This band, from Copenhagen, Denmark, has released three full length albums since 2004. Their last album — Magic Chairs was released on 4AD records in the United States, giving them much more visibility than they’d ever enjoyed. Their mix of folk, rock, and electronic and their heavy use of non-traditional “rock” insturments has helped their records find a happy home in my library. Their newly signed contract on 4AD should help them grow their popularity in the United States.
Their name translates, essentially, to “reverberation”.
I first heard of this band by reading an article on Pitchfork about a film that the band made in conjunction with the release of Magic Chairs. The movie, “An Island” features the band traveling to a small Danish island where they recorded and performed live versions of new songs. There, they worked with dozens of studio musicians and even school kids to make their third album. They had a link to the full movie, which runs 48 minutes. It takes a while to get going, but once they reach the island and once the music starts, it’s impossible to turn off. I was pretty blown away, and I quickly bought all three of the albums and a couple of their EPs.
The newest record brings to mind bands like Sufjan Stevens, Grizzly Bear, and even Radiohead. Those comparisons asie, their sound is difficult to describe other than to say that they’re pasty, bookish looking guys with mustaches and cardigans.
Shortly after the release of Magic Chairs, the band visited New York City, where they worked in conjunction with some middle school kids. The Kids, who play stringed instruments, learned the appropriate bits, and played a little Efterklang Orchestra. The results were pretty amazing. The only thing that could make this any better would be if Sharon Van Etten contributed guest vocals:
UPDATE The thing is, the girl singing backup is Heather Woods Broderick. She’s in Sharon Van Etten’s band. So there’s your one degree of separation.
I’ve suggested the first song from the new album. It’s not the most accessible song on the album. It’s certainly not the most rocking song. It is, though, a really fun song and a good introduction.
One of the really fun things about the song is that there’s a little bit of play across the stereo field. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. The song starts of with just piano. 30 seconds in, there’s even more piano. The higher notes come through the right channel, while the lower notes come through the left channel. This goes on for 20 seconds, and the rest of the song is pretty much straightforward as far as the stereo field goes. I’m not sure why it’s there, but I like it.
They just released a Daytrotter session last week, and it’s really, REALLY good. If you’re not a member of Daytrotter, you really should be. For the low cost of $2 a month, you get access to exclusive studio and live tracks from some of the best up-and-coming independent bands. And occasionally, some exclusive tracks from some really well-known bands. Seriously. Become a member right now and download the Efterklang session.
You can view the film “An Island” and “pay what you want” for your own digital copy by visiting this site. You can also order a physical copy of the DVD, which has some pretty nifty packaging.
Use this link for details on ordering a copy of “Magic Chairs”