Every week, Myf Warhurst shines a spotlight on women who should be peppering your playlist. This week it’s classically trained Danish import Agnes Obel.
In the creative arts, you are more likely to hear enthusiasts wax lyrical about the sleek lines of a mid-century Danish Arne Jacobsen settee, rather than the hottest Danish musical import. Singer/songwriter Agnes Obel might be about to change all that.
Obel’s music shares some of the traits that make Danish design so wonderfully elegant. Her work is gentle, simple and clever and completely avoids any bombastic or grand statements. This is her power. Classically trained, Obel provides her own gentle accompaniment to create an otherworldly musical space with songs that sometimes feel like sketches rather than complete pieces. The piano notes and vocal lines are so delicate they drop around the listener like soft rain. Once you’ve been drawn in, it’s impossible not to investigate her alluring musical world further.
Aventine, Obel’s latest album, her second, feels like a digital detox in musical form. Written in Berlin, where she has lived for many years, it is an unhurried, gentle work, and revels in the space in between the notes as much as it does in the music. Listening to this album is what life would be like if we had time to take notice of where we were, truly felt everything we touched and engaged with the world around us. It’s slightly magical, glorious, and occasionally heartbreaking as well, and always a delightful place to visit.
Single – Dorian
Myfanwy Warhurst is a broadcaster at Double J radio (ABC Australia), TV presenter, Guardian columnist, music nut and general layabout.