Live Review : “Piramida” The Northern Sinfonia and Efterklang

Manchester Bridgewater Hall oct.29 2012

The south-westerly gale whipped whisps of cloud way overhead in the clear blue. Below me, the ice cold breakers danced abandoned on the tide swell. Snow glistened on the crags to the west. I leaned into the wind as I felt the force and allowed the power to take me. On my wing others wheeled away, empowered by the same joy, the same cosmic dance, we mewed and cried in ecstasy. “ Good to be Back”.

Below the sea raced inland breaking against the bleak shore and we followed inwards.

Strangely not a single ship was anchored at the dock, no black smoke rising from the stacks and no four wheel drive trucks buzzing around like the flies we had left in the South.

Curious, I powered down towards an old familiar rooftop to consider the situation. I nestled between a rusty satellite dish and a chimney.  No humans meant no dump and no scraps to scavenge. I tucked in my wings, preened a little and looked around.

Nothing only the familiar sounds of the wind and sea playing games in the northern wilderness. I waited. The wind eased and then I could hear the ghost voices echo in the empty houses and factories of Piramida.

We sat hypnotised. Listening intently. The strings swelled like the wind, the voices faded. The strings and piano followed. Violins just within hearing mixed with the wind. Then, in the beautiful silence, in wonder we heard the ghost voices of Poramida.

Earlier, John Grant, of the amazing voice, sang six moving ballads. No support act here but truly a “Special Guest”. He advised us that we had impeccable taste because we were about to witness something special. He furthered his credentials by informing us his new album was being recorded in Iceland.

The Northern Sinfonia appear with conductor Andre De Ridder. Members of Efterklang wander on stage with Casper and Rasmus magnificent in blazers, bow ties and moustaches. What followed defies description. The song cycle based on a trip to Spitzbergen in the Arctic Circle and an abandoned Russian Settlement full of ghosts and relics including a Grand Piano is a wonderful and intriguing work.

Atmospheric and dramatic in equal parts the music enfolds you and almost without noticing the audience becomes enchanted by the fragile beauty being performed on stage. They play the whole album from start to finish De Ridder conducts proceedings and often the Sinfonia are centre stage. Casper sips wine and smiles often seemingly as enraptured as we are by the breadth of the music that is carrying us away. I look up and see drifting dry ice high above …clouds of wonder…

As with any music, band or artist you choose to get lost in their world, I’m gonna be staying in Piramida for sometime…

Words: Keefy

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