For the past year, Beirut has alternated between the two extremes of the modern musician; touring the world in support of 2007s muchlauded The Flying Club Cup, and nurturing the creative spark by writing a wealth of new material. With no sense of a release in mind, bandleader Zach Condon recorded in any style that struck his fancy. Some early discussions about recording material for a film being shot in Mexico morphed into a new ideawhat about hiring a local Mexican band to help record some songs based on new material
It was a sincere challenge every step of the way. After finding the band through a friends mother, hiring a translator, and catching a plane down to Oaxaca, Zach made his way a half hour out of town to the tiny weaver village of Teotitlan del Valle, where he met the nineteen members of The Jimenez Band. The ensuing weeks of recording, rewriting and relating are documented in a series of short films (to be released online as the release date for March of the Zapotec draws near).
All well and good, but the six songs found on March of the Zapotec are only a part of what this release has become. Before recording as Beirut, Zach went by Realpeople for his bedroom recordings, and he has revived the name for the second record in this collection, Holland. As opposed to March of the Zapotec, Holland collects a series of songs conceived and completed at home. One song, "Venice," appeared on a compilation by The Believer magazine, while "My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille" was on the Big Change charity compilation on iTunes.
Together, this albumlength double release represents the totality of Zach Condons work over the past year. MOTZ is further testament to the inventiveness and intimacy he creates as Beirut, a band which started as one person sounding like twelve, and has developed into a particular style and sound. No matter what inspirations jumpstart one song to the next, underlying it all is the realization that Zach Condon is a singular artist creating his very own vision of the worlds sound. And whether hes being inspired by Balkan folk, French chanteuse, Mexican troubadour, 80s synth pop, or 90s house, the common thread remains Zachs ability to make a simple melody both artistically unique and endlessly familiar.
March of the Zapotec marks the continuing emergence of a musician who has only shown an inkling of where he is headed. And while the road may be long, every stop along the way invites a new experience. Enjoy the latest.