Tag Archive for 'Beirut'

Take Me Away

One of the most satisfying (or least, depending on who and when you ask) aspect of listening to an artist is discovering how that artist sounds live in concert. The instrumentation, the lighting, the changes in the songs all brought out for live performances can usually significantly change the experience. But concert tickets are expensive, bands tour, but usually in limited locations and venues (or for folks living in places like Idaho, maybe never and nowhere), and even in an amphitheater, there’s a certain feeling of disconnect from the band. In conjunction with this is the fact that it usually takes some sort of “unplugged” event to get an artist who would normally not be, to go acoustic. Mathieu Saura, a 27 year old from Paris who goes by the name Vincent Moon, has found the solution.

Fueled by passion for music and cinema, Saura launched Take-Away shows in 2006. A collection of now over 80 music videos, created by musicians, featuring them playing a song in a stripped down, improvised version as they walk through public places and streets, the Takeaway shows are now experiencing a wealth of attention from the media, including CNN. Saura has managed to mix the music video form with the internationalist appeal of music to bring artists from all over the world and all different musical styles together. These impromptu videos, taken usually around the band’s hometown or in the streets of Paris, offer a very real and low-tech look at a variety of artists, and provide a very different backdrop for the songs usually associated with CDs and radio airplay.

Furthermore, Saura doesn’t feel the need to upgrade to a high-tech feel because of the equipment initially available on the launch of the venture, and his desire to keep the product consistent and authentic. The variety of artists is astounding, featuring Arcade Fire, my long time favorite Elysian Fields, and previous Evolving Music blog subjects Beirut (“Beirut. The City. The Game. The Band.” 10/8/07), Vampire Weekend (“When Vampire Strikes,” 2/8/08) and, so we’re told through the grapevine, soon to be included is Crystal Springs Uplands alum Scott Reitherman and Throw Me the Statue (“Throw Me That Home Coming,” 11/8/07) in honor of their re-released Moonbeams album from Secretly Canadian

Whether you’re looking for some new music, or just a new way to look at music you know, the Take-away shows offer you a chance to see both artists you love and artists you’ve never heard of in new acoustic and public ways. The personal and intimate feeling these videos elicit, combined with the diversity and travelogue aspect of the settings creates a musical experience with the power to transport the listener to places further than the radio singles ever could. And all of it, from the blogs, to the emerging artists, to the new interpretations and portrayals of music, falls perfectly into the growing universe that is MixMatchMusic.

Beirut. The City. The Game. The Band.

Beirut (Arabic: بيروت, transliteration: Bayrūt) is the capital, largest city, and chief seaport of Lebanon.

Beirut (aka Beer Pong) is a highly competitive drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in one of several cups of beer on the other end. Much time and effort is of course dedicated to understanding the nuances and variations in rules of this beloved frat boy past-time, as seen in the Beirut-Guide, or on the Beer Pong Map (Beer Pong vs. Beirut – What is the game called?) Not to mention classic dramatic films like Beer Fest…

Beirut, it turns out, is also a pretty sweet new band. Check out their MySpace and have a listen. Recommended by a friend whose musical opinion I dare not take lightly, Beirut quickly secured special place in my heart after I heard the first few notes.

This review hits the nail on the head:

“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 largely the work of one 19-year old Albuquerque native, Zach Condon…like a drunken 12-member ensemble that has fallen in love with The Magnetic Fields, Talking Heads and Neutral Milk Hotel”.

At times very cobblestone-streets-of-Paris-à-la-Amélie with hauntingly beautiful melodies and sad accordian, Zach’s wistful vocals bring tears to your eyes. And yet, you can’t help but tap your foot to that dirty gypsy beat.

For more on the rise of this unassuming star, check out Rachel Syme’s review: “How a 20-year-old blogosphere star is dealing with massive hype, brutal flops, and a suddenly awkward name