12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel’s sophomore album is a sustained act of dark seduction, filled with shifting atmospheres and buried emotions that never fully reveal themselves. Aventine often has the stately elegance of a classical recital, though the desires seething underneath always threaten to break through its sometimes prim surfaces. The album’s stark piano lines are reinforced by insinuating string arrangements that twitch, swoon, and caress according to the needs of each song. Obel’s singing is restrained yet evocative, combining subtle jazzy accents with a waiflike quality that suggests a precocious child daydreaming on a winter’s day. Tracks like the pensive “Fuel to Fire,” the bittersweet “Pass Them By," and the ghostly, bleakly romantic “Run Cried the Crawling” evoke classic film soundtracks through their fragmented imagery and gauzy orchestrations. The prickly tingle of the title tune finds balance in the lullaby-like languor of “Smoke & Mirrors.” “The Curse” stands out for its eerie yet inviting pictures of decay and renewal, reinforced by plucked strings and sweetly cooed vocals.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel’s sophomore album is a sustained act of dark seduction, filled with shifting atmospheres and buried emotions that never fully reveal themselves. Aventine often has the stately elegance of a classical recital, though the desires seething underneath always threaten to break through its sometimes prim surfaces. The album’s stark piano lines are reinforced by insinuating string arrangements that twitch, swoon, and caress according to the needs of each song. Obel’s singing is restrained yet evocative, combining subtle jazzy accents with a waiflike quality that suggests a precocious child daydreaming on a winter’s day. Tracks like the pensive “Fuel to Fire,” the bittersweet “Pass Them By," and the ghostly, bleakly romantic “Run Cried the Crawling” evoke classic film soundtracks through their fragmented imagery and gauzy orchestrations. The prickly tingle of the title tune finds balance in the lullaby-like languor of “Smoke & Mirrors.” “The Curse” stands out for its eerie yet inviting pictures of decay and renewal, reinforced by plucked strings and sweetly cooed vocals.

TITLE TIME
2:29
5:29
4:48
4:08
4:26
1:30
5:53
3:31
3:46
1:59
2:59
3:24

About Agnes Obel

Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel, born Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel on October 28, 1980, took up the piano at a very young age, honing her craft amidst the strains of Bartok and Chopin emanating from the fingers of her musician mother. She later drew inspiration from the work of Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson, and it was between those two worlds that her own sound began to emerge. Citing influences as diverse as PJ Harvey and Claude DeBussy, and drawing comparisons to the likes Ane Brun, Eva Cassidy, and Joni Mitchell, Obel's 2010 debut, Philharmonics, was written (with the exception of a cover of John Cale's “I Keep a Close Watch”), performed and produced by the artist herself. Pure, austere, and remarkably poised, the pristine mix of instrumentals and atmospheric, melancholy balladry, was both a critical and commercial success, especially in her native Denmark, where the record went double platinum. Composed, produced, arranged, and mixed by Obel herself at Chalk Wood Studios, 2013's impressionistic Aventine was another commercial success, charting in nine countries. For her much anticipated third studio album, 2016's transparency-themed Citizen of Glass, Obel experimented with vintage synthesizers, as well as her own voice, which is at times heavily modulated. ~ James Christopher Monger

  • ORIGIN
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • BORN
    October 28, 1980

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