6 Mar

Your sub-conscience can be a bitch… especially when using magic. As avid of a spell caster as I am, I still once in a while try to bite more [magic cookie] than I can chew. The result is my thoughts turning against me, forcing me to simultaneously fend them off while remaining socially acceptable. This is usually attempted via plenty of laughter and some very confusing dialogue most likely involving meta-physics.

Nothing like a friendly music exploring session turning into an exercise in masking your insanity to remind you why you always tell yourself this is the last time. Magic is a hell of a drug. Besides, sometimes thinking that everyone living in your house is just a figment of your imagination is definitely healthy for the soul… even if it has you shaking in half fear. It’s all in a good night’s fun.

Basically, Matt and I decided to have a music listening and sharing session, and I decided to eat a [magic cookie] or x3. Stuff happened, whether really, or in my mind… who knows?

But magic serves its purposes, which is how I, with Matt as my witness, bring to you a brand new term which will rock the very foundations of the internet.

Get ready.

There were hardcore breakdowns, which turn any song super heavy.

Then I invented chill breakdowns, which turn any song super relaxing.

And now I bring you…

A Folk Breakdown, which turns any song… super… ethnic?

I have but one example.

Pay no attention to the song, it’s really good at best, and wait till about 2:10 for the folk breakdown. It’s the sound of some random couple fighting in some foreign language in what could be a short clip from a foreign film set somewhere in some south-eastern European village. And it makes so much sense.

You listen to folk music because you want to connect with your roots and get a feeling for what your ancestors listened to, right? That’s what the name implies anyway because actually, most folk music is actually pretty modern and simply uses old instruments to get that folk sound. But regardless, you are connecting with the sound and you maybe picture in your head some rural villages and farm people.

And now, when this folk breakdown hits you are transported instantly into a scenario taking place in this imaginary rural village. It’s like watching a foreign movie without having to struggle to understand what’s going on because the music does all the speaking. I see it being used a lot more in the future…

And now, let’s backtrack to the actual music, because Beirut is a pretty good band. It started out as a solo project by a New Mexican sporting a mesmerizingly epic voice, a man by the name of Zach Condon. The band is characterized as combining elements of eastern European and Balkan folk sounds with that of mainstream western pop to create this really good music. The mixture of this with the man’s singing and the instruments creates this music that almost sounds unreal. The instruments used range from ukuleles to tubas and from violins to accordions. In your mind you want to picture a band of gypsies or like farmers from an unspecified hovel in Yugoslavia, but in reality it’s just a band of American hipsters being ironic.

But who cares? I cannot stress how awesome this man’s voice is. It is perfect for that Eastern European/ Balkan vibe. And me being ethnically Polish, it is something which I completely dig, down to my very core and roots. Previous to seeing a video of the singer, I always pictured him as some drunken old man, with an amazing voice for his age, wearing a flat cap and a grey suit, singing about some great revolution he partook in, somewhere in Poland.  And that’s the beauty of folk music. It’s specific to ethnic region. You can have folk music for every region on the planet. I’m starting Long Island Folk.

And as an added bonus – folk music is also educational! Why pay attention in history class when folk music tells you everything you’d need to know about it plus more. History class can’t convey the feeling of the olden days dammit!

Here is another song before I wrap this up.

The 3/4 polka intro mixed with the awe-inspiring vocals and the trumpets just get me every time. Like some weird but friendly dream unfolding around you. And when the bass drops I am transported to some rebel Polish army preparing to orchestrate a coup to take back the country sometime during the late 19th century. Truly a beautiful sound if you ask me. And I was also convinced that Mount Wroclai was an actual place in Poland that I’ve been to, until I tried to look it up just now. It seems that I imagined it. Folk music is heavy stuff I guess.


P.S. Before you ask about my sanity, please first have Matt explain what the hell 60’s psychedelic is all about, because that had me straight out terrified. My thoughts the other night were something like “Are these bands f*cking with me? Were people really that happy during the 60’s? How many drugs were involved in the making of this? And why does all of this sound like it’s not real?” Sorry Matt if I seemed confused towards the end, I was just making sure you weren’t spewing out pre-determined responses. Gotta make reality checks somehow…


2 Responses to “Beirut”

  1. Matt Coleman March 7, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    I think it is impossible to fully explain 60’s psychedelic music. In many ways it was an animal marked by unpredictable tendencies. The evolution of psychedelic music took on so many different forms (psych rock, folk, garage, soul, blues) and the list goes on and on.

    Some of it, i.e. Pink Floyd’s early stuff, had elements of happy beats placed under a depressing lyric and this just played to a delicate mix between psych pop and rock. I know, it gets confusing.

    Our musical exploration was awesome because you got a taste of the 60’s psychedelic experience which drove you wild to the point where you were unsure if the sounds were real. That is the musics incredible effect. That is why 60s psychedelia is still revered today.

    I may take on your challenge though. I think the only way to describe 60’s psychedelic music is by reviewing bands in a separate manner. I can do explorations of sub genres (like the ones described above), but that would just be too broad. We need to get to the nitty gritty of the music.

    What do you think? A sub-section of Journy to the Center of the Mind devoted to my answer to Okocim’s question of what is 60’s psychedelic music. Every post I will answer the question, so what is this music that I am playing.


    • okocim March 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

      Haha, 60’s psychedelic is definitely a misunderstood beast. Sounds like a good section to ask for every individual band, and I may have a bit of insight. Most of all psychedelic music has something to do with drugs on some level. And that’s where you get bands fucking with you. It’s a guilty pleasure of sorts. &P

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