Mirel Wagner – “Oak Tree” Video (Stereogum Premiere)

Mirel Wagner became an Artist To Watch back in 2011 right around when she released her eponymous debut. That album contained some of the most suffocatingly dark folk music you’ll find this decade, songs filled with suicide, death, and in the case of the unshakeable “No Death,” necrophilia. Wagner recorded that album by herself on acoustic guitar in about 48 hours, so it was exciting and nerve-wracking to speculate what might happen when she got bigger and what might happen to that intimate sound. After a recent announcement that she’d signed to Sub Pop, it seemed more likely that 2014 would be the year we find out.

In August, Wagner will return with her second album, When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day. Rather than self-recording, it surprisingly finds Wagner working with dance producer Vladislav Delay, better known by his moniker Luomo, who crafted the 2000 house classic Vocalcity. That pairing might seem strange, but it’s actually a stroke of brilliance. Vocalcity’s greatest achievement was its truly genius sound design especially in regard to the human voice, and that’s exactly what Delay brings to Wagner’s stark, funereal sound. The first single, “Oak Tree,” is absolutely cavernous, as Wagner intones her dark tale, singing from the perspective of a buried corpse as multi-tracked vocals gently moan in the distance. It’s a devastating piece of music that nearly demands a listen on headphones. In addition to Delay, the album features contributions from Oscar winning composer Craig Armstrong. Watch the unsettling video (directed by Wagner and Aki Roukala) below.

When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day:
01 “1 2 3 4″
02 “The Dirt”
03 “Ellipsis”
04 “Oak Tree”
05 “In My Father’s House”
06 “Dreamt Of A Wave”
07 “The Devil’s Tongue”
08 “What Love Looks Like”
09 “Taller Than Tall Trees”
10 “Goodnight”

When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day is out 8/12 via Sub Pop.