Beirut - Gulag Orkestar Vinyl Record

Beirut - Gulag Orkestar Vinyl Record

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While it may sound like an entire Balkan gypsy orchestra playing modern songs as mournful ballads and upbeat marches, Beirut's first album, 2006's Gulag Orkestar, is actually the work of 19-year-old Albuquerque native Zach Condon, with an assist from Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw). There are no guitars on this album; instead, horns, violins, cellos, ukuleles, mandolins, glockenspiel, drums, tambourines, congas, organs, pianos, clarinets and accordions all build and break around Condon's deep-voiced crooner vocals, swaying to the Eastern European beats like a drunken 12-member carnival band. In the winter of 2005, Condon headed to Sea Side Studios in Brooklyn's Park Slope where, along with Barnes and A Hawk and a Hacksaw's Heather Trost, he added percussion and violin overdubs to his original compositions. The resulting record sounds like a Neutral Milk Hotel from behind the iron curtain. Gulag Orkestar is a glorious sweep of music, striking in its emotional content and stunning in its scope. 

1. The Gulag Orkestar
2. Prenzlauerberg
3. Brandenburg
4. Postcards From Italy
5. Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)
6. Rhineland (Heartland)
7. Scenic World
8. Bratislava
9. The Bunker
10. The Canals of Our City
11. After the Curtain

 


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