength, a pure joy to see and listen to. If the success they’re enjoying in France can spread, and they really deserve it to, they could hit some dizzying heights.

Sentimental is available now on pre-order from Howlin’ Banana Records.

Follow Johnny Mafia on Facebook, Twitter, and .

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Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.

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