Jozef Van Wissem - Nihil Obstat [Important Records - 2013]Nihil Obstat (Nothing Hinders) sees this Dutch lutenist returning with another six tracks of entrancing, ornate, and atmospheric lute music- which mangers to sound both timeless, yet still modern in it's use of melody & structure.
The albums six tracks feature Van Wissem purely playing an all-black 14 string baroque lute- which at times is layered up, and at others is played more starkly & striped.
Though the albums cover, which features a near blacked–out picture of Van Wissem on the altar of Our Lady Of Lebanon Church( in Brooklyn New York), may suggest this is going to be purely a dark & gloomy affair. The mood here is fairly varied from the bright, rich & warming layered melodic picking of “Where You Lied And What You Lived For”. Onto doomed, troubled & slightly wonky emotionality of “Nothing Stands Between”. Through to the almost jaunting & spinning folk like melody of “whatever she lacks she turns to with diligence”.
Length wise the tracks fall between just under the two minute mark, to just shy of the eleven minute mark. Meaning you get a nicely balance between shorter & moody pieces, and more longer epic tracks that you can get lost in.
For the most part this is another consistent release from Van Wissem, though I did feel one or two tracks here rather lacked some memorability compared with some of the tracks off his early albums like 2010’s Ex Patris or 2011’s The Joy That Never Ends.Roger Batty