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(Credit: Olga Baczynska)

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Beirut share 'Fyodor Dormant' from upcoming 'Artifacts' compilation

@SamWKemp
Beirut - 'Fyodor Dormant'
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Ahead of the release of their upcoming compilation album Artifacts, Beirut have shared ‘Fyodor Dormant’, perhaps one of the most unusual recordings to emerge from the coffee-stained pages of Zach Condon’s songbook. The band are set to release the double LP, which will feature a selection of unreleased Beirut tracks, early recordings, B-sides and oddments, on January 28th via Pompeii Records.

In a statement about the forthcoming release, Condon wrote: “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.”

‘Fyodor Dormant’ is a strange beast, and that strangeness is revealing. Blending arpeggiated hi-hats and ’90s synth chords with acoustic instruments, this early Beirut recording sees Condon reaching for the sun-dappled sound that came to define the group’s biggest hits (‘Elephant Gun’, ‘Nantes’, ‘Postcards From Italy’) from the creative confines of a digital workstation. Its chimaeric nature makes for a pretty disconcerting listen. Still, it’s fascinating to hear Condon’s style in-utero.

Explaining the origins of Beirut’s earliest recordings, Condon revealed: “I was an often lonely and isolated teenager and rarely if ever found friends as obsessive and similar-minded about music as myself, so starting a band always ended up seeming more or less out of the question. This [‘Fyodor Dormant’] was my first experience being able to arrange for all parts with ease, and starting to craft sounds from simple wave shapes into something with character was an exciting endeavour that I still enjoy. It was on songs like this one that I started adding the acoustic instruments back into the mix, using a piano that was moved into the house that I fell in love with, and my dear companion the trumpet.”

‘Fyodor Dormant’ is an example of Condon’s transition from digital production to a more collaborative and organic process. “It was from about this time at 16 years of age and on that, I slowly began to shed the training wheels of the computer program and wander deeper and deeper into the unknown sonic territory of Farfisa organs, accordions and ukuleles,” he concluded, offering a fascinating insight into the slow development of Beirut’s unique sonic character.

You can check out the full Artifacts tracklist and find the song, below.

Artifacts tracklist:

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