Instead of grand drama and sometimes-bombastic crescendos, we get a quieter, sparer Efterklang on Pirameda, which may be largely due to the circumstances surrounding the recording. Pirameda is less muscular than 2010's Magic Chairs—Efterklang's first for the 4AD label and first with the more modest scale. The basics for Pirameda's 10 beautiful and ghostly tracks were recorded before the trio visited an abandoned Russian mining town on an Arctic island. They integrated thousands of field recordings (using empty fuel tanks, architectural debris, etc.) from the island into songs mostly built on gentle, reassuring rhythms, muted percussion, and the unadorned, vulnerable vocals of Casper Clausen. The album is drenched in a feeling of isolation, of exploration and contemplation. There's an occasional chorus of angels (as on "Dreams Today"), a handful of majestic horns ("Apples," "Black Summer," "Ghost"), and shy layers of pianos and graceful synths (everywhere). But it's a patient and quietly cinematic affair, one well worth visiting.