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A Little ( More) Night Music
on 30 September 2013
Agnes Obel's 2010 debut 'Philharmonics' was one of my most-loved albums
of that year. I can find no good reason at all to abandon her with the arrival
of her new release 'Aventine'. There are eleven numbers in the collection.
Her inimitably haunting voice can make the hair stand up on the back of your
neck. By turns cold as a mountain stream and warm as a comfortable, treasured,
well-worn sweater, it envelops you in its mysterious embrace. Dreamlike and
utterly beautiful. This is truly a recording to welcome in with open arms!
As in her past work, these piano-led compositions, embellished by occasional
additional instrumentation, subdued percussion and strings weave a glorious
web of sound around her mesmerising vocal performances. Comparisons with some
of Tori Amos' finest moments might not be unwarranted, especially on inventions
such as the exquisite waltz-time title track but Ms Obel is nevertheless the
sole Mistress of her melancholy muse. These are songs to listen to by moonlight.
Standout tracks include the gently flowing and utterly sublime 'Dorian' with
its beautifully tempered vocal harmonies; the curiously bluesy tick-tock of
time passing and mournful cello obligato on 'The Curse' and the delightful
piano miniature 'Tokka', which coming in to land at just a minute and a half
is a little tune of which the Czech composer Janacek might well have been proud.
'Aventine' is a tantalising, magical and utterly unmissable experience.