The light / dark Anna von Hausswolff | Ceremony 5/5
Introduction to the Ceremony, says a lot about Anna von Hausswolff as a musician, songwriter and performer. The first track Epitaph of Theodor starts with church organ, explodes in a redemptive melody, the song comes first after ten minutes, right in the second song Deathbed with a monotone weight that is reminiscent of the American band Earth Gothic landscape dreams. Anna von Hausswolff has moved on, she explores various moods and takes in his songs in a different space. Not afraid to challenge herself and his listeners. And once you are there, inside the music, entwined by the church organ’s sound-world, engulfed by the mighty introduction, the effect is even greater when it will pop songs, ballads, every song is its own chapter in a larger story.
The album was recorded in Annedalskyrkan. But forget the biblical references. It’s a private trek. She discovered the church organ sound in a synth, but was eager to play on real organs, and with musician and producer Filip Leyman, and a few other musicians (Christopher Cantillo, Daniel Ögren, Karl Vento and his sister Maria von Hausswolff on vocals) has become a hour-long album that surpasses the debut album Singing from the grave.
It is the combination of an exceptional freedom of expression and balance of the meeting between voice and music, between different types of songs, which makes Anna von Hausswolff music unusual. Just like at Old beauty / Now you can die from the last album, it is quite obvious when she suddenly sings in Swedish in “Sova”, with classical soprano voice, or when the song is lost again, the No-body there droneklanger and spooky sound creeps up from underground. An unexpected move, sure, but everything is connected, it strengthens the whole, the various songs enrich each other.
Darkness in the titles and subtitles. But as much light. Mountains Crave is a pop song with a positive feeling. Funeral for my future children, despite the title of a tune that takes off, spins forward, the river with both living and dead. Liturgy of Light is a ballad with an electric guitar opens the window in the church and pick some more moving clouds. Instruments speak Epitaph of Daniel sneaks into a Twin Peaks-tune. I hesitate a little before the electric guitars on some songs, going into the atmospheric dream rock à la Sigur Rós, but here is a balance, counterbalance the organ, complementary colors.
Had the album been as good without the church organ? I do not think so. It happens something with the songs, listen to the Red Sun, with just vocals and organ. Deep. And the presence, in space, is total.
Photo by Casper Christoffersen