Have you ever heard a Trautonium played? It is a “fragile, metal-keyed synthesiser from the late 1920s of which only two models exist.” It sounds like glass. Agnes Obel managed to get hold of one to perform on ‘Citizen of Glass.’ It’s an album inspired by the German concept of ‘Gläserner Bürger’. The title’s literal translation means “the amount of available information about each and one of us: how transparent we are to those who look at and for us.”

Just like glass, Agnes Obel’s music is delicate yet shielding, something you can see through but can’t directly touch. The Danish Berlin-based musician plays with historical instruments, like the spinet and celesta, putting them side by side with sampled sounds and voices so manipulated that they shift out of herself to become someone else all together. This happens on ‘Familiar’, where her timbre is pitched down to create a duet with a male voice.

Maintaining her distinctive elegant mood, Obel’s music here is more concrete than in her previous works, making an album that’s both a compelling and charming listen.