Out November 10, 2023

Pompeii Records

Zach Condon returns to announce his first new Beirut album in more than four fateful and reinvigorating years. Out November 10th on his own Pompeii Records, Hadsel is a collection of 12 songs that find warmth and solace in the most extreme darkness, from the severe self-doubt that led to the LP’s creation, to the arctic conditions that kept Condon inspired: following the persistent throat issues that forced him to cancel the end of Beirut’s Gallipoli tour in 2019, and question whether he would ever be able to play a live show again, Zach Condon sought not only to recover, but to escape. He manifested a dream of retreating to a small cabin where the sun never rose above the horizon, and in the first days of 2020, he arrived on the island of Hadsel, far up the northern part of Norway in the middle of Vesterålen. There, Condon met a collector and fellow organ enthusiast named Oddvar, who gave him access to the local Hadselkirke. Dating back to the early 1800s, the wooden, octagonal structure housed the first church organ that Condon would ever play, and for two months he began to build the foundation of this album. Fully written, performed and recorded by Zach Condon, Hadsel brings Beirut back to its solitary yet self-assured roots, exploring new sounds and foreign settings while simultaneously proving to himself that he can once again manage on his own.


“During my time in Hadsel, I worked hard on the music, lost in a trance and stumbling blindly through my own mental collapse that I had been pushing aside since I was a teenager,” says Zach Condon. “It came and rang me like a bell. I was left agonising many things past and present while the beauty of the nature, the northern lights and fearsome storms played an awesome show around me. The few hours of light would expose the unfathomable beauty of the mountains and the fjords, and the hours-long twilights would fill me with subdued excitement. I’d like to believe that scenery is somehow present in the music.”


Since first starting the project as a curious 14-year-old, Zach Condon has grown Beirut into an ever-expanding world that keeps stretching even further. Throughout his pivotal months in Hadsel, he would carry a portable studio setup and Austrian tape machine to and from the church organ, spending dark and snowy nights shaping these songs with arrangements of trumpet and modular synthesizers. By the time he returned home to Berlin the pandemic had shut the world down, but he took it as an invitation to finish what he started. He rediscovered and incorporated the baritone uke, fleshed out songs with his French horn, layered hand drums and shakers on top of old drum machines and the strange percussion sounds he had created in Norway, growing and evolving until ultimately arriving at the final versions of these 12 songs.


Between the formative recordings Zach Condon recently unearthed on 2022’s Artifacts compilation, the Balkan brass music that influenced Beirut’s debut Gulag Orkestar LP, the Italian town where 2019’s widely acclaimed Gallipoli was made, the illustrious world stages the band has played and the millions of fans they have made across the globe, Hadsel is a renewed beginning in a career that continues to embrace previously uncharted territory.