Efterklang, Danish for ‘remembrance’ or ‘reverberation,’ certainly lived up to their name when they brought their moody soundscapes to Rolling Hall in Hongdae last Tuesday. Efterklang is undoubtedly a live band; a great example of an outfit that fares far better in person than on record. That is not to say their records are in any way bad, they simply lack much of the captivation and wonder that is present at Efterklang’s live show. Often teaming up with symphonies and orchestras across the globe to help them produce their sonic experimentations, the band demands attention even when the scale of the event is much smaller, like on this occasion. Though the venue was half full at best, the sounds created on stage were enough to compensate for the lack of audience members. Originally a three-piece operation, on this particular outing the band suited up with full cast of six to create a wide array of sound ranging from something that fits directly between Berlin-era Bowie, Talk Talk’s post-rock discord or classically inspired indie pop. Frequently compared to Grizzly Bear, Sigur Ros or Arcade Fire, Efterklang have their own unique pop sensibilities that drive their musical range in directions that distinguish them from these more renowned slow-burning giants. Refusing to be pigeonholed, the band retains an arsenal of influence that covers decades and genres, combined with a fresh approach in weaving their far from unfamiliar yet inimitable brand of post-rock.
The band kicked off their show with Hollow Mountain, a spatial yet delicately layered track that set the tone for how the rest of the evening would transpire. Each song that followed seemed to be the next step in a logical equation the band was attempting to solve. Epic crescendos and complex rhythm changes were scattered across their set as Efterklang tactfully blended the natural with the synthetic, largely attributed to the keyboards and computer section. Frontman Casper Clausen’s stage presence is like a less sexually charged Jarvis Cocker, and he wields a vocal style that can be compared to Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples or Scott Walker. Clausen harmonizes wonderfully with other group members, whose voices dance and dart together in a glorious blare.
The band is highly coordinated, seemingly functioning within the same nervous system, as members swap instruments and move across the stage between songs in preparation for the next segment of their intricate puzzle. Their bond was most apparent during their performance of Black Summer, when they came to a standstill for nearly ten seconds before crashing the silence in complete unison.
Efterklang breaks a mold by engaging with the audience on an intimate and charming level. Casper told tour stories and discussed their journey to what is essentially the North Pole to record samples and sounds for their 2012 album, Piramida. The band found inspiration in an abandoned city once inhabited by Russian miners, using empty silos and houses as recording rooms. Clausen even bore gifts from fans at a previous show in Kuala Lumpur for the attendees in Seoul, who were then expected to continue the tradition in Beijing, the next stop on their tour. The 90 minute set concluded with an acapella version of Alike, where Korean chopsticks and metal rice bowls carried the rhythm, as well as The Ghost, a single from Piramida. The band seemed genuinely pleased to be playing for a new audience in a new place, and the audience was grateful that they were experiencing something worth remembering.
SuperColorSuper brought Efterklang to Seoul and are . Buy tickets here.
Words by Davin Underwood
Photographs by Chris da Canha