Danish composer Agnes Obel has called Berlin home since 2006, where she’s produced two full-length albums. And Obel’s success has been self-established: She’s written, arranged, and produced both from start to finish. She and her boyfriend record their own music videos (including this gem on a cellphone camera). Her current tour follows the 2013 release of Aventine, a sophomore effort that unveils Obel’s incandescent blend of chamber music and soundtrack textures. She’ll kick off the North American segment of her current tour at Dakota Jazz Club Wednesday night.
English, the language Obel opts to sing in, is for her a foreign tongue that she picked up from studying different composers at an international music school. Now, both of her albums have seen widespread popularity, including platinum sales in a handful of countries across Europe.
With Aventine, Obel ventures from her roots in classical music, drawing influences from sources including Roy Orbison for her ethereal chamber-pop sound. Playing on the effects of silence, a spare elegance forges a beautiful dissonance in her work. Her voice resonates through the empty spaces she creates, and sparse lyrics arise as if from the melodies themselves. And the wonder is in the clarity she keeps in a fusion between her voice and her piano. It’s as if there were a hidden set of keys beneath her arrangements, and the two were really one instrument. If this segment of the tour is anything like her dates in Europe (just have a look at her setup in Berlin earlier this month), attendees are in for a treat as much visually as musically—simply remarkable.
Agnes Obel – The Dakota – 10/29, dakotacooks.com