I missed Efterklang last time around; I think I was in a bit of a foul mood, which is a ridiculous reason for missing a gig. Everybody knows that (live) music is the number one cure for gloom. Luckily, (read ‘annoyingly’), my best friend went and joyfully proclaimed it to be her gig of the year so there was no way I was going to miss these Scandinavian magicians in action this time round.
While enjoying a pre-gig lazy Sunday in bed listening to Radio 6 (eating muffins and drinking tea, but that’s by the by) a couple of points that came up resonated with me later that evening as I was engrossed in Efterklang’s world. John Leckie was being interviewed by Huey about his approach to album producing and he likened it to creating a soundtrack to a film that didn’t yet exist. The way the album progressed would be guided by the unravelling images that would play out in his head. This mode of working amounts to an album having a narrative and structure, which are qualities that I value and hold with esteem. In contrast there was the news that Underworld were currently working with Brian Eno, “not to necessarily make an album but to create tunes, kinda like how we used to release a series of 12s (these days, read as mp3s)” See the difference?
Efterklang are your archetypal Leaf band marrying experimental with cohesion, tunefulness with incongruous and order with chaos. They also fit firmly with the John Leckie school of thought, creating their own magical world for the whole time that they are on stage and more importantly, embroiling the audience within that special place. It’s a testament to the enormous talent when you find yourself thinking “Peter Who?” as support man Peter Broderick takes his place as part of the Efterklang clan. While he is a mighty force to behold playing solo, now he somehow diffuses in to the synchronized and balanced instrumentation of the band.
For this whole time the band are on stage, front man (in the loosest sense of the word), Casper Clausen is in control and without feeling staged he gives direction to the rest of the band who all wait on a certain look or a rising of an eyebrow to signal each turn in the complex compositions. That’s not to say that the rest of the band are passively performing on the stage, it’s just that the music of Efterklang is so complex that someone needs to hold the reigns and prevent the sound from being on the unlistenable side of experimentation and this, Clausen does with absolute finesse.
(picture courtesy of Louise Evans)