Beirut preps rarities comp ft 17 unreleased songs (stream “Fisher Island Sound”)
Preorder 'Artifacts' on vinyl in the BV shop
Beirut have announced Artifacts, a 26-track rarities compilation which will be out March 4 via Pompeii. The project started as a straight reissue project, collecting early Beirut EPs for a proper physical release, but as Zach Condon started going through his archives, it turned into something more.
“When the decision came to rerelease the long out-of-print Lon Gisland EP with a few added B-sides and singles, I found myself digging through hard drives looking for something extra to add to the compilation," Zach writes. "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."
In addition to the Lon Gisland EP, and b-sides, Artifacts includes 17 tracks have never been released before, and includes some of Condon's earliest recordings from when he was a teenager. You can listen to "Fisher Island Sound" below.
Check out the tracklist, and read Zach's liner notes for the album -- "A brief history leading up to this first EP, as well as my thoughts on the extra three sides of music I‘ve decided to include" -- below.
You can pre-order Artifacts double LP on vinyl in the BV shop.
Beirut - Artifacts tracklist
LON GISLAND EP, TRANSATLANTIQUE, O LEÃOZINHO
My Family's Role in the World Revolution
The Long Island Sound
Autumn Tall Tales
Now I‘m Gone
Napoleon on the Bellerophon
Interior Of A Dutch House
Fountains and Tramways
Hot Air Balloon
Fisher Island Sound
Die Treue zum Ursprung
Le Phare Du Cap Bon
NOTES ON 'ARTIFACTS'
From the age of 11 on I had found myself stricken with terrible insomnia and many lonely hours to kill at night. three years later my older brother moved to New York. he left behind a strict musical education of minimal German electronica, hip hop and mix tapes of Neutral Milk Hotel and other curiosities, as well as an analog 4-track cassette recorder with some rudimentary instructions on how it functioned. I began recording little tunes with a trumpet, a drum machine, a synthesizer and my father’s acoustic guitar. Eventually a piano was moved into the house, and other instruments followed as I opened up to new styles and instrument obsessions. I took to it in the manner of someone completely possessed, having found an inspired alternative to idly passing by the empty hours of sleepless nights. It went on like this, with countless secret albums filled with city names and various musical styles until I was finally convinced to try playing a few concerts, around the age of 17. I would use my computer to play the pre-recorded backing music through the PA systems while I sang and played trumpet, and had my brothers beat djembes and tambourines furiously “over the loud parts”. we managed a concert at the local teen centre, and later, somehow, a warehouse on the edge of town with a few other local acts unknown to me at the time from the local arts college.
It was after one such concert that I met Paul Collins, a student from Pendleton Oregon studying at the College of Santa Fe. he said he was a fan of what he heard and asked if I would ever consider working with some live bass and drums sometime. He mentioned that hearing the somewhat eastern influences of the music made him think of his friend and fellow student Nick Petree (from Taos, New Mexico), who had taken a few Middle Eastern percussion classes and knew his way around a darbuka. I remember wondering if this shaggy-haired stranger and his then-mohawked friend Nick could really play the bass and drums like he claimed they could, or if they were just some guys jamming Sublime tunes on the quad at the College of Santa Fe. I learned quickly that both things were true, and that they were hilarious, talented and fun to be around. Perrin Cloutier was a fellow high school dropout from California I would often see busking with a viola outside of the ice cream store we both worked at on the plaza, who I got to know during our shift changes. We started listening to records and playing ukulele and cello together during our time off. In 2005 I found myself signed up for a show in Albuquerque opening for A Hawk and a Hacksaw. I was in awe of their musicianship, and I think we were both pretty surprised at some of the shared musical influences we had in common. After getting to know each other somewhat, members Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost pulled me under their wing and sent off my demo to a record label, and agreed to join me in fleshing out some of the drum, accordion and violin parts when my album was picked up to be released. Before I set off to New York (where I suppose I had been trying to get to all along) to record the final touches on the album, I hastily assembled Nick, Paul and Perrin for a handful of rehearsals and our first two concerts together in Santa Fe and then Austin Texas, for SXSW in 2006.
Upon arrival in New York and being booked for our first gigs, I realised the live band would need more instrumentation to fill out the sounds as they were recorded by myself on Gulag Orkestar. There was no way to replicate the sound of the sometimes twenty-deep layered trumpets and other chaos on the record without a few extra hands on deck. I was lucky to be introduced to musicians like Jon Natchez, Kristin Ferebee, Jason Poranski and Kelly Pratt in New York, who seemed so willing to try something a little different in those times, and were talented enough to improvise things I would not have been able to even imagine playing. They quickly joined our ranks and the first full iteration of the band was formed. We played our first concerts all together (including Jeremy and Heather from a Hawk and a Hacksaw) in the back of Soundfix Records and the now defunct North 6 venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. To this day I can remember the power of what was playing besides me on stage those nights, a universe away from my pre-recorded laptop backing band and my two somewhat bemused and probably confused brothers slamming borrowed djembes and tambourines at the teen center in Santa Fe.
We got everyone into one room to try out these tunes that I had hastily sketched out in a run-down shared apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn after I had finished the final recordings for Gulag Orkestar. (our living situation was dire, with a filthy couch off the streets, ash trays, empty Polish beer bottles scattered everywhere and sheets hung up on twine and nails to divide our separate rooms, as well as a family of cats and kittens from our back alley being raised by Perrin in the kitchen.) I think I had a near-dissociative experience leading the band through some of these songs in rehearsal for the first time. It was like watching an aircraft made of found objects and scrap metal magically take flight despite all my premonitions of disaster. I shuffled everyone into the studio for the Lon Gisland EP right as the shows started to sell out and before we set out on our first international tour. The music was recorded in only a few days at Seaside Lounge Studios in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The vocals I did in the privacy of my home back in Santa Fe when I returned soon after a concert in Moscow, Russia. Thus began the band Beirut. I’ve gathered this EP from those years in which everything changed for me, along with the early uke and mandolin-heavy b-side Transatlantique from before the Rip Tide sessions, written in the same dilapidated Greenpoint apartment. I wanted to include as well our rendition of O Leãozinho, a lovely tune that had stuck with me for years, originally by a personal musical hero of mine; Caetano Veloso. I then decided to include my favorite unreleased tracks that I had recorded with the various band members and other musicians throughout the years, that had yet to see the light of day. Then I dug deeper, into the oldest recordings I could find, from my early teens up until my first recordings of the songs that would become my first release. I included everything that still moved me and had significance to the development of my sound. I wanted to include more, but I simply ran out of space.