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Anna von Hausswolff - Dead Magic CD (album) cover


Anna von Hausswolff


Crossover Prog

4.09 | 165 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 4.5 stars. It's rare after all the music I've listened to over the years to come across something that's a little different. Anna from Sweden was influenced greatly by her dad and mom, an artistic couple with Carl Michael composing and releasing albums since the early 80's right up to today, he's also a visual artist but his music is described as experimental and electronic with the tape recorder being his main instrument. Mom is a professional photographer. Anna has a sister Maria a year older who like her mom is a professional photographer but also a director. Maria sings and is on many of Anna's records and also goes on tour with her in this capacity. She also did the cover art which is a photo. Anna meanwhile is not only a talented keyboardist and composer but what a singer! That surprised me especially when she gets theatrical and we hear that vocal range and passion that borders on the level of Courtney Swain from BENT KNEE.

This is probably the most known album by Anna, in fact her "Live at Montreux Jazz Festival" recording released this year features four of the six tracks from "Dead Magic" so Anna herself places a premium value on this record. The music itself is never in a hurry and man the atmosphere is pretty crazy on here. A six piece band of two guitarists, bass, drums, synths and Anna on vocals, pipe organ and mellotron.

We get three guests, one adding percussion on the opener, one strings on the opener and closer and finally Randall Dunn who recorded, mixed and produced this record but also he adds this granular sound design to all tracks plus more mellotron and synths. This album sounds unique and Randall deserves a lot of credit for this. So five tracks worth over 47 minutes and this is a trip folks.

The opener "The Truth, The Glow, The Fall" is over 12 minutes opening with silence before organ and static reveal themselves. Vocals before 2 minutes and I really like when she starts to really sing. A change after 3 1/2 minutes as vocals step aside and it starts to move with drums and more. She's back singing after 4 minutes and she sounds amazing holding those notes. It turns experimental before 8 minutes with a collage of sounds. Vocal melodies late strain to get those sounds out. Such emotion in thick atmosphere.

"The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra" is a good rocking tune, a nice contrast to what mostly goes on here. Powerful too with Anna crying " me!" with such passion. She's belting it out before 6 minutes. Killer tune. "Ugly And Vengeful" makes me think of the album cover and this is the longest at over 16 minutes. The atmosphere is incredible early on then we get a calm around 5 minutes in as Anna starts to sing slowly. She steps aside after 6 1/2 minutes as powerful sounds take over including drums. She's crying out after 9 minutes, so moving. Things get pretty intense as this continues to play out and the vocals come and go but check them out in contrast to the atmosphere to the end. What a song!

"The Marble Eye" is different with a galore of keyboard sounds including organ and later mellotron. The closer is eerie to start before waves of sound take over and flood the soundscape. Moving and otherworldly. Vocals after 3 1/2 minutes and also later over that final minute. Powerful and touching.

Yes I'm bumping this up to the full 5 stars and without question a top five for 2018 for yours truly.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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