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AIR (NL+E)

Artiest / Band: 
AGUA DE ANNIQUE
AGUA DE ANNIQUE Air

Na dertien jaar in The Gathering te hebben gezongen, dat in 1999 begon met het album Mandylion, vond Anneke van Giersbergen het tijd worden om haar eigen ideeën op de plaat te gaan zetten. Het resultaat daarvan is de band Agua De Annique die met Air een album uitbrengt dat is geïnspireerd op het beroep van stewardess. Het album bevat dertien songs die Anneke grotendeels zelf schreef. Haar geweldige stem draagt de muziek die verder wordt vertolkt door Joris Dirks (gitaar), Jacques De Haard (bas) en Rob Snijders (drums), terwijl Anneke naast haar zangpartijen ook piano speelt. Als je de muziek van Agua De Annique zou moeten categoriseren vallen termen als alternatieve rock en rockpop, maar ik vind dat er ook een psychedelisch element inzit, iets meeslepends en bijna iets magisch. Hoewel zeer ingetogen en sober is de muziek voortreffelijk qua sfeer die zo nu en dan op de juiste momenten wordt aangevuld met mannelijke achtergrondzang of met gastmuzikanten op onder meer trompet en fluit. Het strijkarrangement op Ice Water is smaakvol en past eveneens perfect. De sfeer op Air valt te vergelijken met Hotel, het project van Porcupine Tree-voorman Steven Wilson en Tim Bowness,  maar ook met No-Man of het latere werk van Talk Talk. Het gemak waarmee Anneke haar stem laat variëren van krachtig tot zoetgevooisd en van gewone zangstem naar kopstem is indrukwekkend. Slechts zo nu en dan is er sprake van wat steviger, uptempo werk zoals in You Are Nice of het door Kristin Fjellseth gecomponeerde Sunken Soldiers Ball, die nog enigermate aan Annekes vorige band doen denken. Van Giersbergen wordt ten slotte begeleid op de akoestische gitaar in het prachtige Lost And Found en in Asleep.

Air is een buitengewoon goed album van een van de beste zangeressen die Nederland in dit genre kent.

ENGLISH:

For thirteen years, the Dutch singer Anneke van Giersbergen has been fronting “The Gathering”, a ‘gothic rock’ outfit from the Netherlands, and started recording with them in 1999 on the Mandylion album. After having acclaimed international recognition as a singer and having appeared on records from internationally well known artists as Ayreon and Wetton/Downes, she felt it was time to move on and to make an attempt to put her own ideas on to a disc. Inspired by the phenomenon “stewardess”, she wrote the thirteen songs on “AIR” mostly singlehandedly. Anneke plays piano on the album too and her truly amazing voice fits her music perfectly fine and with this album she also proves to be a good and talented songwriter. Together with Anneke the musicians playing on this album are Joris Dirks on guitars, Jacques De Haard on the bass and Rob Snijders on the drums.

To categorize Agua de Annique’s music is somewhat difficult but one could call it a blend of ‘alternative’ and ‘rock/pop’, but to my taste there some influences from the psychedelic seventies as well. Listening to Anneke’s voice, singing her own melodies, has got something really touching, catchy and almost magical at the same time.
Most of the songs are gentle, focused on voice and melody, with only modest arrangements but extremely well composed to create the perfect slightly mystical atmosphere. Only occasionally there’s male background vocals or contributions by guest-musicians on trumpet and flute.
The strings on “Ice Water” are very tastefull as well. As far as this mystical atmosphere is concerned, Agua de Annique’s music is in the same vein as some of the tunes by Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree/No-Man) and Tim Bowness or by Talk Talk on their “Spirit Of Eden” album. Impressive are the different ways Anneke is using her voice: she switches very easily from her usual style of singing to falsetto and also from very sweet to really powerful.
Just a few tracks are more ‘heavy’ and up tempo like “You Are Nice” or “Sunken Soldiers Ball”, composed by her fellow musician Kristin Fjellseth, relating to Anneke’s previous work with “The Gathering”.
At the end of this superb album, van Giersbergen is accompanied merely by the acoustic guitar on the beautiful tracks “Lost And Found” and “Asleep”.

In conclusion I’d say this is an unusually good album, well recorded and produced, by undoubtedly one of the best Dutch vocalists in the genre of gothic/rock/pop/alternative.
Website: http://www.aguadeannique.com