Required Listenings: “March of the Zapotec”

(Ed. Note: So much for a Monday-Wednesday-Thursday-Friday schedule; I had work to do on Monday and forgot to write this post!)

Combining brass-based folk with electronica is, in my view, no small feat. Most of the time, the tempos – let alone the style of instrumentation – is totally different. Yet Zach Condon of Beirut (whose new album, The Rip Tide, I reviewed earlier last month) was able to do that on his 2009 double EP, March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland. Teaming up with the Jimenez Band, a 19-piece brass orchestra from just outside of Oaxaca, for the first half of the album, he not only immersed himself in “New Recordings from the State of Oaxaca,” but expanded upon them in new and exciting ways.

March of the Zapotec begins, however, in an atmospheric way, with “El Zócalo”…

It continues forward with “My Wife,” which is paired on the Holland disc with “My Wife, Lost in the Wild”:

My favorite track on the EP, though, is on the Holland side – “The Concubine.” It’s got a pretty great looping beat, and is really enjoyable to whistle, going from brass and glockenspiel to an electronic melody – much like the title track on The Rip Tide.

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