Since their school days, Mads Brauer, Rasmus Stolberg, and Casper Clause have been shaping their sound as a pioneering trio, Efterklang. Their debut project Tripper in 2004 introduced the Danish outfit through sparse electronica and undeniable harmonies resulting in a sophisticated sound that would define the next decade and a half of their artistry.
On the heels of a devastating period in global history, Efterklang emerges with their sixth studio album, Windflowers. The project began with over 70 etchings of ideas when the trio could finally reunite in June 2020, and finalized over a year later as a sonically cohesive collection that conjures up morsels of hope and renewal over the course of 9 intentionally placed tracks. Named for the perennial blooms that carpet the forest floor, marking Springtime in Denmark, Windflowers serves as their debut on City Slang Records. The project is not so much a pivot as it is a ritualistic returning to their deep-running roots as a band.
When COVID-19 brought their 2020 tour plans to a screeching halt, the three artists got to work writing and creating from their separate quarantine spaces.
“We couldn’t go out to play, so I think our main focus was basically just to make a nice record,” they said. “And to try again, like we always try for each album, to find out what excited us. This album, it felt a lot like getting down to the basics of playing and not overthinking. We used to spend a lot of time in front of speakers and listen back to what we do and refine it.”
Piecing together this project was a group task. “We listened to all of it together in one room with little talking,” they shared. “And I think we can feel if it’s there or not. If we can feel that we’re all excited about this. Like, okay, this must be something to put in the top folder. We know each other well, you can sort of feel when it’s something we are all excited about.”
Over the course of recording the band made five trips to residential studio Real Farm on the island of Møn, south of Copenhagen. With no set deadlines or preconceived boundaries, Efterklang set out on a sonic adventure in the intimate, isolated space.
They describe the studio as a cross between a writing and creative space and a recording studio. Set with facilities and necessary devices, Real Farm is not considered a “proper studio.” But, for the band, it was a place where you could open the door and play loud music at 2:00 am or could walk outside and record some vocals. Its eccentric style, and dynamic setup, they said, “invited a more laid back, relaxed environment.”
Over the recording process, the band experienced the great privilege of watching each season meld into the next for a complete cycle.” In the summer, it’s just gorgeous, you can sit in shorts and T-shirts out in the beautiful green dusty fields,” they described. “And then before the harvest, it gets all very brown and ugly, and rainy—very spacious. And then when the snow would fall, we were lucky enough to experience these different seasons and have a different vibe to it. But most of all, being out of the city, the album has lots of space. We could really concentrate on just being the three of us instead of having to do all kinds of stuff. Having our partners or friends and then of course being in the city is always another distraction, so it’s just really nice to kind of have that moment together.”
Given the context and the experimental mindset with which they had framed this project, Efterklang forwent a professional producer and put their own ear to the test as they mixed and mastered their most meaningful project to date. When left to their own devices, the trio found unprecedented freedom in their exploratory form. Windflowers sees the trio of old friends further binding themselves while building upon their individual experiences with developing contributions that define their now-veteran pop sound.
Listen to Windflowers LP, here.
Photo Credit: Dennis Morton