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Gulag Orkestar

BeirutAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Price: $15.38 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2006 $5.99  
Audio CD, 2006 $15.38  
Vinyl, 2006 $16.69  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. The Gulag Orkestar 4:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Prenzlauerberg 3:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Bandenburg 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Postcards From Italy 4:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Mount Wroclai (Idle Days) 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Rhineland (Heartland) 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Scenic World 2:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Bratislava 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Bunker 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. The Canals Of Our City 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. After The Curtain 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

Gulag Orkestar + Flying Club Cup [Vinyl] + The Rip Tide
Price for all three: $49.89

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 9, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ba Da Bing
  • ASIN: B000F5GO0A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,110 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews


...a feat because it is a folky record that is so much fun. -- Said The Gramophone, April 20, 2006

...awe-inspiring, wonderous, almost intangible composition of raw talent, emotion, and complexity, reminding us why we listen to music.. -- I Guess I'm Floating, May 3, 2006

This a genius, who...has created one of the most diverse and creative albums of 2006 thus far. -- Skatterbrain, May 2, 2006

stunning spring-to-summer gypsy-cum-klezmer pop...beautiful and disarming -- Pitchfork, May 4, 2006

Product Description

While it may sound like an entire Balkan gypsy orchestra playing modern songs as mournful ballads and upbeat marches, Beirut s first album, Gulag Orkestar, is actually the work of 19-year-old Albuquerque native Zach Condon, with an assist from Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw). There are no guitars on this album; instead, horns, violins, cellos, ukuleles, mandolins, glockenspiel, drums, tambourines, congas, organs, pianos, clarinets and accordions all build and break around Condon s deep-voiced crooner vocals, swaying to the Eastern European beats like a drunken twelve-member carnival band. Though young, Condon has already recorded several albums of astonishing diversity. He recorded under the name Real People when he was fifteen, crafting an electronic record inspired by his love of the Magnetic Fields. At sixteen, he recorded an entire doo-wop album that sounds a bit like like Frankie and the Teenagers. Although he was a straight-A student, in 2002 Condon dropped out of school to travel Europe, cavorting and partying with the locals wherever he went. During one of these evenings that he was first exposed to Balkan gypsy music, blasting from an upstairs apartment. Condon went to investigate, and stayed up all night with a Serbian artist, going through albums country by country, note for note. Gulag Orkestar is the direct result of what he learned that night. This past winter, Condon headed to Sea Side Studios in Brooklyn s Park Slope where, along with Barnes and A Hawk and a Hacksaw s Heather Trost, he added percussion and violin overdubs to his original compositions. The resulting record sounds like a Neutral Milk Hotel from behind the iron curtain (for those playing along at home, look into the Boban Markovic Orchestra). Gulag Orkestar is a glorious sweep of music, striking in its emotional content and stunning in its scope.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing debut album May 11, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Largely the work of an ambitious youngster named Zach Condon, Gulag Orkestar is an indie rock album filtered through the mind of a teenager who dropped out of high school to travel across Europe and soak in as much culture and music as possible. The result is something that sounds a bit like the Microphones crossed with Neutral Milk Hotel. It might be the only rock album you hear that doesn't contain any guitars, and it conveys an emotional and worldly power of the likes I've not heard in some time.

Largely inspired by Balkan folk music, the album moves through mournful ballads and more upbeat tracks (that sound more like the work of a 10-plus member ensemble) with ease, layering horns, stringed instruments, ukeleles, mandolins, glockenspiel, drum, organs, piano, and other percussion under the soulful vocals of Condon himself, who has a similar range and style as Andrew Bird. The disc opens with the album-titled track of "The Gulag Orkestar," and after some warbling horns and cascading piano, the track turns into a shuffling march that finds Condon soaring over the top of it all with his rich croon.

The album really hits stride with the gorgeous "Bandenburg," which finds deft mandolins playing out over heaving drums and percussion as accordions wheeze and the track builds gracefully with delightful horn sections and layered vocals. "Postcards From Italy" follows, and it may very well be the best track on the disc, moving along with a playful opening section that mixes shuffling mandolin, piano and horns before shifting halfway through to a more delicate (and reflective) section that completely tugs at the heartstrings before bursting into a celebratory ending that's absolutely stunning.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing debut album! April 22, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Finding out about Beirut was one of the best things to happen to me (musically) in 2007. When I first heard their EP "Lon Gisland", I quickly proceeded to dig back in the past works by this fascinating act.

Beirut blends a lo-fi sound not unlike a group of East European gipsies with a folk feel like Sufjan Stevens with leader Zach Condon's voice coming across much like David Byrne. The result is an exquisite and upbeat album that makes your heart pound with excitement making you want to jump, clap and laugh, with "Postcards From Italy" being one of the highlights.

Thinking that this was Beirut's debut album just blows me away. If you like it, by all means pick up "Lon Gisland".
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Play, Orkestar! June 14, 2006
Format:Audio CD
To be honest, when I think of Elephant 6 bands I don't usually think of Balkan folk music. But with the release of Beirut's "Gulag Orkestar," I may have to revise my thinking.

This new band consists of teenage musician Zach Condon, along with people from Neutral Milk Hotel and A Hawk and a Hacksaw, making bittersweet folkpop and danceable marches. Imagine a band of slightly drunk gypsies on parade, and you'll have the general idea of how it sounds.

It opens slow, with a gentle piano and blaring horns. The title track meanders in circles and finally dies away... only to be reborn as a swaying march. Halfway through, Condon joins in with some mournful wails and equally mournful singing. That turns around in "Prenzluerberg," where the singing is just as melancholy, but the music is a cheerier march.

From there on, the trio tries out those styles and everything in between -- rattly folk with tambourines and horns, danceable folkpop, and tinkly klezmer music. Yes, tinkly klezmer. They get downright happy in "Scenic World," a colorful glockenspiel song that is just barely grounded by some quick violins.

After that, "Gulah Orkestar" is pretty upbeat, with a string of swaying marches and upbeat folk acoustics. The album's finale is a bit of a head-scratcher, though. "After the Curtain" is a relatively bare-bones song with Condon singing over applause and a dancing glockenspiel. I don't know how to fit that one in.

Basically this album is what happens when an American teenager drops out and crosses Eastern Europe, soaking up the folk music as he goes.

And it's a good thing Condon's musical talents are being backed by experienced musicians, so we can get a bittersweet, atmospheric taste of whatever he heard there.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautifull May 22, 2007
Format:Audio CD
This is definitely one of the most influential albums i've heard recently and maybe ever. It combines a bit of Balkan sounds, a bit of Tiersen (yes you've definitely heard of him!) and a bit (just a little bit) of indie and maybe post rock - at least, this is what my ears tell me :).

The most interesting thing maybe, is that the whole album is mostly the work of a single person (Zach Condon) whose age is about 20. When i first listened the album i thought that this was composed either from a Balkan band / orchestra or from some mature musicians. Well, i was wrong! Most of the recordings were made by him in his own house! This is his third personal album but the first under the "Beirut" name.

It is difficult to say which tracks are worthing from this album since most of them do! Few exceptions exist of course, but they are the exceptions and not the rule ;)

So, five stars from me and highly suggested to anyone who's looking for something fresh, inspiring and different. Give it a try and you won't be disappointed
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gulag Orkestar
i purchased this cd for my daughter in december for a christmas present and the cd came as described. new and unopened.
Published 5 months ago
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
Gulag Orkestar is solid all the way through--this is not one of those albums where you listen to one or two songs and skip through the rest. Read more
Published 9 months ago by S. Noell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good mellow album
A couple songs pop out, they are influenced by neutral milk and it shows, but in a good way. Overall I've caught myself playing it on repeat, in the background.
Published 12 months ago by AnthonyNeufio
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
If you've never bought any Beirut albums, you might like The Rip Tide better at first. For me this album is just as good but in a different way with a different feel. Read more
Published 14 months ago by JC
5.0 out of 5 stars :)
they have a nice sound. the case was cracked a little bit, but was in good condition. love the 2nd track. thanks.
Published 16 months ago by E
5.0 out of 5 stars great album
as all the other beirut ones!
I bought it since I love 'The Flying Club Cup'. If you liked it, you shouldn't be disappointed by this one, great mood and music.
Published 19 months ago by Luc Renambot
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album
Love lots of the songs. Beirut is a band that takes you somewhere far away. That's what I love about those guys.
Published 19 months ago by Erica Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice job
Nice job but I can't say that it's one of the best from their albums although as a decent fun of them I have already bought it!
Published 20 months ago by Lampros
5.0 out of 5 stars The album is great - these reviews are hilarious
Listen to the album.
Then read all of the reviews here rated 3 stars or less.
Snobbery is most funny when it's obvious to everyone but the perpetrators.
Published on January 4, 2012 by Fortunate Son
5.0 out of 5 stars Gulag
I received the product I ordered quickly and in the condition that was expected. I will make future purchases from this seller.
Published on January 3, 2012 by Persiflage
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