February 4, 2011

And it made us feel alike

Last night was the big night: the first screening in DC of Vincent Moon/Efterklang's film An Island, the fifth screening in the US--oh yeah, done by us.  Yes, I'm like the NFL with useless statistics, gimme a break.  After some pizza and a quick screening of Million Dollar Money Drop to start, we got the real deal going.

The film starts incredibly slow, with footage of the band's sea-and-land voyage to the heart of the Danish island Als, in the Baltic Sea.  It takes five minutes to come upon scenery and sound other than atmosphere.  But the destination proves to be worth the wait, as Efterklang soon treats us to a sensory sensation--a marvel, given the medium (a downloaded film).

Finding rhythm in rain and radio, the band eases us into music off their latest album, Magic Chair, with an exploration of sound on the island, both discovered and created by the band themselves. We then happen upon Efterklang and friends in various locations, an abandoned "gym" and a forest in particular prove to be rich grounds for music, and two of the most alluring scenes in the short film.  The gym scene convenes presumably island locals for a haunting rendition of Efterklang's Alike, by far our viewing audience's favorite performance, and the reason most of them came to the movie.

More structured scenes follow in school environments on stages, performances incorporating clapping and stamping children, and a choir of awkward shifty eyed teens.  And then it ends, just like that.

The movie was striking.  Lead singer Casper Clausen looks like a Marc Jacobs model in the making: high chiseled cheek bones, slight frame, mustachioed.  The musicality of the film, not just the music, was impressive, and I enjoyed witnessing in reality what my music professor tried an entire semester to teach me artificially (Music in our everyday lives, yes it was a real class).  The band plays simply beautiful songs, and they felt so genuine paired with the scenery that I didn't mind it was pretty much dialogue-less, or that it sounded a little like Coldplay at times.

I can't wait to see them live.

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