Phases & Stages


Tripper + Springer (Leaf)


Parades + Under Giant Trees (Leaf)

This year's exquisite Magic Chairs (4AD) served as a stateside introduction for the grand orchestral vision of Danish post-rock quartet Efterklang, whose moniker translates roughly to "after-noise" or "remembrance." Leaf's reissue campaign illustrates the band's long path to get here. Released in 2003 on the band's Rumraket label and limited to 500 copies, the five-song Springer EP opens in a post-Kid A realm of fractured electronic pulses and icy minimalism that, with the tranquil pop of "Redrop" and subtle rising of guitars in "Bright," only hints at the majesty to follow. The blueprint blossoms on the following year's lauded Tripper LP, a static symphony of chimes and vibes that recalls the glacial grandeur of Sigur Rós with three laundry lists of contributors, including members of Iceland's Amina string quartet. Efterklang develops its choir into a signature element here, with "Prey & Predator" and "Swarming" suggesting the Postal Service as remixed by the XX, a dramatic romance of male/female vocals amplified to the level of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. Produced over a laborious two-year period, the group's "intricate puzzles" on 2007's Parades sound even bigger, with a newfound urgency and ceremonial bombast swelling behind more austere string arrangements ("Horseback Tenors") and militant percussion ("Maison de Réflexion"). Accompanying holdover Under Giant Trees lacks much in the way of bonus material, aside from two live recordings, but the minialbum fills in a few essential missing pieces. (Efterklang loads into Mohawk on Friday, Sept. 24.)

(Both) ***

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