Philharmonics (album)

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Philharmonics
Studio album by Agnes Obel
Released 4 October 2010 (2010-10-04)
Recorded 2004–2010
Genre Folk, classical, indie pop
Label PIAS
Producer Agnes Obel
Agnes Obel chronology
Philharmonics
(2010)
Aventine
(2013)
Singles from Philharmonics
  1. "Riverside"
    Released: 30 May 2010 (2010-05-30)
  2. "Just So"
    Released: 8 October 2010 (2010-10-08)
  3. "Brother Sparrow"
    Released: 31 October 2011 (2011-10-31)

Philharmonics is the first studio album by the Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel. It was released from 17 September 2010 by PIAS. The album received positive reviews from both Danish and international music critics. Philharmonics peaked at number one in Denmark and Belgium, and charted inside the top ten in France and the Netherlands. The album has sold 450,000 copies in Europe.[1]

Inspirations[edit]

Obel cited Erik Satie as an influence on many of the compositions: "I am a huge fan of his work on silences. I like also his uses of repetitive sequences, almost hypnotic. That gives extremely strong pieces, calms and powerful at the same time."[2]

According to the singer, “The texts come from the melody, its atmosphere, the piano (…) They also speak about the uncertainty of the future and undoubtedly of the feeling of loneliness, but without the anger which, for me, is not a musical engine”.[3]

Philarmonics's lyrics are simple, mysterious and allegoric. Philippe Cornet says, "The texts in question sound like metaphors of love, death, impetuosities of nature or sudden rustles of the city."[3]

Philharmonics contains three titles that are purely instrumental: "Falling, Catching", "Louretta" and "Wallflower".

"Just So" was used in a Deutsche Telekom commercial in Germany.[4] Three songs from the album were on the soundtrack of the 2009 film Submarino.[5] "Riverside" was used in the episode "Not Responsible" of Grey's Anatomy and in episode 12 of the second season of Offspring. It was again played in the episode "What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?" from The CW hit series Ringer.[6]

The ABC television show Revenge have used two songs from this album in their show. "Avenue" was played in the episode "Trust and "Riverside" was played in the episode entitled Duplicity.[7]

The German Director Markus Thoess used a couple of songs for the documentary "Tod einer Scientologin" - (Death of a Scientologist) that was broadcast in 2012 on NDR and feb 2013 in ARD, first German Channel.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Philharmonics earned generally positive reviews with, for example, James Skinner from the BBC saying that "the compositions... are slow, sombre, sepulchral even, but not without a sense of occasionally singular beauty".[8]

In the French cultural magazine Les Inrockuptibles, Johanna Seban speaks about a "disarming purity" and states, "There is, in these deeply melancholic ballads, the clearness and reassuring nobility of bedside discs."[9]

In Musicomh, Ben Edgell wrote, "Obel sings with a hushed and tender grace that waxes wistful and serene over yearning cello, harp, and piano vignettes. She's a fey siren, with a dusky, near-whispered vocal that speaks to Ane Brun or Eva Cassidy."[10]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album entered the charts at number four in Denmark on 15 October 2010. On its thirteenth week on the chart, on 7 January 2011, the album rose to number one[11] and spent seven consecutive weeks at number one.[11] It has since been certified five-times platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for sales of 100,000 units.[12] Philharmonics peaked at number one in France. It has since been certified platinum by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) for sales of 100,000 units.[13] It also peaked at number one on the Belgian Albums Chart in Wallonia.[14] Philharmonics has since been certified gold by the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA) for sales of 10,000 units.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Agnes Obel, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Falling, Catching"   1:33
2. "Riverside"   3:48
3. "Brother Sparrow"   3:58
4. "Just So"   3:35
5. "Beast"   3:50
6. "Louretta"   2:06
7. "Avenue"   4:07
8. "Philharmonics"   3:33
9. "Close Watch" (John Cale) 4:00
10. "Wallflower"   2:26
11. "Over the Hill"   2:48
12. "On Powdered Ground"   4:07

Deluxe Edition[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
Progress by Take That
Danish Albums Chart number-one album
15 October 2010 – 18 February 2011
Succeeded by
Showtime by TV-2
Preceded by
Dans l'œil des Enfoirés by Les Enfoirés
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) number-one album
30 April 2011 –
Succeeded by
Incumbent

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing country, record label, and format
Region Date Label Format Edition
Germany[32] 17 September 2010 (2010-09-17) PIAS Recordings CD, LP Standard
Denmark[33] 4 October 2010 (2010-10-04) CD
France[34] CD, LP
Netherlands[35] 22 October 2010 (2010-10-22) CD
United States[36] 22 October 2010 (2010-10-22) Digital download
France[17] 7 February 2011 (2011-02-07) French digital bonus tracks
Germany[18] 22 April 2011 (2011-04-22) CD Deluxe Edition
Denmark[37] 2 May 2011 (2011-05-02)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Agnes Obel Aventine release 30. september". MT Promotion. MyPressWire. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Millecamps, Matthieu (13 September 2011). "La Grâce neturelle de Mademoiselle Obel". 
  3. ^ a b Cornet, Philippe (5 May 2011). 1195003446801.htm "Il faut laisser la mélodie décider du texte". FocusVif. 
  4. ^ Schlosser, Rune (4 October 2010). "Agnes Obel – Ny melodisk klaverpop". Gaffa. Retrieved 14 October 2010.  (Danish)
  5. ^ Kønigsfeldt, Amalie (7 October 2010). obel-philharmonics "Agnes Obel – en symfoni af vellyd". Soundvenue. Retrieved 14 October 2010.  (Danish)
  6. ^ "Ringer Music". 8 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Agnes Obel on Revenge". wearerocksteady.com. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ Skinner, James (6 October 2010). "Agnes Obel Philharmonics Review". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Seban, Johanna (9 December 2010). "Agnes Obel La Pureté désarmante". Les Inrockuptibles. 
  10. ^ Edgell, Ben (4 October 2010). "Agnes Obel Philharmonics". Musicomh. 
  11. ^ a b c "danishcharts.com – Agnes Obel – Philharmonics". Hitlisten. Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Guld og platin 2011" (in Danish). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c "Agnes Obel Platinum in France". PIAS Recordings. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "ultratop.be – Agnes Obel – Philharmonics". Ultratop (in French). ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "LES DISQUES D'OR/DE PLATINE – SINGLES – 2011". Ultratop (in French). ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "Philharmonics by Agnes Obel – Download Philharmonics on iTunes". iTunes Store. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Philharmonics: Agnes Obel: Amazon.fr: Téléchargements MP3" (in French). Amazon.fr. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "Philharmonics (Deluxe Version): Agnes Obel: Amazon.de: Musik" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "ultratop.be – Agnes Obel – Philharmonics". Ultratop (in Dutch). ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "dutchcharts.nl – Agnes Obel – Philharmonics". MegaCharts (in Dutch). Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "lescharts.com – Agnes Obel – Philharmonics". SNEP (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  22. ^ "Newcomer-Charts: Hanauer Band feiert besten Neueinstieg" (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  23. ^ "Agnes Obel – Philharmonics – hitparade.ch". Swiss Music Charts (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  24. ^ "Album 2010 Top-100". Danish Albums Chart (in Danish). Nielsen Music Control. 2010. Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. 
  25. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN 2011" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  26. ^ "RAPPORTS ANNUELS 2011". Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  27. ^ http://www.webcitation.org/64uMyOSLI
  28. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN - SINGLE 2011". Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  29. ^ "Classement Albums - année 2011" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  30. ^ http://www.webcitation.org/6EnVG0BAD
  31. ^ "Certificeringer" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  32. ^ "Philharmonics: Agnes Obel: Amazon.de: Musik" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  33. ^ "Philharmonics - Obel Agnes - Musik" (in Danish). CDON.COM. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  34. ^ "Philarmonics : Agnes Obel: Amazon.fr: Musique:" (in French). Amazon.fr. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  35. ^ "bol.com | Philharmonics, Agnes Obel" (in Dutch). bol.com. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  36. ^ "Amazon.com: Philharmonics: Agnes Obel: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  37. ^ "Philharmonics - Deluxe Edition (2CD) - Obel Agnes - Musik" (in Danish). CDON Group. Retrieved 28 March 2011.