Review Summary: A couple huddling together atop a vast glacier under the cold light of the stars is the scene. Tripper is the soundtrack.
Efterklang released Tripper to mild critical acclaim in 2004. The band’s first full length went largely unnoticed by the wider musical community, a complete travesty seeing as this is one of the most singular and engaging albums to come out of anywhere in a long time.
Immersing the listener in a wintery landscape of soft glitch beats and atmospheric strings, the band’s two crooners engage and overlap, whispering all the time as if afraid of disturbing the tranquil pulse of the music. The effect is deliberately underwhelming, the simple electronics gradually building into a crescendo complete with strings and achingly gorgeous dual vocals that engulf the listener with their subtle intensity. The use of glitch to provide the rhythm works perfectly, an early Autechre vibe prevailing throughout. Considering the comparison, however, electronics have never sounded so human. More precisely, it is the delicate combination of the icy music with the hushed vocals that gives Tripper its vitality, and elevates it above the cold tag of ‘electronica’. If one was to pigeonhole it’d be post rock, but done tastefully, as restraint is what sets Tripper apart from the crowd.
Indeed, the most noticeable thing about this album is how quiet it is; you feel guilty listening to it anywhere other than a silent space where you alone can appreciate it.
Whereas sophomore effort Parades is a cacophony of passion and joy, Tripper exists to sooth and calm; it is the sound of frail humans co-existing with wild and unbridled nature. Casper Clausen’s statement in Swarming; ‘her wing beat is humming loud', is a direct parallel to the music
Delicate but insistent. Treading softly, but with purpose.