I've never reviewed anything so please have patience. I'll give you a basic, to-the-point opinion because I really want people to experience this cd if they haven't already!
I bought this album after listening to one track ("Postcards From Italy") I found on some obscure snobby music website and I am extremely glad I went with a gut instinct.
This album is the result of a now Brooklyn-based nineteen year old Zach Condon's most likely drunken adventures in Europe. He quit high school in Albuquerque at the age of sixteen and travelled the continent. Along the way somewhere, he was exposed to Balkan gypsy music and became entranced by it. When he eventually returned to the US, he began creating an album using organs, horns, violins, cellos, ukuleles, mandolins, clarinets, you name it. Adding his own unique vocal talent and with help from Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeremy Barnes and A Hawk & A Hacksaw's Heather Trost, he creatively combined the gypsy feel of Eastern European and folk music into "Gulah Orkestar". The songs on this album are both uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Condon's deep, haunting, mature, almost "crooning" voice will captivate you long before you realise you're swaying along to the swelling string and brass instrumentals. I, personally, think "Gulag Orkestar" would appeal to anyone who enjoys traditional and modern folk music, and music involving elaborate backing sounds/instrumentals. Fans of Jens Lekman, The Magnetic Fields, Sufjan Stevens, and possibly Devendra Banhart should definately give this one a try!