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In Jim Jarmusch's 2015 film Only Lovers Left Alive, Jozef Van Wissem's soundtrack stood up against the likes of Eddie Cochran, Charlie Feathers, and even Bach. Whether in a dark alley in Tangier with a blood-toting Tilda Swinton or a cramped Detroit apartment where Tom Hiddleston composed post-rock funeral dirges, the music filled in the claustrophobic cracks of the film's darkness.

When Shall This Bright Day Begin has the opposite effect, and sees Van Wissem's lute reverberating into a more natural vastness; traversing canyons, mountains, and streams. Even the track titles evoke infinity. With names like 'The Purified Eye of the Soul is Placed in the Circle of the Eternal Sun' and 'To Lose Yourself Forever is Eternal Happiness', Bright Day acts as a blank slate which any number of emotions could be placed upon. With only four chords and effective extensions on 'On The Incomparable Nobility of Human Suffering,' Van Wissem layers a verbose monologue of a man discussing the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The question isn't "What does it remind you of?" as much as it is "What doesn't it?" Van Wissem's home Holland feels eerily present, but the monologue sounds equally compelling as that of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor song. The western and eastern hemispheres are simultaneously present.

Although the production looks outward, the recording of these songs is up close and personal, playing up the physicality of Van Wissem's playing as much as the notes themselves. Each string slide and pluck is heard perfectly across much of the airy phrasing. Van Wissem does with the lute what Colin Stetson has for the baritone sax; unlocking its capacity by creating a playground of different sounds acoustic and overtonal. It's boggling to try and guess whether this is the quality of the lute build, the recording process, or simply the sprawling compositions.

For the most part, talking about one track here is the same as talking about the rest. What stands out is Zola Jesus' "conventional" vocal line on 'Ruins', where the album's busiest playing leaves less room for air than elsewhere. The track remains as ghostly as the rest considering Zola Jesus' actual words are indecipherable, instead resembling more of a chant than a pop vocal. Here and on 'The Ecstasy of the Golden Cross', there's an ambiguity to affect as Van Wissem himself sings "I can't breathe/there's no air," even though the chords stretch out in a vision of oxygen-filled space. A peaceful feeling remains even if his intention was to conjure outer instead of earthly space. Bright Day could be played among stars and birthing galaxies as much as it could across hemispheres.

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