Agnes Obel took to the stage of the ABC in Glasgow to promote her most recent album, Citizens of Glass, on the evening of the UK’s General Election, and eased the audience about the repercussions with her ambient dulcet sounds, music that would be fit for a floatation tank. After winning the IMPALA European Independent Album of the Year award with this most recent record, her Danish, cosmopolitan background seems somewhat significant during a time in politics when issues like Brexit and immigration are at the forefront of people’s minds.
Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel, born in 28 October 1980 in Gentofte, Copenhagen is a singer, songwriter and musician, who released her first album, Philharmonics, by PIAS Recordings in October 2010 and was certified gold in June 2011 by the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA) for sales of 10,000 Copies. At the Danish Music Awards in November 2011, Agnes Obel won five prizes including: Best Album and Best Debut Artist. Released in October 2016 by Play It Again Sam, Citizen of Glass is the third album of the Berlin-based artist. Obel has formed a strong and successful relationship with Play It Again Sam since the release of this first album.
With an abundance of talented women on stage playing a multitude of instruments: cellos, strings, loop station, fx, drums, Omni chord, keyboards, we are treated to a beautifully eclectic and layered, textural sounds. Playing tracks such as It’s Happening Again and Golden Green, Obel elegantly moved across the stage, with a visual projection that interestingly added a glass effect to coincide with the promotion of the album. Her dulcet vocals, appropriate music about revolution on a night such as this all very hauntingly atmospheric, cinematic, Danny Elfman-like at times, which did also remind me of Natasha Khan, known to most as Bat for Lashes, was enough to keep me interested and entertained. However, the double exposure visual projection is not just quite enough visually to stimulate the audience, which did not seem as engaged in the venue as I have seen them there at previous gigs.
One particular track was reminiscent of Radiohead’s Life in a Glasshouse, with it’s cello slide, but as with a lot of ambient music there was little to engage with aside from Agnes’ charm. With somewhat of an Icelandic, intriguing sound, she does irk the venue with gorgeously layered songs such as Stretch Your Eyes and Riverside, a sedate gig to calm our nerves before we head home to deal with the real world, post-election.
To find out more and Agnes Obel and upcoming gigs click here.