29 September 2011

Music #2 - Agnes Obel

Here it is - the second instalment of our music posts, which are running for the next two weeks also, bringing you four of our favourite artists/groups for you to discover and enjoy.

Today we are shining the spotlight on the outstanding folk/indie artist, Agnes Obel. Agnes is a danish singer / songwriter, living in Berlin, and my gosh is she special.

The day we met Agnes Obel and her cellist, Anna Muller, April 2011.
(We blogged about this gig back in April, which you can read here.)

We first discovered Agnes about 8 months ago, when perhaps her most famous song Riverside was played on 6Music, and had us immediately hooked. She is a fantastic pianist and an incredible song writer. Her music speaks of magic and mystery to me.

Agnes Obel, 'Riverside' - from her first album Philharmonics.

As well as her obvious musical abilities, I love Agnes' mind. She looks at things in such an interesting way, and seems to have such an extraordinary relationship with her music.

I recently read a fantastic interview with Agnes, by PageDigital, where she described her feelings for her music, which I found to be really interesting...

Obsession? Devotion? Sounds like Obel’s in a heavy relationship. “It’s a love story,” she confirms. “I think it is for everybody who makes music.”

As the songstress lists qualities she admires in music, I suggest they’re similar to ones sought in a lover. “Oh my god,” she laughs, a little shocked. “I don’t know… I think I also look for a friend in a lover. I’m not sure I would say music is my friend.”

Really? “It’s too powerful.” Songs can turn on you, says Obel. Perhaps that’s whey she has such respect for her melodies. What’s she thinking about up on stage, singing lines like: Guess who died, last night, in grey stockings? “Sometimes I just sit there thinking: Oh my god, this is horrible,” she admits, dissolving into laughter.

Extract from PagesDigital, read the full interview here.

In another interview with The Quietus, she described her inspiration...

"I think I get my inspiration from the melody. Sometimes I feel like a melody doesn't have anything to do with me, but it's just something that comes, is accumulated from me playing on the piano, and then this little creature just appears." She giggles quietly. "Then I just follow it, and I don't feel like I'm making it. It's like it makes sense, it wants to go that way, and I feel like sometimes there's a story in it, a little story. Maybe the right hand is playing something and the left is like, 'Oh. It's saying something.' There's a certain atmosphere and mood to it."

Extract from The Quietus, read the full interview here.

I love how intense her relationship with her music is. In some ways it seems to be the love of her life, but in others it seems to be a bit of an enemy. It is incredible how she talks about the lyrics like she didn't consciously write them. It seems as though her music is from within her - it possesses her, controls her mind to form the words and her fingers to form the melody. She is in awe of it, controlled by it, humbled by it, and at the same time perhaps a little afraid of it.

The lyrics quoted in the extract from Pages Digital is actually one of my favourite of her songs, Philharmonics. The lyrics and sounds conjure up eerie, magical and beautiful images in my mind - it is so inspirational.

Agnes Obel, 'Philharmonics' - from her first album Philharmonics.

Philharmonics, her first and only album to date, showcases her talent across the board - where she wrote, played, sang, recorded and produced all of the material herself. There is a good mixture of songs on the album, and some of which are purely instrumental, which I love. The album also includes a cover of John Cale's I keep a close watch (Close Watch), which is beautifully executed.

Agnes is now in the process of writing her next album, which we cannot wait to hear.

Want more?...

Check out Agnes' website: agnesobel.com
Keep up to date on Facebook: facebook.com/agnesobelofficial
Follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/agnesobel
Listen more on Myspace: myspace.com/obelmusic
Buy Philharmonics now: facebook.com/philharmonics

Again, next week we will be releasing the next music post, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on this post - are you a new Agnes fan who will be purchasing the album? An existing fan who wants to share their thoughts? Please feel free to leave us your comments.

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