I'm a pretty big Efterklang fan and find myself posting about every new release they do. However, there is a good reason for this, well two good reasons. One, they make rather beautiful music which always connects to something in my brain and makes it feel good. Two, their work with design due Hvass & Hannibal for each release always pushes things forward both in album art work and it reignites that special relationship between band and cover artist, something that is definitely missing in today's digital age.
On a recent trip to Edinburgh I found time to swing past Avalanche records, something of a treat since the demise of Aberdeen's One Up records. As soon as I spotted the Piramida 12" I marched up to the cash desk and made my purchase. If you've seen the cover then you'll know how nice the design is but also with the story behind the albums inception the art work adds an extra layer to things! The 3 band members paid a visit to the Norwegian Svalbard, specifically an island settlement called Piramida which served as a Russian coal mining town for almost 100 years before it was mysteriously abandoned in the mid 90's for no apparent reason. The band made a series of field recordings on the island and a short film called The Ghost of Piramida which traces one of the island residents stories of life in Piramida and dreams lost. We held a free screening of the film just a month back at the Smart Gallery in Aberdeen along with 700 odd hosts across the globe!
When you see the film its hard not to envision the island and buildings when you listen to the music, especially when so many of the subtle sounds came from the field recordings. And the artwork adds to the sense of place associated with the music, capturing some elements of the geography and geology of Piramida. The vinyl version comes with a large booklet containing some photographs along with more artwork for the album with tracing paper overlays. These little touches really give the release a prized object feel, something to be looked after and cherished. And it will be!
Also in the last week I was rather excited to get an email about the new Piramida Concert live album due to for release in June. The album was recorded in the bands home town of Copenhagen in 2012 and documents a special performance which made up part of a series of concerts performed with live orchestras, most coming from the cities in which they played. I didn't manage to catch the band during these concerts but after listening to the live track below decided to book flights to Copenhagen for my birthday and it just so happens that Efterklang will be playing on the day of my birthday. I'm just hoping that Happy Birthday will make it into their set! You can pre order the new live album here.