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4.7 out of 5 stars92
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 February 2011
Hauntingly beautiful debut album. Excellent late night chill out. For those who appreciate music in its purest form. Has to be one of the best CDs of 2010. Unfortunately will probably not get the recognition it deserves. Cannot recommend highly enough.
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on 20 July 2011
2011 re-release from the singer/songwriter. Originally from Copenhagen but now living in Berlin, Agnes was influenced by Roy Orbison, Sonic Youth and Eric Satie. She is often compared to Joanna Newsom, Ane Brun, St. Vincent and Ricki Lee Jones. This deluxe edition includes a bonus disc with six live tracks recorded in Copenhagen along with 5 Piano Versions of tracks that originally appeared on her studio album. PIAS.

Deluxe Edition Track listing;
1 Falling, Catching
2 Riverside
3 Brother Sparrow
4 Just So
5 Beast
6 Louretta
7 Avenue
8 Philharmonics
9 Close Watch
10 Wallflower
11 Over the Hill
12 On Powdered Ground

Disc 2

13 Smoke & Mirrors [Live In Copenhagen] [Live]
14 Katie Cruel [Live In Copenhagen] [Live]
15 Sons & Daughters [Live In Copenhagen] [Live]
16 Louretta [Live In Copenhagen] [Live]
17 Philharmonics [Live In Copenhagen] [Live]
18 Close Watch [Live In Copenhagen] [Live]
19 Avenue [Piano Session] [Version]
20 Riverside [Piano Session] [Version]
21 Brother Sparrow [Piano Session] [Version]
22 Just So [Piano Session] [Version]
23 On Powdered Ground [Piano Session] [Version]
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on 10 June 2011
One of the joys of internet browsing is that every so often I come across an artist or band, whom I've never previously heard, whose music just makes me shake my head in wonder. This is truly beautiful music and deserves to be widely heard. I'm glad to add my voice to all the other 5 star reviews. This is outstanding music.
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on 13 January 2011
I wanted to buy some new music for my husband which he had never heard, but might like, so I trawled through iTunes listening to samples. I came across Agnes Obel having listened to a ton of stuff and was captivated by the quality of her voice and by the quite entrancing structure and complexity of the music. It was like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.

Her songs are refreshing, deceptively simple, and satisfying, and (intriguingly) it seems impossible that this lovely voice could be coming from the face portrayed on the cover. Nothing wrong with her face at all, but they don't seem to 'match'! Why? Well, her voice is warm, feminine, and confiding, whereas her face seems a little stern and distant.

I asked my husband just now to describe the album in one or two words and he said: 'Delightful! Almost perfect!'.

He went on to say that there are no tracks on the album that he didn't like and want to hear again right from the first time he played it (which is unusual for any album) and added that her voice 'sends shivers down my spine'.

I think that's a thumbs-up!
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Agnes Obel is a Danish singer/songwriter and her album
'Philharmonics' is a perfect little wonder. In some ways it's like
a 17th century Dutch still life of a few household objects laid out
on a well-worn kitchen table : a water jug, a pewter tankard, a loaf
of bread, a dead hare. A glimpse of a life lived simply; a quiet
autobiographical snapshot. Nothing can be added or subtracted
without losing the integrity of the whole. A frozen private world.

Ms Obel has the kind of voice which could easily blow away in
a strong wind and her compositions come and go like half-seen,
half-heard spirits in the heart of an Autumn bonfire's dying embers.

There are a dozen pieces in the set. Ephemeral, fragile and devoid
of any kind of artifice or unnecessary decoration. The intensity she
conjures from the most modest of musical means is astonishing.
Voice, piano, occasional additional subtle instrumentation and
percussion. The project is a sustained effort of will to exclude any
element which might disturb the still surface of the sonic waters.

Title track 'Philharmonics' is an especially beguiling example of the
kind of beauty it is possible to create when the ego is kept in check.
A haunting waltz-time arrangement blessed with some enchantingly
limpid vocal harmonies. It comes and goes like a fleeting daydream.

'Riverside' is a fine song. A ballad whose bare bones are as old as
Methuselha. The folk roots of the melody have a childlike profundity
which speaks to us of lost times and distant ancestral voices.

'Brother Sparrow', too, hints at something far deeper than its
uncluttered raiments initially suggest. A delightful idea, touchingly realised.

Final track 'On Powdered Ground' brings the album
to a stately and quietly majestic close.

Now that she is with us in the listening world Agnes Obel deserves
to be heard. 'Philharmonics' is a truly stunning debut album.
These timeless songs are built to last!

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on 20 March 2014
Purchased this on the back of buying her more recent Aventine album. Some great melodic sounds on here setting the scene for a candle lit bath, that romantic meal at home for two or if you are trying to calm a screaming child!

One worth having in the collection!
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on 22 December 2011
If you like Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles, then there's a very good chance you'll like this... especially if you really like the the background arrangement of cellos and what-not.
Also, if you like Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel, in particular the haromonies, there's a good chance you'll like this)

Also it's unusual to get an album where there is not one song you don't like.

Agnes Obel uses voice(s), Cello (I think), Piano and the odd instrument on other tracks (e.g. Accordion on the live version of Louretta) to creat a sound which is both lush and spare at the same time. There is some kind of subtle percussion on some tracks, but it's so understated, I could not even tell you what it is.

If you like plenty of screeching a la Alanis Morrisette... then look elsewhere. Personally, I like a little bit of discord now and then, e.g. Tori Amos - Space Dogs (in fact if you like her singing Horses, there's a good chance...).

Agnes and her backers have the confidence to sing in a really laid back and melllow way, on some of the songs it almost sounds lazy. For instance on Over the Hill she just sighs out some of the words - and it's just right. I think that I'd say that the vocals are understated, rather than restrained.

Be sure to get the Deluxe version which has an extra CD with live versions and some songs which are not on the Studio CD. It is worth it for Sons and Daughters alone, and the live Louretta is just brilliant. BTW, none of the tracks on the extra CD are duds either.

The live production is just as good as the very good studio production. You only know it's live from the applause at the end.

Enough chat: have a listen on Spottify, or search up tv 5 monde and have a look a the music to see her perform a few songs live. If you like 'em you'll like the lot.

My favourites are Studio CD: Riverside, Beast, Avenue (when the chorus kicks (Foolish...) in, it gives me the same warm feeling as when the main instrumentation kicks in U2's Ultraviolet), Close Watch, Over the Hill, On Powdered Ground; Extra CD: Katie Cruel, Sons & Daughters, Louretta, the instrumental Riverside is very good too - a new twist on the original. I really like the vocal one, but think it could easily be over-played. There is a trip-hop remix of Riverside on the EP, which I will probably buy at some time.
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on 10 March 2011
Beautiful album, but not easy to find in the UK. She has the purest voice and some wonderful calm, mellow songs, full of feeling. I'm off to her concert in a couple of weeks. Can't wait.
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on 15 March 2013
Interesting, timeless and artful songs, the bonus tracks on the extended version are maybe not all 100% of the same class but one forgets this is her first major release. A hint of welcome 21st C. weirdness mixed with a sense of the past puts her nearer to Joanna Newsome than Kate Bush or Suzanne Vega, but somewhere in that area !
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on 27 August 2013
Expect here some relaxed and quiet songs, sung with a pleasingly foreign lilt. Fresh and original, pianos and guitars are the main instruments, especially piano, forming the background to the various vocal melodies. All rather pleasant, and certainly not mind-blowing, stuff. Relax and enjoy, what else can you say?
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