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Film and Animation

Cheap Magic Inside: A Beirut Videogram


Beirut - Cliquot
Beirut - Le Moribond

In 2007, Beirut released their sophomore album in all the conventional formats: MP3, CD, and vinyl. However, the band also teamed up with La Blogothèque‘s Vincent Moon to produce a video for each song on The Flying Club Cub. Together these videos were released on a DVD entitled Cheap Magic Inside.

The DVD was very popular among fans of the band, and quickly sold out online. For years the project’s website claimed more copies would be pressed and made available to the public soon. My own inquiries into the matter appeared fruitless… That is until this month.

This month Cheap Magic Inside was made available to all for free. The sequence of events leading up to this point began with a simple email to Beirut’s label, Ba Da Bing Records, from fan Chris Peterson about the DVD. Upon receiving word that it had sold out and there were no plans for future pressings, he asked cautiously, “[I]s there any chance you’d make the files available for download? Since you’re not selling the DVD anymore?”

The answer Chris received back was just short of unbelievable: After consulting together on the issue, Beirut, Ba Da Bing, and La Blogothèque sent Peterson the next-to-last copy of the DVD under the condition that he make it as widely available as possible. And that he did!

Now fans of the band can watch Condon & Co. parade through the abandoned courtyards, lofts, bars, parks, churches, and side-streets of Brooklyn, with each song’s video taking place in its respective location but still edited seamlessly together to create the effect of a unified album. Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear also steps in for Owen Pallett and makes a special appearance in the scene for “Cliquot”. And while the majority of the film takes place in New York City, the credits show Zach Condon crooning an a cappella rendition of Jacques Brel’s “Le Moribond” while riding in the back of a presumably French cab in a scene that appears to pay a homage to London’s Black Cab Sessions.

Cheap Magic Inside can now be downloaded in both DVD-quality and iPod-optimized formats on Chris Peterson’s blog and as a torrent on The Pirate Bay. With his permission, I’ve also made uploaded the DVD-quality files to Indeed Indie:

To download the files, simply right-click (or control-click) and “Save As”. Happy New Year!

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