© Alexander Gotter

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Music / Indie, Pop / Austria

Presented by: Austrian Music Export

It's a strange balancing act that Ariel Oehl and Hjörtur Hjörleifsson accomplish in their music. The Viennese singer-songwriter and the Icelandic multi-instrumentalist blend floating indie with soul and many harmonic transitions without ever sounding stuffy.

On the one hand, songs such as "Keramik" deliver light, dreamy rhythms that give the ears a warm massage and sound like letting go, like coming home, like contentedness. On the other hand, there's a soft melancholy in this pop romanticism that sounds more like solace than sadness, like the supportive words of a good friend. Austrian pop hasn't been this intimate and approachable in a long time. No matter which subjects the lyrics deal with or which stylistic turns this music takes in the murky space between evening sun and morning twilight, tracks such "Über Nacht" prove it: Oehl's sound gets under your skin, always.

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