Atmospheric collaboration of medieval and modern underground on Only Lovers Left Alive
Tom Hiddleston et Tilda Swinton by Sandro Kopp
For his post-modern tale of vampires trying to find purpose in their immortal lives, Jim Jarmusch employs his own group, SQÜRL, to create the score that perfectly reflects the existential pining of dead lovers Adam and Eve in a romantic atmosphere of the bohemian underground.
SQÜRL is the new name for Jarmusch's trio Bad Rabbit, which was formed in 2009 when Jarmusch and Carter Logan recruited musician Shane Stoneback. For the Only Lovers Left Alive score, SQÜRL collaborated with Dutch lute player Jozef van Wissem, earning the movie a Cannes Award for best soundtrack.
Van Wissem explained:
"I know the way <Jarmusch> makes his films is kind of like a musician. He has music in his head when he’s writing a script so it’s more informed by a tonal thing than it is by anything else (...) Jim’s film is anti-contemporary-society. And the lute goes against all technology and against all computers and against all the shit you don’t need".
Here is the most classic Renaissance melody performed with a lute and electric guitar:
Jozef is a post-minimalist composer who studies tablatures written for lute in the Renaissance era. He is also a prolific recording artist who has released a number of solo albums, having collaborated with artists of the likes of James Blackshaw, Gary Lucas, Jim Jarmusch, and Tetuzi Akiyama.
Here is another tune by Jarmusch and Van Wissem from the album Etimasia on SoundCloud.