Nathan Salsburg - Landwerk No. 3 Music Album Reviews

Nathan Salsburg - Landwerk No. 3 Music Album Reviews
On the third album in his series based on loops of early 20th-century, mostly Yiddish records, the guitarist and archivist incorporates more instrumentation and more space.

In the early 20th century, labels like Columbia and Victor courted the millions of European immigrants who had recently arrived on American shores, including many Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jews. Seeking new markets for both records and record players, these labels made hundreds of recordings of cantors, klezmer bands, and denizens of New York’s Yiddish Theater District. A century later, many of these records can be found in legendary musicologist Alan Lomax’s archive, curated by the Kentucky-based guitarist Nathan Salsburg. Landwerk No. 3 is the third in Salsburg’s series of haunting, dirgelike, glacially paced albums on which he plays along with loops of Yiddish records. It’s a hauntological project with a specifically Jewish-American angle, allowing Salsburg to open a dialogue with a bygone fountain of Yiddishkeit.

All of the samples on Landwerk No. 3 are sourced from Jewish artists who performed and recorded in New York City in the first half of the 20th century. Yet listeners coming in without any context would be forgiven for placing the action a few thousand miles west in Monument Valley or the Mojave Desert. Salsburg’s guitar, which he used to explore American folk and blues forms on earlier albums, is weighted with the same reverb and sadness that country musicians, Spaghetti Western soundtrack maestros, and latter-day Americana abstractionists like North Americans and SUSS have used to suggest the sun-baked sprawl of the American West. Salsburg made a point not to use blues records for the project, but the sounds he makes and the scales he plays on his guitar nonetheless nudge Landwerk No. 3 toward the genre.

Landwerk No. 3 incorporates more instrumentation than previous installments while also letting the samples breathe more. Salsburg achieves this balance with runtimes that flirt with or surpass the 10-minute mark. With six tracks in over an hour, Landwerk No. 3 is nearly as long as both of its predecessors combined, and much of the extra time is spent simply letting the vinyl crackle and the samples loop. On “IX,” a sample of cantor Meyer Kanewsky amounts to little more than a faint, ghostly swell, and at first it sounds almost like Salsburg simply duetting with static. 18-minute closer “XIV” keeps his guitar on the bench for much of its runtime, opening with a faint percussive sample from Yiddish theater pioneer Abe Ellstein’s “Mazel Tov” and a doleful chord progression played on an organ. “XII” is based on a spooky piano sample from Jacob Silbert, another star of New York’s Yiddish theater, and Salsburg correctly trusts that the sample is interesting enough to benefit only from the occasional guitar filigree.

In addition to Jewish music and Salsburg’s mainline in American roots music, Landwerk No. 3 is also inspired by Leyland Kirby’s The Caretaker project, in which the decay of vinyl records stands in for the decline of human cognitive functions. In order to make music that sounded beamed in from the distant past, Kirby and contemporaries such as Christian Marclay, Janek Schaefer, and the late Philip Jeck obscured the borders between what was being sampled and what was being overdubbed. On Landwerk No. 3, those distinctions are much more explicit, with the pristine polish of the guitars and pianos emphasizing the temporal distance from the muddy vinyl loops. Because of this contrast, the process is inextricable from the music, and Landwerk No. 3 never quite transcends the image of a man playing along to his records. The best experimental turntablism can make the listener feel as if a ghost has entered the room. Listening to Landwerk is like eavesdropping on somebody else’s séance, but luckily, these spirits have a lot to tell us.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Nathan Salsburg - Landwerk No. 3 Music Album Reviews Nathan Salsburg - Landwerk No. 3 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on January 17, 2023 Rating: 5


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