A polar plunge

Efterklang headed north to generate their most recent album, “Piramida.”

Spencer Doar

What: Efterklang           

When: 7:30 p.m., Monday

Where: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 S. Cedar Ave., Minneapolis.

Cost: $15

 

Approximately 600 miles from the North Pole lies the island of Spitsbergen. An abandoned Russian mining facility is on the island and remains  a ghost town.

The Danish indie-rock trio Efterklang traveled to this barren tundra in  summer  2011 to work on their album “Piramida.”

“Our idea was to see if we could put more focus on the electronic element of our band,” bassist Rasmus Stolberg said. “We wanted to see if we could collect a specific location.”

They accomplished this through extensive field recordings. The northernmost grand piano in existence, empty oil drums and the buildings of this mining facility were fodder for what turned out to be more than 1,000 recordings.

The presence of these samples is not obvious in “Piramida” though, despite riddling the album.

Efterklang cut them down, splicing and chopping them into percussive elements and melodic arrangements — becoming almost unintelligible unless you listen closely for it. Their initial form gets enveloped in swells like the windswept landscape of Spitsbergen, leaving the lasting impression of impermanence.

“There was a sense of a dream of the people who used to live there,” vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Casper Clausen said.

The haunting effect of being in this severe environment, rather than their Berlin studio, is the thematic structure for the whole of “Piramida.”

“It was the first time for me in the wilderness, so it was extraordinary to be in a place where nature is superior,” Clausen said. “Because of the risk of polar bears, we hired a Russian guard to protect us. It took a while to not be paranoid all of the time.”

The melancholy vocals are propelled by powerful percussion and riveting riffs derived from recordings such as the aforementioned grand piano.

“The biggest influence it played on me is the thoughts you have — you’re totally detached, no cellphones,” Stolberg said. “About halfway through I was like ‘What the [expletive] are we doing,’ spending all of our savings. But suddenly it made a lot of sense.”

That journey was an awe-inspiring experience for Efterklang — wandering around in survival suits deep in the Arctic Circle amongst the remains of mankind, battling the paranoia of hungry polar bears.

“You realize how insignificant mankind is in terms of the age of the earth, how young our species is,” Stolberg said. “It reminded me of being in the Redwoods, changing your perspective on yourself.”

While touring the world in support of “Piramida,” Efterklang performs as a sextet. But they’re used to different arrangements as they have previously performed in a series of concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

It all makes sense for this group of varying interests: Efterklang is Danish for reverberation.