Esther Maria – Arms Above


My four day break away from the internet connection has left me with several half-written posts and about a half-a-dozen new discoveries. As you’ll find out if you stick with us throughout the week; most of them fit into what in the broadest sense could be regarded as quality synth-pop. But before we dwell ourselves further into glossy synthesizers and drum-machinery, let me present you a woman and her guitar.

“Arms Above” is a scaled back dream-pop of the highest caliber. Esther Maria’s beautiful voice is a joyous encounter, echoing the early 90’s sound of Mazzy Star and more recently, Violet’s “Where the Wild Things Grow”.

The man behind the lush recording is the legendary producer Mark Kramer, most notable as the producer and discoverer of the renowned slow-core band Low, as well as the producer of Galaxie 500’s entire oeuvre. To top things of, Kramer is also the creative genius behind Urge Overkill’s atmospheric cover of “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”.

With Kramer’s hand on the knobs, Esther Marie’s beautiful voice is given a lot of room to breathe and fully form into a catalyzer of drifting emotions. The lovely piano-solo and the sweeping synthesizers (yes, there is a bit more to it and just a guitar) guides you through the middle parts, forming a temporary break from Esther Marie’s heartfelt vocals. Kramer manages to create an atmospheric and somewhat unsettling ambiance that transforms the song well and beyond any form of mediocrity. There is a slight feeling of heartache and sorrow in Marie’s voice, as if she knows what’s down does paths all too well.  “Arms Above” is a lush, poetic and dreamy journey – a sure must on any drifter’s or dreamer’s playlist.

“Arms Above” is lifted of the Danish singer’s full-length debut, The Abyss and was inspired by Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, written by Tom Waits and Philip Glass. While I hadn’t yet found the time to fully absorb into its beauty; The Abyss is an enigmatic and poetic road well worth traveling.

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