“Late Night Tales” by Agnes Obel

"Late Night Tales" by Agnes Obel is Northern Transmissions 'Song of the Day'
"Late Night Tales" by Agnes Obel

Late Night Tales recently announced their latest instalment to their long-running artist-curated mix series, this time helmed by Danish artist Agnes Obel, out May 25th. Previous contributors to the LNT series have included BadBadNotGood, Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins, The Flaming Lips, Four Tet, MGMT, Röyksopp, Bonobo, and more. The first single, Inger Christensen’s “Poem About Death,” is set to original music by Abel and is exclusive to this mix.

“To me, sounds have always been more interesting than words,” says Agnes. “I love it when the voice becomes an instrument and you almost forget it’s a human voice.” Never is this more apt than on this beautifully programmed and bewitching selection of music.

For her Late Night Tales mix, it feels almost as if Obel has scoured the world looking for kindred spirits – or kindred songs. There’s a quietude about it all, the antithesis of a rush hour, like a frozen lake on a Sunday morning. This is aided by a veritable cornucopia of new Obel material, including a haunting reading of Danish song “Glemmer Du”, the aforementioned ‘”Poem About Death”, and an Agnes original, “Bee Dance”.

Among them, there’s the enigmatic Jamaican singer Nora Dean who weighs in with the hypnotic and slinky Duke Reid production, “Ay Ay Ay Ay (Angie-Lala)” and the sparse, sardonic “Party Girl” by Michelle Gurevich, so good it inspired the eponymous French movie. There are the plangent voices, The Bulgarian Folklore Choir, Nina Simone, Ray Davies and Obel herself, ringing true. Somehow, Obel makes even the electronic tracks bow to her needs; as with Yello, whose “Great Mission” is more Martin Denny than Underworld. Cult Greek composer Lena Platonos’ “Bloody Shadows From Afar” pulses gently rather than throbs, and Can’s recently rediscovered “Obscura Primavera”, unusually hushed.

“I was surprised at how much time I ended up spending on this. I collected all the songs together with my partner Alex and we just spent time listening to records, trying to see what would fit together. Some of the music I’ve included here is on mixtapes we made when we were just friends as teenagers. Each one of the tracks produces stories in my head.”

Agnes Obel
Late Night Tales

01. Henry Mancini – The Evil Theme
02. Roger Webb – Moonbird
03. Eden Ahbez – Eden’s Island
04. Lee Hazelwood – The Nights
05. Nora Dean – Ay Ay Ay Ay (Angle-Lala)
06. Yello – Great Mission
07. Quarteto Em Cy with Tamba Trio – Aleluia
08. Lena Platonos – Bloody Shadows From A Distance
09. Ray Davies – I Go To Sleep
10. Alfred Schnittke – Piano Quintet, V
11. Agnes Obel – Stretch Your Eyes (Ambient Acapella)
12. The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Choir – Pilentze Pee (Pilentze Sings)
13. Agnes Obel – Glemmer Du – Exclusive Cover Version
14. Agnes Obel – Bee Dance – Exclusive
15. Sibylle Baier – The End
16. Michelle Gurevich – Party Girl
17. CAN – Oscura Primavera
18. David Lang – I Lie
19. Nina Simone – Images (Live In New York 1964)
20. Agnes Obel – Poem About Death – Exclusive