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Latitude: Agnes Obel review

17:58 19 July 2014

Latitude Festival at Henham Park. Pic: Ben Kendall/PA Wire

Latitude Festival at Henham Park. Pic: Ben Kendall/PA Wire

“We are playing instruments that are not supposed to be played at a festival.”

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Agnes Obel’s four-piece band – three strings and Obel herself on piano – may not have been the typical set-up for the BBC Radio 6 Music stage, but the Danish singer-songwriter’s impeccably crafted songs needed nothing else.

Performing tracks from her two albums, Philarmonics and Aventine, the lunchtime crowd were given a blissful experience full of warm strings and towering, looped atmospherics.

Best known track, Riverside, was the example. An aching cello glissando to introduce it, before layers of plucked strings and rhythmic piano chords built to a crescendo.

Elfin and ethereal, she inevitably draws comparisons to the likes of Laura Marling and Kate Bush. What sets her apart are the complex soundscapes she creates with simple elements. They are songs that have a tendency to creep up on you.

Melvin Benn picked Obel as one of his festival highlights, saying she was a “hidden superstar”. More performances like today, and she won’t be hidden for long.

Andrew Fitchett

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