I've got a story about Efterklang. No one will care to read it, but I shall tell it anyway.

The light is seeping across the sky and the air is filled with that special early morning chill. We are drinking from thick wine glasses, and we are talking about Efterklang; I say I can't get to the bottom of their music, that there is a certain flatness to this orchestral almost post-rock music I can't shake off (mainly the album I have in mind is Tripper). We use a couple of Norwegian words when we speak and he says, "Efter Klang. After sound." I frown and again, "After the sound. or Reverberation. As if the importance of the music doesn't stop where the sound stops." And to illustrate this, he taps gently on the side of his glass, however not gently enough, so that his glass goes flying across the table and goes crashing to the other end. Broken glass it is, then. And all the sound it made. I kept that scene in my heart somewhat, because it was genuinely funny and so down to the point. I get it now; it took me three years, but now I understand the after sound they are talking about, the fact that music as a whole is cause and consequence as well as sound.

And with this scene in mind and no other preconception, I walked into the screening of An Island a couple of nights ago. The truth is that, though we sat on the floor, cold but somewhat cozy, and were huddled like penguins all buzzing with anticipation, the first ten minutes left me confused; there was darkness, blur, with landscapes whooshing past and an off voice talking about childhood memories. I tend to get annoyed quickly with "experimental" photography and film-making, but after getting used to awkward angles and getting into the right state of mind, I loved it. Every little part of me felt an almost magnetic attraction towards the screen, dumbfounded by the sweetness of inviting kids to makes sounds with paper to be part of a project, of an orchestra, of a band, excited by the sight of popping balloons used as an instrument, delightfully transporting my thoughts back to summers in Norway, jam sessions in musicians' studios, and every other memory that springs from being surrounded by happily motivated people. And so, just like that, after a couple of sessions, one in a school gym, one on a car in motion, another in something that resembles a barn, the movie ends, and my eyes are still full of Northern forests and my ears still ring with the echo of their high school memories: standing at the top of the stairs saying hello to each other for the first time.

Efterklang live are another story. Or maybe not, maybe it's the same story told in a different way; and a film like 'An Island' simply makes you aware of the possibilities that are to be found in the work of the Danish collective. Straying away from their earlier, more conceptual universe, the 7-piece group are on stage with their latest, well-received album Magic Chairs. From the first notes, it's a delight to simply listen, without stretching my neck attempting to see all seven musicians; their carefully-built pop songs balance themselves perfectly on the border of excess, never however tipping into redundancy and if I close my eyes, I can place the instruments on stage, without seeing them. Every voice is within reach for the listener and that's what makes Efterklang so special. Though songs like 'Harmonics' and 'Alike' are without doubt just as upbeat and radio-friendly as, say, Jonsi's 'Boy Lillikoi', live they acquire much more depth and nostalgia. In fact, I felt like Efterklang was a perfect blend of acts like Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros, making the orchestral and experimental of aforementioned bands meet in an explosion of gorgeous and quirky pop music. In spite of my being unfamiliar with much of their back catalogue, I was able to enjoy the show thoroughly, never once feeling detached or out of place. Their energy on stage showed friendliness and passion, and if a band can manage to use two of the most awful instruments in history (I am somewhat biased towards both the recorder and the flute, sorry) and get away with it, then it's all good in my book. I could go on and on about the unexpected use of stage poles as an alternate drumming surface, about the bonus points for giving the drummer his very own space right up front or about how they made me discover that the trombone, played in the right way, can make me cry crocodile tears (shh, don't tell anyone); I could expand on how I got more than a glimpse of Peter Broderick's amazing violin skills and of how I fell in love with his sister Heather's voice, but I won't. Instead I'll say this: Efterklang's majestic performance might already well be in the run for best concert of the year.