There are very few voices that captivates me and transports me into a beautiful world of magical fantasy than Agnes Obel. No matter what ever be the scene, situation or circumstance, Agnes’s heavenly voice creates that ethereal, ambient and truly cinematic experience and soothes my soul and put me in a beautiful trance in a medieval mystery adventure with kings, queens, dungeons and dragons and the mystical forest, with her haunting piano and string driven compositions. For her fans and music lovers, her enigmatic personality matches her style of music perfectly, and she must be heard more and more. So, don’t make a second thought about it, she will captivate you. And this post is my take on her music.
Born Agnes Caroline Tharoop Obel, in 1980, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Agnes took up the piano at a very early age. Her parents were into music, which created her interest in music and particularly in the piano, which is one the main instruments played in almost all her music. Her mother used to play classical on the piano. Agnes was never forced in to learning the piano in a particular genre, so she played it the way she liked and wanted. She was influenced by the music of Swedish Jazz pianist Jan Johansson, and her mother’s playing of Bartok and Chopin influenced her sound. And I believe the sound she created is an unique sound of melancholy beauty. Her musical influences range from P J Harvey to Claude Debussy, Ane Brun and others.
To me, she is remarkable in her poise, austere and musical sophistication which influences me very much and keeps me deeply moved and engrossed every time I hear her songs.
Her debut album Philharmonics, came out in 2010, was written, produced and directed by herself. The album boasts of beautiful songs like Falling, Catching, Riverside, Just So, Avenue and many more poignant compositions creating the mystery and beauty of a fantasy land.
The second album, one of her biggest, Aventine, out in 2011, is a grand musical experience, though very simple and ethereal compositions, piano and string based, with her hypnotic voice and choruses. It takes me on a floating journey with my eyes closed, through some mystical forest, fairylands and ancient kingdoms.
Her second album, Aventine, boasts of much of the beauty of her music in songs like Aventine, Dorian, Fuel to Fire and many more. She worked with very few instruments, in a closed room, filling it up with voices and beautiful sounds, big enough to create spacial soundscapes, but with again very few arrangements and simple compositions. And you really have to listen to the album in it’s entirety to enjoy the beauty of it.
Citizen of Glass by Agnes Obel
In 2016, she released her third studio album, Citizen of Glass. The title itself is a mystery, speaks out about Agnes’s interest to talk about the level of privacy modern citizens actually have, and if made of glass, then much is know of everybody. She talks about the myriad of emotions, obsessions we possess about others and ourselves, in a claustrophobic way, clouding our minds. Her musical style intact, she introduces several exotic instruments in this album, creating a surrealistic and enigmatic musical experience.