Efterklang - Piramida
Homespun yet grand release from the Danish alt.folk group
The latest offering from the Danish orchestra-botherers comes wrapped up in a rich mythology: Piramida (also known as Piramiden) is an abandoned Russian mining settlement half way between the northern tip of Norway and the North Pole. The ghost town so intrigued the trio that they travelled there in 2010 and set about making field recordings in a manner that will be familiar to anyone who saw their recent folk-doc An Island. Among the sounds from the trip that made it onto the album are an oil drum being struck and what is apparently the world’s most northerly grand piano, deserted for years in an empty concert hall.
That’s all terribly romantic, but what does it sound like? Not contrived, for a start. The unconventional instrumentation has been refined beyond recognition, and scattered throughout ten typically velvety but somehow still spacious arrangements. Efterklang are masters of putting simple, often percussive components together in complex, syncopated ways. The ever-elegant strings, characteristically rounded, satisfying drums and the heartfelt melancholia of Casper Clausen’s vocals come together as an achingly lovely whole that has a homespun feel and yet still carries the grandeur and breadth of the Arctic vistas that bore it.