Agnes Obel - Aventine

Agnes Obel is a Danish artist currently living in Berlin. In 2010 she presented the first album called "Philharmonics". The title was a bit of a surprise because this music has absolutely nothing in common with a symphony orchestra. Agnes independently wrote the songs and played instrumental parts in them. She also sang, recorded, and produced all the material. Those were extremely intimate compositions with an absolutely minimal number of instruments.

As inspiration she used simple melodies and, as it turns out, it was the right way. Five Danish Music Awards, winning the European Border Breakers Awards, the song "Riverside" was even used in large film production. These are just minor examples of the triumph Agnes celebrated. In September 2013 she returned with a new album and new inspirations. "Aventine" was worth waiting for. The album is kept in the same music climate. Agnes once again decided not to use too many instruments. The piano, strings, and female vocals together are just enough to make brilliant compositions.

Agnes Obel - Aventine
Full album cover.

The artist admits that initially all the songs were composed exclusively for the piano. It is impossible to hide. The fact that it is the piano leading other instruments can be heard clearly throughout the whole disc. While the first album was dominated by simple melodies, on "Aventine" we can find more ambiguity which every listener can interpret individually. Agnes herself admits that she tried to paint pictures, both in words and sounds.

Agnes Obel - Aventine
The recording took place in Chalk Wood Studios in Berlin.

What exactly is her music like? I'll use that word with full responsibility - perfect. On "Aventine" we do not find a single superfluous sound while taking any notes away would result in immediate destruction of the whole structure. Creating such multi-colored, full, complex, and thoughtful stories with a small number of instruments is genius. It's hard to describe individual songs because each of them is kind of a separate story. Each composition is wonderful in its own way. If you just want to start your adventure with Agnes, I recommend "The Curse" or the title song "Aventine", which perfectly reflects the artistry of both composition and execution.

Agnes Obel - Aventine
Agnes Obel's beautiful portrait.

This album is worth recommending, not only because of the music. Also, the quality of the sound is at the highest level. At first, I listened to "Aventine" through Spotify Premium offering high-quality files. But then I had the pleasure of listening to the vinyl version. Natural sound and its clarity is one thing, but the most delightful thing was the soundstage. You can listen to this album over and over again. Agnes Obel is now at the very top of my private list of performers, leaving the competition far behind. I have a feeling she will stay there for a long time.

Agnes Obel - Aventine
A still from "Dorian" official video.

Album info

Artist: Agnes Obel
Title: Aventine
Label: PIAS
Released: 2013
Genre: Chamber Pop, Ambient Pop, Folk
Length: 44:22

Music rating

9/10