On her last album, Citizen of Glass, Agnes Obel explored the idea of humans as transparent creatures: open in their online lives, completely visible for all to see.

To make this album the Danish prodigy layered as many as 250 string parts, and used an arcane synthesiser called the Trautonium. “It’s huge and it can electrocute people,” Agnes noted at the time. Citizen of Glass perfectly reflected the scale and scope of Agnes’ work. On the one hand, intimate. On the other hand: immense, dangerous.

(Read our Q&A with Obel about the album here.)

Again with Obel’s fourth album Myopia we experience an artist whose work is utterly unique. Talking to journalist Tim Peacock, Agnes explains the making of single Island of Doom: “The song is made up of pitched-down piano and cello pizzicato and vocals; all choirs are pitched down and up.” The song addresses loss: “In my experience, when someone close to you dies it is simply impossible to comprehend that you can’t ever talk to them or reach them somehow ever again. They are in many ways still alive because in your consciousness nothing has changed, they’re still there with everyone else you know.”

Among the many themes, Agnes describes Myopia as embodying one of trust and doubt: “Can you trust yourself or not? Can you trust your own judgments? Can you trust that you will do the right thing? Can you trust your instincts and what you are feeling? Or are your feelings skewed?” There’s nothing uncertain, though, about the precision and skill of Obel’s craft. Myopia is a clear-sighted and balanced work of beauty.

Myopia by Agnes Obel is out February 21 via Deutsche Grammophon/ABC.

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