March of the Zapotec/Holland

March of the Zapotec/Holland
Composer: Beirut/Realpeople
Conductor: Beirut/Realpeople
Label: Pompeii
Release Date: 2009-02-18
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

The cover of Zach Condon’s latest release — listing two album titles, crediting two pseudonyms, and referencing three geographic regions — suggests schizophrenic map jumping. This set of conjoined EPs, one a collaboration with a 19-piece brass band from Oaxaca and the other a solo synth-and-laptop composition, is surprisingly fluid, though. Zapotec opener “El Zocalo” begins a marching outburst mid-note before quickly fading like a tape-recorded parade. After that half minute, Condon stepped in front of the mic for “La Llorona,” but he never really appears to be conducting. The drag-ass-polka pace is occasionally quickened by brassy blurts and plucked guitar, but the word that most often comes to mind is “meandering.” Fans shouldn’t be surprised.

More interesting is Holland, which finds the typically rustic Condon experimenting with blippy keyboard loops. Despite his lovelorn warble, “My Night With the Prostitute From Marseille” pounces on an ’80s groove with the glee of an Amish kid on Rumspringa, and closing instrumental “No Dice” proves he can follow the standard melodic song structure he usually disregards.

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