For fans of Sigur Ros and pop tinged post-rock, the way Alma build their tracks up, weaving loops and chords together, creates something mesmerising and moving. Launching their self-titled mini-album, Alma have chosen the perfect venue to showcase their epic atmospheric sound but before that we get them to tell us about some of their biggest influences.
Olafur Arnalds – ‘Fok’
It’s just so simple and so beautiful. The strings are just perfect, there’s plenty of space, it’s not overdone and there’s nothing added that’s not needed. That’s definitely how we tried to approach the mini album – patience and not adding sounds for the sake of adding them. It’s actually harder to do than you’d think!
Radiohead – ‘Idioteque’
I first heard this 2 weeks before Kid A was released, at Victoria Park when they toured the album before it actually came out… I’d managed to avoid any bootleg versions in the build up. We were unsure of the new stuff when we first heard it live (we were very young give us a break), but as soon as they played this track it all made sense.
A Silver Mt. Zion – ‘Built Then Burnt’
I think this is probably my most favourite piece of music ever. As with Olafur’s track, it’s not crammed with unnecessary sounds, it’s just about how it breathes. Almost literally on this track I think. The childlike innocence thing has definitely been an influence on this album – it’s much more young and afraid than anything I’ve written before. Monsters Build Mean Robots was very much about fighting back…ALMA is more childlike if anything.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Blaise Bailey Finnegan III’
Putting just one Godspeed track in is a tough choice! But the monologue on this is just perfect. I only [semi] recently found out that the ‘poem’ at the end was an Iron Maiden song [I never really had a Maiden phase…sorry]. I just assumed it was this mad old preacher guy they’d found, who sounded like either a genius or a little mental… who then comes up with this stonking political verse. Again, the thing with GY!BE is the tension building. They’re not afraid to drone for 25 minutes, and then play a euphoric piece for just 12 seconds.
A Winged Victory for The Sullen – ‘Atomos II’
This is just sublime. Again, the patience in the build up and the way the strings sit there for me is just perfection. The sound quality on this album is astounding too. As with Olafur’s track, it can be so simplistic and just captivate you. For much of the ALMA recording we tried to capture the moment and the sound rather than nailing a perfect take, it’s what makes an album great if you nail it like A Winged Victory.
Buy: Alma – Alma