In brief, the movie was filmed on a small island in Denmark (where, presumably, some of the members of Efterklang grew up) over a period of four days last summer. It’s about 50 minutes of part music video, part documentary and part artistic statement. But before I tell you more about the film, I wanted to applaud the entire concept of its release.
Via facebook (and potentially other avenues?), Efterklang promoted their video by inviting anyone who had room enough for 5 people to host a screening. You could publicize it and let folks RSVP through their site, or you could mark it as “full” and invite folks offline (which is the option I chose, with very limited seating space). They were hoping for 100 screenings, and as of this post they are up to over 400. Anyhow, the film was due out yesterday, with one special premiere screening the day before. They delivered the high quality Quicktime file to me over the weekend via one of those file-sending websites, along with a bonus mp3 and a few instructions.
Both as a concept and as an actual experience, the idea of a band releasing a film about them via their fans is amazingly cool. I’d love to be a part of more of these events in the future, and if the response from the guests last night is any indication, I won’t have any trouble filling seats. In fact, if I did it again I think I’d try to upgrade to a larger space that could be open to the public as well.
Vincent Moon is fairly well known in the indie music world, largely in part to his Take-Away Shows series on La Blogotheque. He created in An Island a precise yet unpolished work of art. It’s dark without being dreary, and conceptual without being campy. He mixes sounds (both in the music of Efterklang and in other “found” noises) in such a manner that they are both a result of and the impetus behind the visuals.
I had a couple of favorite parts, where incredibly precise (and mostly very unique) sounds melded so well with the rhythm and point of view of the film that I literally felt like I was in the movie (it helped that I was projecting it onto a 60+ inch screen and playing it through my Bose Companion 5 speakers).
Specifically, there is a scene where the lead singer of Efterklang and another band member are walking through a soggy marsh in the rain with microphones, capturing the sloshing sound made by their shoes and the tapping and splattering sound made by the rain, and finding a way to make it sound wonderfully musical. And a later scene, where the whole band and a small crowd of others perform the song “Alike” using such instruments as the broom-on-floor, the popping balloon and a variety of other random percussion instruments, in addition to more traditional ones like guitars, drums and horns.
I don’t know how they plan on releasing it in the future, but they are still accepting new screenings and I highly recommend you think about hosting one if you’re interested in seeing this film.
Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.