Efterklang – The Piramida Concert // Barbican, 30/10/12

Tonight is one of those nights.

One of those nights where it is a privilege to witness a special show. Those nights where a beaming smile telegraphs all night how lucky you’re feeling to be present. The ones that live long in the memory. Tonight is one of those.

Efterklang‘s Piramida LP began its journey a year ago in Spitsbergen, a long-abandoned ghost town in the Arctic visited by the band to collect the sounds that would shape the record. Over the last week and a half, on this short tour of the UK, the journey met its conclusion; Piramida performed in full with the accompaniment of the Northern Sinfonia orchestra.

For these concerts each of Piramida‘s songs has been arranged “to make the orchestra an integral part of the performance” and so Northern Sinfonia take the stage first, assuming their place at the centre of the action. Efterklang join them as they play an introduction to the LP’s opener Hollow Mountain. The hairs on the back of our neck stand up.

Tonight the almost 50 people on stage will play the LP in full (exchanging Dreams Today for So) and the added delicacy and sparkling sharpness of the orchestra brings it to life. Apples benefits from the added depth sweeping strings and brass bring and Sedna, our favourite moment on Piramida, is as subtly intimate in this large space as it is on the record.

More so in fact; with orchestral accompaniment it’s somehow more delicate, deeper, more shimmeringly beautiful. It’s almost too much.

Between The Walls and Monument go on to vie with Senda for tonight’s highlight; the former reminiscent of early LP Tripper‘s Björk-like production, the latter transformed into a heart-wrenching conclusion to the concert which sees us make a mental note to give it some proper attention, starting tomorrow morning.

Efterklang’s songs suit such an elegant and refined venue; their innovative rhythms are precisely performed and richly detailed. Piramida‘s grand movements feel right at home. Yet it’s all performed with a joyful exuberance which is disarming.

Now, we have enjoyed Efterklang in concert before, at London’s Scala, and reported how they are inclusive, intimate and playful in the flesh. Transposed to this far grander venue we’re glad to see nothing’s changed. Singer Casper Clausen engages with the audience without ego and during an encore of Modern Drift climbs out across the rows of velvet seats to bring the action to them one-to-one. He’s also hilarious. An unassuming frontman with a natural showman quality.

The band have clearly enjoyed the time spent with the supremely talented Northern Sinfonia, and their last night together is an emotional affar. They thank them constantly, at one point dragging conductor André De Ridder reluctantly to the microphone to introduce him, and Clausen continually thanks us for coming to share the experience with them.

Honestly Casper, there’s no need to thank us, it’s no problem at all. We’re still in a daze. This one will be on our minds for some time.

Take a listen to our pick of tonight’s highlights from Piramida. Here’s Sedna:

Between The Walls:

And Monument:

Follow Efterklang at their official site and Facebook and find out more about Northern Sinfonia here. Buy Efterklang’s Piramida LP here.