Agnes Obel - Myopia
Since Andersen it is known that mermaids are Danish. One of them makes a lot of efforts to keep the custom up. She’s been singing and enchanting us since 2010 and her hit "Riverside".
Myopia is an album you leave, then take back. Then leave again. Then take back again. Perpetual motion?
This review ditto. I had noted a couple of things, just in case. Then dropped it. Perfunctory, for once. I hesitated to do it. And I had already handled Citizen of Glass. Wasn’t the Danish woman famous enough already? Weren’t her pieces self-sufficient already, so that there was nothing to add? Finally, the desire to put my magnifying glass on this "myopia" was the strongest.
So this special artist goes on operating digital process of voices (of her voice), transforming it into a male voice sometimes, like she already did in "Familiar", sometimes verging on a choir all on her own (finale of "Can't Be")! The lyrics are often impossible to follow, for the voice layers are mixed up so much ("Broken Sleep") or dismantled, or going into modulations on vowels (like the heady chorus of "Promise Keeper"). Snippets remain.
The eponymous "Myopia" holds the key to the riddle: you lose your eyesight little by little like you lose your mind, and you go to myopia like you sink into insanity, drip by drip. Especially as the word 'myopia' can also be seen as a contraction of "my utopia".
Besides the usual keyboards and strings, you’ll notice the percussions, sometimes sophisticated sometimes... nonexistent, as well as some stereo ("Camera's Rolling") as fantastic as the sleeve is no good.
The link "Broken Sleep" - "Can't Be" establishes an amazing bridge between 2 distant moments of the album, strengthening a genuine coherence.
For "Won't You Call Me", I’m not on the trip. I keep standing at the platform, impassive. For the finish, it’s a bit of a pity. Except that... Even after the listen is over I struggle to rouse myself from this reverie which maintains the loony illusion I still can hear a few notes of piano resonating in the distance. Or maybe the song of the siren...
The instrumental tracks, 3 in number, in strange names of a "Parliament of Owls", of a carnivorous plant ("Drosera") and of "Roscian", are the shortest – and the only ones below 3 minutes. In my opinion, the absence of voices, rather than the absence of lyrics, prevents a too long musical development for the one who could have been neurologist, because the transmissions enthral her, either from brain to body or from sounds to mind.
By the way, if by chance you don’t like her voice, there are instrumental versions of most songs.
The precursory single "Island of Doom" is the longest one, with its 5 and half minutes of waking dream and tragic pleasure.
Island of Doom
Won't You Call Me
“I'm just another fool for the earth to swallow” ("Island of Doom")