At Nordic Vibes, we are happy that the three members of Danish band Efterklang have been busy exploring the wilds in far, far northern lands to bring us a new LP. Piramida – released last month on 4AD – is a multi-layered, rich, delightful feast filled with familiar sounds whilst also exploring new territories. This latter comment can be taken literally for the band took a journey to the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the making of this album in a second project that connected the band’s sound to a particular location. Previously having worked with Vincent Moon on An Island, which was filmed on the Danish isle of Als where the Efterklang members grew up and so was familiar to the band, this time the trio travelled to Spitsbergen which was a lot less familiar and also a lot less hospitable.
Efterklang made the journey to the island – next stop, the North Pole – in August 2011 and in particular to the town that would inspire and provide some of the soundtrack for the album that would become the town’s almost- namesake (the album title is the same as the Russian name for the town). Pyramiden is one of a number of Russian coal-mining settlements on the island that have since been abandoned. The town was inhabited until 1998 at which time it seems to have been deserted in the blink of an eye. Buildings, vehicles and even the world’s most northern grand piano have been left untouched since, giving the landscape an eerie atmosphere of a deserted ghost town.
The Danish documentary filmmaker Andreas Koefoed followed the band members on their trip. He did the album teaser for Piramida which is what made me sit up and take note of the album.
Getting this insight into the band members’ experiences whilst exploring the town was a turning point for me – imagining them as they uncovered ‘new instruments’ in the form of old, rusting oil tanks or empty glass bottles before then setting up field recordings, etc. to capture the sounds to take back to their Berlin studio. It also turns listening to the album into a different experience as those sounds are distinguished throughout the album. Of course, you don’t need this whole back-story to enjoy the album but if you do want to read more about the making of the album, there is a lot of information available on the band’s website and in this very informative article here.
Earlier this month, the band released a new video for the second track on the album ‘Apples’. The video by Hvass&Hannibal (the Danish design studio responsible for all the band’s artwork and concert visuals) – in collaboration with Oodls (the studio that did the video for the first single ‘Hollow Mountain’) – includes some of Koefoed’s footage filmed on the island projected onto the band, which is actually the first ever Efterklang video that features the band members.
If you are going to the band’s gigs in Eindhoven or Brussels on 7/8 November, whilst taking in the delights of the whole show, make sure to take note of the stage set too. The lovely designs that the team at Hvass&Hannibal has created for this album is a whole other story that you can read about here, here, here and here.
Piramida – Released 24 September 2012: