December 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Agnes Obel – Aventine (Deluxe Edition)

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Agnes Obel
Aventine (Deluxe Edition)
Play It Again Sam/PIAS America
Street: 10.06
Agnes Obel = Joanna Newsom + Feist / Ane Brun

Last year, Agnes Obel’s dark, breathy vocals and classic instrumental composition sent me to a blissed-out dreamscape, fluctuating between austerity and precision, and a foggy ecstasy. Thus, it became my favorite release of 2013. This year, Aventine is being re-released with an entire disc of live recordings, bonus tracks and a couple of remixes (including a David Lynch remix and a Daniel Matz rework). Two of the bonus tracks, “September Song” and “Under Giant Trees” are instrumental tracks— the former being a highly technical yet breathtaking piano duet, while the latter features a melancholy string trio. The two together create an interesting contrast between a pensive number and a spritely duet. Mashed in the middle of these two opposing pieces is “Arches,” which is a nice stepping stone between the two, using Obel’s crystalline vocals and shadowy piano work to create a multi-faceted experience of playfulness and gravity. Don’t miss this one. –Allison Shephard

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