Search The Line of Best Fit
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Beirut returns meditative and rapturous on Hadsel


Release date: 10 November 2023
Beirut Hadsel cover
10 November 2023, 09:00 Written by Sophia McDonald

There is something deeply familiar about Beirut.

As a musician who has been active for close to two decades, building a sound near unique in how it rises and falls, tapping into a feeling of simultaneous melancholia and euphoria, Zac Condon is an old friend for many.

Hadsel comes across as a reunification of him with his listeners after a four-year break and period of reflection. Technically, his latest release was Artifacts, tracks gathered from past EPs which had gathered dust on old drives. A period of solace was needed to bring the new material to light. Secluded on the titular north Norwegian island, Condon buried himself away, emerging with a truly beautiful record.

Condon lays out big brass and gentle electronic beats on a platter, an aperitif to the other parts of this soulful record. Wilding harmonies and grandiose organ paired with his trusty horn and rediscovered baritone ukulele, baroque pop melds with synths and driven percussion. Reminiscent of Paul Simon in his experimentation, the wooden instruments on "Arctic Forest" and "Island Life" have a Graceland flare to them. "January 18th" flies away on a space-age tangent but is grounded with trumpet and steady synth melody.

What began as a passion project of seclusion was helped along by community. Collaborating with the locals meant Condon had access to the church’s local organ (thanks to his neighbour Oddvar). The main character of the record, the rich, deep organ tones paint the twilight entrapped landscape in front of your eyes. Opener "Hadsel" is truly colourful as you can feel the history pulsating through the organ. Layered vocals and soothing bugle dance with each other like the greens and blues of the Northern Lights.

Meditative and rapturous, Condon has crafted a hymnbook of his own with Hadsel. Buried in a trance-like state whilst creating the record, Condon has achieved a feat of wondrous musical clarity. Emerging from the Norwegian shadows, the gentle genius has again struck with his best work to date.

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