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The experimental Danish post-rock group Efterklang emerged in the front half of the 2000s with an enchanting blend of atmospheric pop and lushly arranged orchestral rock elements. The band found an audience, especially in Europe, after releasing their first two albums on England's the Leaf Label; the attention led to a deal with 4AD. 2012's expansive Piramida, recorded at an abandoned Russian coal-mining settlement on a remote Norwegian island, was a creative and career high point, motivating future experiments like the 2015 opera Leaves: The Colour of Falling. During a band hiatus, Efterklang's core members formed another group called Liima, who issued a pair of albums in 2016 and 2017 before returning to their primary project for 2019's Altid Sammen and 2021's Windflowers. Efterklang formed in December 2000 when childhood friends Casper Clausen (vocals), Mads Brauer (computer), and Rasmus Stolberg (guitar) -- all three having recently moved to Copenhagen from the tiny Danish island of Als -- joined musical forces with pianist Rune Mølgaard and drummer/trumpeter Thomas Husmer. From the start, the bandmembers took a D.I.Y. approach to their music, handling all aspects of songwriting, recording, and production in their Copenhagen practice space. The self-released Springer EP was issued in 2003 on the band's own Rumraket label, with 500 copies packaged in fake fur. That same year, video artist Karim Ghahwagi joined the ensemble and interwove Efterklang's music with video collages. The band signed with Yorkshire's the Leaf Label and issued Tripper in 2004; the orchestral album soon became the fastest-selling debut in the Leaf Label's history. Efterklang's popularity soared in Denmark, with "Under Giant Trees" debuting at number one on the country's singles chart. Several smaller releases followed -- the reissued version of Springer, One-Sided LP on Philadelphia's Burnt Toast Vinyl, and the five-song Under Giant Trees -- before Efterklang released their third full-length, Parades, in October 2007. The group toured extensively for the next two years, and their hard work ethic paid off with an invitation to join the roster of 4AD in September of 2009, home to the National, TV on the Radio, and Deerhunter. Even so, the band remained loyal to its first indie label, and the following month the Leaf Label released Performing Parades, a live CD and DVD of Efterklang performing the album in its entirety with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen. For 2010's Magic Chairs, Efterklang’s 4AD debut, Clausen, Brauer, Stolberg, and Husmer utilized a more traditional rock sound by recording the basic tracks live as a four-piece before adding their customary lush arrangements. In August of 2011 the band traveled to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, an abandoned Russian settlement near the North Pole. They recorded sounds in and around the town's decaying industrial sites, including in huge silos that acted as reverb tanks -- and played on the world's northernmost piano. This audio expedition provided an array of unique sonic textures as well as the inspiration for 2012's isolated and shimmering full-length Piramida. Piramida marked the end of an era for the group; after the fittingly titled Last Concert in the core trio's hometown of Sønderborg, the Efterklang project was put on hold in favor of free-form collaboration. After co-writing and performing the opera LEAVES: The Colour of Falling as part of the Copenhagen Opera Festival in the summer of 2015, the group reconnected with touring drummer Tatu Rönkkö to write new material. Under the Liima moniker, they took a more rapid-fire approach to recording, putting together their 2016 debut ii and their 2017 sophomore album 1982 after a series of improvisation-based jam sessions. After Rönkkö returned to solo work, the trio joined Baroque band B.O.X. to perform new material at their festival, mixMass. The trio, inspired by the music made during those sessions, revived Efterklang and began recording a new LP. Working with B.O.X. and artists they had performed with at Berlin's PEOPLE Festival, Efterklang embarked on a series of studio sessions across Europe, which were marked by a distinct European influence: alongside collaborations with local talent, these recordings to feature Clausen singing in his native tongue. The result was a wealth of raw material from which the trio pieced together and refined their fifth studio album, Altid Sammen, released in September 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the trio were on their own for an extended period, leaving them to craft their sixth studio album mostly by themselves. The resulting record, 2021's Windflowers, saw them reconnect with each other and nature, although they did manage to feature the Field on the closing track "Åbent Sår."
© Andrew Leahey & David Crone /TiVo
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