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Album Review

Burger, Rob – “Lost Photograph” – [Tzadik]

Thurston Hunger   6/1/2011   A Library, CD

Even more than the array of dreamy and seamless melodies Burger unveils,
it’s the array of instruments on display that are the stars here.
There’s a list of 17 or so in the liner notes, so you know Burger’s
proud of them, but I also thought I heard a santur. I fell in love with
the gritty, fury of the Indian banjo on “Constantinople.” Toy piano shows
up for the kids, like “Arturo, The Aqua Boy” and that “Ringling Kid” both
tracks with a sentimental wistfulness. Even songs that are not trad
re-creations have a friendly familiarity, like “Below Delancey” whic
probably just came out of a foreign film we all hallucinated. Burger’s
comp sense strikes such a great happy-sad balance. Even in the most
chipper moments, the minor inversion is right by your side. Perhaps
lost in the piano smoke of the “Linguist from Latvia”, of chuckling
with the hyperventilating accordion of the “Sleepless Bandit,” check out
the zippy magic carpet riding synth that works in the waves of that
one’s rhythm. “Youkali” floats along a canal with talking drums and
did I hear a castanet? “Storyteller” has that sputtery keyboard
sound that sorta croaks on the lower notes. These instruments must
walk on their legs to Burger’s studio begging to be played. It helps
that the section bopping behind Burger here is Greg Cohen and Kenny
Wollesen. I suspect they enjoyed this as much as you will.

-Thurston Hunger

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