If you decide to enter into Anna Von Hausswolff’s world of drones, cacophony and darkness, if you desire the experience of her mighty roar from the depths of the dark Scandinavian soil, if you venture into the mists of her imagination, if you wish to entangle yourself in the complexities of her spiralling melodies, flying out from her throat like a murder of crows, springing like night beasts out of her mental cave. If you want all these things then your reward will be to experience the irresistible spectacle of her dynamic gothic theatre in the realms of shadow, horror stories for the stereo.
Sometimes compared to Dead Can Dance, their communion with music of other cultures isn’t her, Anna Von Hausswolff comes from a narrower world where the night time is here before the day is over, where the pleasures of life aren’t celebrated with laughter, where the grinding power of the earth turning on its axis reverberates through the frozen ground, blackening the wood of her ancient organ sounds, thickening the guitars like glue and smothering the drums with slave beats and blankets, muffling the skins beaten by shards of broken wood, scraping the entrails of her screams from her neck into frenzies of devilish ritual, howling over an instrumental bed of despair, pleading for the world to stay dark, wishing for the doors to be locked, chained, never to be opened lest the secrets from beyond escape into the world destroying the mysteries and washing the moods away leaving us with frivolous happiness.
Her latest album, The Miraculous begins with a resounding call from beyond the forest, a siren to all the creatures that live under and inside the wood, to beware of the prying eyes of the outsiders as they stare unknowingly into the abyss of their own misfortune. She’s not quite as scary as Fever Ray, she’s more like the soundtrack to a chilling film. Karin Dreijer Andersson’s uncomfortable strangeness has you feeling uneasy because she finds the madness in domesticity in frightening ordinariness, Von Hausswolff songs are populated by RKO Radio Picture lighting crews transported into the now, smoke released on clapper board cues, rattling sheets of metal and owls with saucer eyes hooting under moonbeams, watching the ghosts dance in the twilight.
The pipe organ pushes you to the edge but it’s the guitar that drives you over the cliff, every time your body bangs against the wall of dark chalk, a cymbal crash. Songs hang off the withered branches of dead trees like trophies kept as spoils of victory. Plunged into deep holes of sound that vibrate through the room like earthquakes, shaking the floorboards, rattling the crockery and dispensing the cat into the garden, stiff bristled. Waves of sound, taking out everything in their path, wrecking the manicured lawns, punishing helpless order and following outbursts with deadly silence and the contemplation of fear.
Own this album before it owns you, waking you in the night and dragging your body to the graveyard. Immerse yourself in immortality with this epic elixir of eternal life, bring up your hood, lower your head and experience all the characters, all the stories, all the intrigue, just you and your imagination with Anna Von Hausswolff’s guiding hand as your soundtrack.