Danish group Efterklang has defied everything in the creation of Piramida. It is impossible to peg Efterklang into any conventional genre, or even to the use of conventional instruments. Piramida’s recording process started in an abandoned Russian mining settlement in Svalbard, an island group located between Norway and the North Pole. Efterklang used items ranging from oil tanks to wooden decking to glass lamps to create various instrumentation and effects on the album, from the percussion of a band member running across a wooden dock, to using an oil tank to create a church-like atmospheric sound.
As absurd as this sounds, Piramida is a remarkably brilliant album that permeates with the organic feel of its found instrumentation. “Black Summer” is a true standout with a tremendous bombast to it. “The Living Layer” is perhaps the truest distillation of the whole Piramida experiment, with an organ part played by a grand piano discovered in a concert hall on the island. It would be easy to make a facile comparison to bands like The National and even Roxy Music, but Efterklang defies any comparison on this record. There has never been a project quite like Piramida in terms of execution, but all the raving about the technical aspects of the record misses the point that Piramida is a stunning record. The technical absurdity is a part of what makes it all so special; the technical mastery of every aspect on this record with a deft touch in all parts of the record make Piramida a true gem.
(4AD Records, 17-19 Alma Road, London, UK SW18 1AA)