Beirut Shares “So Slowly” From Upcoming Album “Artifacts”
Double-LPs Worth of Music Tracing The Evolution of Beirut out 28th January via Pompeii Records
Zach Condon, the mastermind behind Beirut, recently announced the release of Artifacts, a double-LP’s worth of music that traces the evolution of Beirut from a 14-year old Condon’s first attempts at bringing the music he heard in his mind to life, to the fully formed Beirut we know today. Artifacts will be released digitally on 28th January via Condon’s Pompeii Records with the physical release following on 4th March.
He has continued to share some of his previously unreleased tracks with “So Slowly”, a gorgeous and uplifting piano-driven song that highlights Condon’s ingenuity in unearthing unique musical instruments such as the conch in this case.
A melodic celebrated orchestration, rich with meaningful lyrics and elevated textures. Once again, the track builds and develops into this lasting, immersive world that you long to stay within. Beirut allows this comforting warmth to shine amongst the tonality that is on offer throughout.
Says Condon: “I had a few years where all I wanted to play was the Wurlitzer for some reason. I actually first wrote this song on a white baby grand piano that was surprisingly cheap. Apparently white pianos lost their popularity as a status symbol in the thick carpeted living rooms of the 70s. I was particularly proud of the conch shell ‘brass section’ I arranged behind the first vocal parts, using a self-made horn from a huge conch shell my parents had picked up in Key West when they were still young and wild, before me and my brothers were born.”
Artifacts began humbly as a means of compiling a few early Beirut EPs for a proper physical release. However, as Condon explains in the album’s excellent liner notes reconnecting with old recordings through fresh ears turned a simple re-issue project into something much more expansive. “When the decision came to re-release this collection, I found myself digging through hard drives looking for something extra to add to the compilation. What started as a few extra unreleased tracks from my formative recording years quickly grew into an entire extra records-worth of music from my past, and a larger project of remixing and remastering everything I found for good measure.” See the full tracklisting below.
Beirut’s Zach Condon discovered Balkan brass music whilst travelling Europe in his youth, it became a sound he embraced when making his accomplished debut album, Gulag Orkestar, a record that belied his years and quickly put him on the map. Marking a fervently creative period for Zach, both an EP, Lon Gisland, and celebrated second album, The Flying Club Cup, followed just a year later. His double EP, March of the Zapotec and Real People Holland (one recorded with a 19-piece Mexican group, the other six electronic tracks made under the pseudonym Realpeople), offered a slight departure in sound before third full-length, Rip Tide, came five years after his debut and was noted by critics for showing a new maturity in his songcraft. Zach worked with producer Gabe Wax for both his fourth album, No No No, and his 2019 release, Gallipoli, which is named after the town in Puglia, Italy near where the record was made and “a distillation of the best of the Beirut sound and by far their best record yet” (The Line of Best Fit).
He continues, “After I dropped out of high school, I began work at a local frame shop building antique gilded frames for all the galleries in town. And when I found out how the shells were used as early brass instruments, I took it to the frame shop to consider how to make it playable. In a moment of inspiration I proceeded to belt sand off the end of the shell, then drilled out the rough shape of a trumpet mouthpiece into the spiralled opening. It worked out better than I had imagined. I had used the shell for the opening piece of ‘The Flying Club Cup’ already, but decided to take it to the next level on this song, letting out every sound I could conceive of it making and stacking it up to resemble rough harmonies. I’d like to think this may be the first song to contain melodies done on both a prepared piano and a conch shell. I never knew where to place this song until now.
SIDE A – Lon Gisland, Transatlantique, O Leãozinho
01 – Elephant Gun
02 – My Family’s Role In The World Revolution
03 – Scenic World
04 – The Long Island Sound
05 – Carousels
06 – Transatantique
07 – O Leãozinho
SIDE B – The Misfits
08 – Autumn Tall Tales
09 – Fyodor Dormant
10 – Poisoning Claude
11 – Bercy
12 – Your Sails
13 – Irrlichter
SIDE C – New Directions and Early Works
14 – Sicily
15 – Now I’m Gone
16 – Napoleon On The Bellerophon
17 – Interior of a Dutch House
18 – Fountains and Tramways
19 – Hot Air Balloon
SIDE D – The B-Sides
20 – Fisher Island Sound
21 – So Slowly
22 – Die Treue zum Ursprung
23 – The Crossing
24 – Zagora
25 – Le Phare Du Cap Bon
26 – Babylon