Piramida

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Piramida is the fourth studio album by Copenhagen’s Efterklang and continues along similar lines to those explored in their previous releases, Tripper, Parades and Magic Chairs – a combination really of the haunting, icy, sparseness and mechanics of Tripper with a little of Magic Chairs friendlier, warmer outlook added in. It’s a beautiful album, at times glacial, at others ethereal, maybe even celestial. Musically quite cold and automatic in its beginnings ("Hollow Mountain" is too perfect an opening track title in representing the feel how things start), with programmed percussion teamed with somewhat minimal yet ebullient blips, patters and washes and swathes forming the first few tracks – it still  somehow manages to not be hard-edged, there are no sharp noises, nothing jarring – it’s perhaps ironically comforting for something seemingly so cold, but then maybe that’s because of the lyrical quality of Casper Caulsen’s deep soulful voice, the standout performer of this recording – every sense of emotion, of mood, is delivered by... well... by its delivery, hope, positivity, oppression, paranoia, fear, all there in that voice, it colours the mood of almost everything. As the album plays, so too it unravels and develops, the orchestration broadens and hopes and horizons widen – fifth track "The Living Layer" almost in itself provides the turning point with it’s dark, synth-heavy outro leading into the far more up-beatedly buoyant "The Ghost". "Black Summer", with its brasses, choir and piano, bursts with “different colours”, and these stay with us until everything is concluded. "Dreams Today" with its recorded running footsteps and light piano flourishes is a celebration of jubilant positivity, a feeling continued through the gorgeous "Between the Walls", and if "Hollow Mountains" titular succinctness is ideal for the sounds this album opens with, then "Monument" is equally appropriate in every sense as a title for the music played out in its final throws, if not also for this record on the whole, standing as it does as a beautifully crafted testament to everything wonderful about modern music making.