Mysteriously disguised as mythical tree monsters from a nightmarish fairytale realm, the two anonymous members of Nordic Giants combine Daft Punk theatricality with Wicker Man spookiness.
Touring with their acclaimed debut, A Seance of Dark Delusions, the Brighton-based duo stake out the noisy no man’s land between audio-visual performance art and proggy post-rock. Their heavily instrumental pieces recall peak-era Floyd, Mogwai and Sigur Rós.
The crucial third member of the Nordics live set-up is a large video screen that blasts out stand-alone short films loosely synchronised with each track. Though all the films are by different directors, science fiction and horror themes dominate, with detours into comic animation and dazzling visual abstraction. Memorable stand-outs include Mischa Rozema’s Year Zero, which takes place in an apocalyptic urban warzone, and David Jackson’s The Last Breath, a macabre two-parter about a team of scuba divers battling to survive after the atmosphere is suddenly sucked dry of oxygen.
The big-screen visuals sometimes overshadow the music, which degenerates into shapeless slithering at times. But the densely layered blend of sound and vision on display is hugely atmospheric, and never boring. Even if Nordic Giants essentially offer stadium-sized pretentiousness on an indie-band budget, their inspired mix of sorcery and secrecy makes for a potent and highly original spectacle.