Friday, November 17, 2006

'Gulag Orkestar' by Beirut

17 November 2006

I am grateful to reviews of the CD 'Gulag Orkestar' by Beirut that caught my attention in both the Observer and the Guardian. Beirut is 20-year-old Zach Condon from Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 'Gulag Orkestar' he has taken the raucous but controlled mayhem of the Balkan brass sound (a particular favourite of mine), added an odd assortment of instruments including ukulele, accordion and primitive Casio keyboard, and created a great album of pop songs. There are traces of the quirky vocals of David Byrne and the swirling repetitive melodies of The Blue Nile - with the omnipresent Balkan mixture of upbeat dance music tinged with melancholic foreboding. But the sum of these parts is like nothing you've heard before. Wonderful.

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