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Efterklang's "The Colour Not of Love" is opera deconstructed and the sound of changing seasons

25 August 2016, 10:30 | Written by Andrew Hannah

Always adventurous and experimenting, Danish three-piece Efterklang (plus supporting cast) release their opera Leaves - The Colour of Falling as an LP in November, and today unveil the latest track from it in the form of "The Colour Not of Love".

Initially performed as a series of sixteen incredible shows in a nuclear basement underneath The Copenhagen Municipal Hospital, Leaves – The Colour of Falling was created by Efterklang and composer Karsten Fundal, with lyrics written by poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen. The band (Casper Clausen, Mads Brauer and Rasmus Stolberg) are joined on vocals by an array of seasoned and unbelievably talented opera singers.

Fundal describes the work as "a song cycle about a cult located beneath the ground while the earth might be experiencing its downfall above ground. It’s about loss - loss of identity, loss of love and loss of life itself. We wanted to create an opera for the mood you’re put in when you on a beautiful autumn day see how a brown leaf falls from a tree in the garden - the beautiful swaying fall signifying that everything will perish.”

“The Colour Not of Love” is one of the tracks perhaps most instantly recognisable as the work of Efterklang; Clausen’s soft voice floats over gentle mallet percussion and is joined by a buzz of strings which gathers in volume in anticipation of a sacramental moment. Instead, it all falls away to be replaced by what sounds like a concertina and a choir of operatic voices. Across the album as a whole we hear from Lisbeth Balslev, the countertenor Morten Grove Frandsen, Nicolai Elsberg and longtime Efterklang collaborator Katinka Fogh Vindelev, and here they act as a counterpoint to Clausen’s solo. While that acts as a bridge or a guide between the changing seasons, the operatic choir brings a sense of foreboding and dread. The leaves are falling, and the onset of autumn points to unpreventable change and mortality.

Leaves - The Colour of Falling by Efterklang & the Happy Hopeless Orchestra is out 4 November via Tambourhinoceros. The band will peform the album at London's Barbican on 9 March 2017, and you can read our review of Efterklang's stunning subterranean opera from August 2015 here.

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