- 1 / 4 Agnes Obel - The Curse (Official Video)
- 2 / 4 Agnes Obel - Riverside (official)
- 3 / 4 Agnes Obel - Aventine (Album Teaser)
- 4 / 4 Agnes Obel - Aventine (Glimpse 2)
Danish singer, songwriter and musician Agnes Obel has been described as a master of her craft with a bright future ahead of her
when she sings, it’s with the hushed warmth and elegance of Joni Mitchell or Carole King.
Residing in Berlin, her first album, Philharmonics, sold 450,000 copies across Europe, achieving Platinum status in France and Belgium, Gold in Holland and five times Platinum in her native Denmark, where Agnes picked up five Danish Music Awards (the Danish Brits) in 2011 : Best Album Of The Year, Best Pop Release Of The Year, Best Debut Artist Of The Year, Best Female Artist Of The Year and Best Songwriter Of The Year.
Agnes is released her sophomore album Aventine Sept 2013. ‘Aventine’ is a beautiful record, intriguingly unhurried. If the first record was a wander through the forest, this one takes the time to see the beauty and feel the texture in a single leaf. It is at once microcosmic and universal.
All of the songs on ‘Aventine’ were written (music and lyrics), recorded, produced and arranged by Agnes Obel roughly from the beginning of 2012 until late spring 2013, at home in Berlin and in a rented drum studio in the Kreuzberg district. Afficionados may recognize ‘Fuel to Fire’ and ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ from her 2011 shows.
Agnes creates her own world, or as she calls it, a bubble or bell jar, to make her music. Once inside (or should that be outside?), she’s no longer conscious of what’s going on. This is the mystery of her modus operandi, something she cannot explain. Which simply adds to the ethereal quality of her music.
Aventine’ consists mainly of piano, vocal (played and sung by Agnes Obel) and cello.
(Anne Müller also played on Philharmonics and has been a member of the live band since 2009). Three tracks feature violin and viola by Mika Posen, from Canadian band Timber Timbre. ‘Pass Them By’ features guitar by Robert Kondorossi, who also played on ‘Philharmonics’, and ‘Fuel to Fire’ introduces the Scottish harp (played by Gillian Fleetwood). Agnes performs the marvellous balancing act of painting with bolder brushstrokes and more intricate patterns without sacrificing any of the lightness of her being.
The album opens with ‘Chord Left’ – an inviting bridge over the water to ‘Philharmonics’ – and leads into ‘Fuel to Fire’, which sets the filmic tone, zooming in close to the snap and crackle of the flames, then retreating into long shot until the fire is a tiny bright dot in a dark and indistinguishable landscape.
‘The Curse’ and ‘Run Cried the Crawling’ are the songs Agnes sees as best defining ‘Aventine’ as a whole. It is testimony to her clarity of vision and confidence in her craft that she has sought to recreate the framework of her first LP. Having established the parameters, the magic can begin.
Agnes, or rather her music, would be at home in any era – crackling on a fifties jukebox in the diner, soothing the sixties souls at Woodstock, shining like silver spurs in seventies Nashville. Pick any decade. The eighties? She would have made the acoustic stage her own while new wave burned itself out. Trace a line from Bela Bartok to Sandy Denny, from Satie to Lurie (imagine her scoring early Jim Jarmusch movies).
The voice, of course, is at the heart of everything she does. It stays with us long after the needle has lifted from the record.
“To me, sounds have always been more interesting than words. I love it when the voice becomes an instrument and you almost forget it’s a human voice. At the same time I knew I wanted to get closer to something I could regard as my own “speaking” voice in the songs, getting close to something that felt like my own state of mind, story and / or voice.”