I’ve generally been left a little cold by Zach Condon’s Beirut project. His excursions into Baltic folk music, while often pleasant, feel a little like theatrical exercises without much substance beneath the pretty orchestration. However, I did find myself playing his track ‘Venice’ on loop in 2007, when it was released on The Believer magazine’s compilation Cue the Bugle Turbulent.
Apparently, when he gets tired of appropriating Eastern European tradition he reaches for the samplers, which led to this really quite beautiful track that opens like Boards of Canada at their most somnambulant, before mournful brass and Condon’s velveteen vocal mist descend.
The song has found wider release on Condon’s EP Holland, released under the name Realpeople and bundled with a Beirut EP, March of the Zapotec, which sees him shift his attention to the indigenous funeral music of remote Mexican village Oaxaca (!). They are released on 16th February via his own Pompeii Records. You can preorder the release at Amazon.