new music monday, volume 2

until two weeks ago, I had never heard of efterklang. I certainly wouldn't have been able to spell it, had you asked. And I wouldn't have said, instinctively, that I would like them. But I do. Oh, do I ever.

Prompted by a CD swap that included other artists I'll talk more of later on, the efterklang cd, if interest was driven by album art alone, is fascinating. Two leaves of the paper casing are devoted to tripper-stick drawings - standard arms and legs with the 'bodies' filled in by various artists. They're gorgeous.

The album itself could also be described as gorgeous. Efterklang is a 10-piece, Copenhagen-based band that could best be described as symphonic and shimmering - whispery vocals, smooth strings, ancient piano creaks, lush noise. The name essentially means reverb - literally translated as 'afternoise'. It's like music reduced - there is no compulsion to have everyone playing all at once, or for noise just for the sake of noise. The sound they produce is full-bodied, often reduced to just beats with no vocals, or whispery lyrics with slow lush beats to match. At one point, they bring in an entire choir to do some orchestral vocals and they're so good it sounds as if there is only one person singing, echoing.

If you had to draw comparisons to other bands for a frame of reference, I'd suggest lamb meets symphony orchestera, meets radiohead, bjork, and stars. But even that will probably not give you a good indication of what they're really like.

I'm sick today, so this is short and sweet. But give them a listen if you have the chance. It's well worth it.