Agnes Obel – Aventine

Agnes ObelAgnes Obel’s Aventine treads a frightening path through the scales of human emotion; at once beautifully haunting and disturbingly effortless. Using the piano and Obel’s prevalent classical training, her talent comes alive and grows with each listen of her second studio attempt. The result is an enveloped audience, speechless in their reflection.

The Copenhagen artist has previously garnered heavy and reasonable comparison to Tori Amos. However on Aventine there’s something distinctly Jesco Hoop-esque to Agnes Obel’s stride. Her vocals are empowering, boasting a strength lacking from her debut album Philharmonics. Fortunately, they also retain the delicate and soul searching quality that first found her fame. There’s no better example of this than “Rub Cried the Crawling”. Desperate, lost and lonely, the song also manages to convey a stubbornness and determination to survive.

Aventine is cinematic to the point of replicating certain pivotal moments in televised and silverscreen drama. The minor twinkle of Six Feet Under echoes throughout. The devouring “Dorian” particularly resembles the devastation of an award winning performance. The soundtracks of Pan’s Labyrinth, The Reader and Tideland also weight in as outside influences. Unsurprisingly these films are heavily emotive and/or drenched in fairytale. The effect of their call on Aventine is a breath cut painfully short. Whether deliberate or not, Agnes Obel can replicate a three hour long story in the simple flex of her wrist.

That said, no one can claim this pianist borrows her success from elsewhere. Aventine is an extraordinarily original piece and Obel is unlike any other artist currently in practice. The aforementioned “Dorian” is an immediate standout, culminating the best bits of Obel’s résumé and slowly, softly but forcefully releasing them within five minutes. Instrumental track “Tokka” proves Obel capable of drenching a tissue without even opening her mouth. Following track “The Curse” builds the listener’s self esteem up once more before “Fivefold” intoxicates the heart. Aventine’s careful structure means it acts as a rollercoaster ride of feelings that will leave you in a state of emotional shock, yet still calling out for more.

The piano is not an easy instrument to master in terms of ‘independent’ or alternative music, but here the singer songwriter draws her curtains with skill. There’s no other word for it; Aventine is a masterpiece.

Release: 30th September 2013, Play It Again Sam


One Response to “Agnes Obel – Aventine”


    1. Agnes Obel @ The Lantern, Colston Hall, Bristol, 22/10/2013 | DRUNKENWEREWOLF - 28/10/2013

      […] Read our review of Agnes Obel's Aventine here. […]

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