Oct 17, 2012 Web Exclusive
Most records these days come with a steroid-bolstered PR narrative in tow, but the backstory to Efterklang's fourth studio effort, Piramida, has more traction than those of its peers. Before even setting foot in the studio, the Danish three-piece decamped to abandoned Russian settlement Piramida on Spitsbergen for just over a week, collecting over 1000 sounds from around the ghost town. Everything, from the ritualistic knocking of old industrial equipment to the brushing of ivories on the world's northernmost grand piano, became the basis of the sound-world from which Piramida later bloomed.
Where previous effort Magic Chairs was a Technicolor, confetti streamer, ear-to-ear smirk of a record, Piramida has something quietly unsettled about it. Opener "Hollow Mountain" creaks with the sound of percussive pipes, while early highlight "Sedna" casts sinister shadows at dusk. Elsewhere, "Dreams Today"-a hopeful and utterly beguiling track built around the minimalistic pulse of guest pianist Nils Frahm-has something of the tone of Magic Chairs about it, while its successor, "Between the Walls," stands out as the record's apex, built on the band's trademark balance between subtle electronica and orchestral inflections.
Piramida is a unique postcard sent direct from a real-life ghost town. As the listener, you're welcome to have a look around, but the music never lets you doubt for one second that that's all you are: a persona non grata, simply awarded a cursory glance at an otherwise undisturbed time capsule.
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 7/10