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ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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Anna von Hausswolff biography
Anna Michaela Ebba Electra von Hausswolff - Born 1986-09-06 (Gothenburg, Sweden)

Daughter of a sound creator / artist Carl Michael, since 2008 she's played as a professional musician mainly around Sweden and released her first single "Track Of Time" in February, 2010. Anna's debut album "Ceremony" was released in July 2013 in US or Canada via Other Music Recordings, with that she gigged Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn, US for the first time. "The Miraculous" has been out as her second album in November 2015 and the newest creation "Dead Magic" will see the light in February 2018.

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ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF discography


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ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 13 ratings
Singing from the Grave
2010
4.05 | 31 ratings
Ceremony
2012
4.22 | 29 ratings
The Miraculous
2015
4.09 | 165 ratings
Dead Magic
2018
3.82 | 43 ratings
All Thoughts Fly
2020

ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Källan (Prototype)
2014
4.17 | 6 ratings
Live at Montreux Jazz Festival
2022

ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 4 ratings
Track of Time
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Källan (Betatype)
2016

ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dead Magic by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.09 | 165 ratings

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Dead Magic
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by 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 "...save 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.

 Ceremony by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 31 ratings

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Ceremony
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars An early album by this future master of gothic psycho-spiritual expression. Here she was in her 27th year but, methinks, only still learning how to navigate through collaborative "band" formats and studio album recording techniques in a leadership capacity.

1. "Epitaph Of Theodor" (5:25) a little too simplistic for its first half. Then as guitar and other instruments are added it starts to come to life. (8.5/10)

2. "Deathbed" (8:38) brilliant organ work precedes a vocal that Grace Slick would be proud of. Great tune. A portent of things to come (as she continues to grow in confidence). Uplifting final minute (perhaps reflective of Anna's philosophy of death?). A tip three song for me. (18/20)

3. "Mountains Crave" (3:35) bouncy organ chords with syncopated claps and Anna singing about her wonderment of the possible conscious perspectives of mountains. How do we know? I like the way Anna's mind works but the musical structure is a bit too simplistic, not even minimalistic--like early Dead Can Dance. (8/10)

4. "Goodbye" (6:16) the pipe organ music here is so beautiful, so nuanced, that, in my opinion, it would have been enough to just isolate it as an instrumental. The engineering "placement" and effects chosen for her singing voice are, in my opinion, a poor match for the pipe organ--at least until the very end where it gets all garbled (intentionally) and sinks into the organ weave. More like this ending, please! (8.75/10)

5. "Red Sun" (3:17) now here is a song that is fully built around the vocal--and perfectly so. This is a sign of Anna mastering her craft--mastering her gifts--learning how to package them into a harmonious whole. Another top three song. (9/10)

6. "Epitaph Of Daniel" (3:10) gentle minor organ arpeggi chords support dreamy, floating "Hawaiian" guitar. The inclusion of snare drums is genius. (9/10)

7. "No Body" (2:33) very cool droning low notes and industrial effects. This definitely conveys the possibility of spiritual life as heavy and thick. Again, I love the way this artist thinks! (4.5/5)

8. "Lithurgy Of Light" (5:01) floating soundscape of multiple finger-picked arpeggiating guitars beneath Anna's rather bluesy vocal. Nice. Anna showing that she can definitely crossover into other musical styles and subgenres-- this one American torch song. Nice harmony vocal from Maria (sister? mother?) von Hausswolff. (8.5/10)

9. "Harmonica" (4:22) hand-on-body percussion supports finger play with what sounds like an old, dismembered and untuned piano or zither-like instrument. In the second minute strummed guitar and Anna and Maria's haunting voices take over. Lap-held clay drums join in with the second verse. This sounds totally like a traditional folk song. Pretty. (8.75/10)

10. "Ocean" (5:44) multiple piano tracks sounding Brian Eno/Harold Budd-like (like wind chimes blowing on the porch) with horn-like sound of a hunting horn making wolf-like sounds in the background. I get the title's reference, but this feels so much more about the sounds one might hear from a rustic coastal cabin--until Anna (and Maria) enter with their singing voices. There is, again, a feel of a kind of Americana folk tradition going on here--like the Old Time music represented in the Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou? or by the Blind Boys from Alabama. (8.75/10)

11. "Sova" (3:24) pipe organ and effected percussives open this before Anna's celestial voice adds accents and operatic flourishes---playing on the title word. Beautiful! What a voice! Again, I am reminded of early Dead Can Dance here. Nice "raw" guitar sound used in the instrumental final minute. A top three song for me. (9/10)

12. "Funeral For My Future Children" (4:42) starting with a more Celtic hand- and bass-drum percussion track, pipe organ and incidental guitar strums and picking join in to support Anna's dirging singing. Once again, her song and performance conjure up old (even ancient) musical traditions. (ā la DEAD CAN DANCE.) Great percussion performance. (8.75/10)

13. "Sun Rise" (4:52) more floating guitar and synth play to create another very soothing, dreamy soundscape. Anna and Maria come in singing in a melody and style that fully imitates that of Elizabeth Fraser's famous cover of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren" (in the guise of the 4 A.D. record label's This Mortal Coil configuration). Well met! (8.75/10)

Total Time 60:59

B/four stars; and excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

 The Miraculous by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.22 | 29 ratings

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The Miraculous
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Released late in the year (December 13), this wonderful album flew under a lot of people's radars--for a long time. Now, hopefully, the word is out: Anna Von Hausswolff is the real deal!

It's kind of Post Rock prog based in church organ! Accompany this with some very emotional, gut-wrenching vocals and you get . . . something quite miraculous. Many will question: Is this music dark or uplifitng? It is often hard to tell. But it is certainly compelling. And unique. High marks for its unique blending of modalities and sub-genres.

1. "Discovery" (8:45) opening with some really deep, almost fog horn blasts from the bass pedals of a pipe organ, a bouncy, ethereal chord then establishes forward movement in a straight time before light drums and higher octave "flute" and organ play establishes a very catchy melody. Heavy guitar and more percussion join in to spread out the power until things come to a gradual stop at 4:30 for a scratchy-synth pause which is sparsely filled with distant "horn," percussives and industrial "space" sounds. At 5:50 the "noise" fades out as electric guitar establishes a slow, note by note arpeggio melody. Percussion is added by 6:30 and then Anna's reverberated voice enters into the mix. Other voices soon join in a kind of "choral" effect as the music ramps up, getting stronger, fuller, and faster. Awesome! Then it's over! (19/20)

2. "The Hope Of Only Empty Men (3:10) simple, two-chord organ foundation which sounds like a standard 19th Century church song is used for the companion to a vocal which is so heavily treated as to sound like an old woman singing while her voice is rendered scratchy and clipped by the old box radio that we are hearing it from. Unusual and, I think, clever. (8.5/10)

3. "Pomperipossa (2:12) organ, whispy voice reverbed far back into the mix, pulsing away as if in a snowstorm, open this song before Anna enters with a voice trying to tell us some tragic story. Very effected and dramatic. (4.5/5)

4. "Come Wander With Me / Deliverance (10:49) opens with lone pipe organ playing a breathy mid-range, quickly joined by bass pedals. Halting with a sustained full organ chord, Anna's voice enters in a pretty high octave, singing long, sustained notes. It's almost angelic, before turning almost demonic. But then it moves back into a definite angelic range before finishing in a rather temptational mid-range just as some heavy guitar and synth chords and drum beats take over. This plods along heavily until in the middle of the fifth minute everyone seems to go on sustain--sustain organ hold, sustain guitar chord strumming madly away, sustained drum frenzy--until 5:30 when a kind of djenty/metal sequence pounds its way repetitiously, with increasing insistence, until 6:36 when another crash of guitar and chaos is hit and held, morphing up and down, before Anna's commanding voice returns to explain it all to us. At 8:05 she finishes and a pulsing organ chord signals a return to forward motion--drums and bass instruments pounding away with no mercy. Anna picks up singing again, almost screaming, evolving into near- crazed caterwauls until the song's crashing end. (17.5/20)

5. "En Ensam Vandrare (2:55) two organ notes bouncing back and forth are joined by plucked reverb electric guitar and reverberating wood block hits. Spaghetti Western guitar joins in the second minute, reinforcing melody, before the ensemble begins adding chords into the mix (as well as drums). A nice instrumental étude. (5/5)

6. "An Oath (3:01) breathy organ arpeggio opens this one with two chord bass pattern before Anna enters with a deep, sonorous voice--holding her notes long and with only a slightly vibrato in a LISA GERRARD way. Military drumming joins in for the second verse, then two guitars, more organ, bass organ, and the siren swirl of a synth. (8.75/10)

7. "Evocation (3:07) opens with rocket-launch-like treated bass synth with Anna's wordless scream joining in before an organ breaks in to create a minor eyed fabric for drums and voice to join with. Anna's singing here seems almost calm and narrational. A shift in the beginning of the third minute results in a full organ, multi-level single chord held as it gradually increases in decibels until the end. (8.75/10)

8. "The Miraculous (9:59) a single, calm, sustained, almost church-like organ note opens this song while muffled large engine-like noise doubles up beneath--like an industrial heartbeat--until 1:10 when the organ note shifts up a few keys and is joined by another (and then another, and another, etc.) to form an ominous, ascending minor chord. All the while the mysterious industrial heartbeat continues beneath, within. By the three minute mark the "full" chord has been achieved and Anna begins to play with the note at the top of the mountain, slowly creating a near-melody, before finally actually doing so in the fifth minute. At 4:30 Anna's ethereal voice floats in from above-- staying above--where it is joined by treated guitar notes, heavily reverbed spoken words, church bells, and, of course, more deep organ pedal play. In the seventh minute the huge organ chord is eventually deconstructed, just as it was formed, one note at a time, while a few notes are toyed with, taken away and then brought back in differing volumes. Very cool effect! The thrum of the "industrial heartbeat" leaves for a while but then returns at the end of the eighth minute for a bit, but then everything falls away, leaving complete silence, around the 8:40 mark. At 8:57, notes begin re-emerging--almost like an orchestra's pre-performance tuning--before falling away and leaving us in silence again for the final 20 seconds. Powerful and fascinating. (18/20)

9. "Stranger (5:28) opens with the sounds as if an orchestra with all of its instruments, cases, music stands, chairs, etc. as well as the audience are taking down after the end of a concert in a city green. Two chords of strummed acoustic guitar, synthesizer organ, and some simple percussion--all heavily reverbed (as if they were being projected over public address speakers in the same city green) accompany the heavily-reverbed vocal of Ms. Hausswolff (accompanied by her sister in the choruses). Slowly plucked lower strings of an electric guitar solo after the first chorus but then continues throughout the rest of the song. The second verse and chorus are stronger, fuller, with more background vocals and Anna herself ramping up her power. A fairly straightforward--and very catchy, satisfying--indie-folk rock song. (8.75/10)

Total Time 49:26

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music; a refreshing album that encourages one to believe that there is great hope for Prog World as shown by the promise coming from our youth.

 The Miraculous by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.22 | 29 ratings

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The Miraculous
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by Logan
Forum & Site Admin Group Site Admin

5 stars Anna von Hausswolff, organist extraordinaire, has said of women in music, and especially in extreme music, "They have to defend what they're doing so hard because they're in a male-dominated genre, so there's more focus on them being female than on their work. It's still weird for people to see someone screaming her nuts out, playing loud music...." (from Laura Snapes' 2018 interview with Anna von H. for the Guardian). 2010 up is an, if not miraculous, wonderful time for creative female musical artists, many of which compose/ write and perform and produce their own music. We see wonderful musician/ songwriters such as Kristin Hayter (aka Lingua Ignota), who could scream the nuts off of Beelzebub, Chelsea Wolfe, Susanne Sundfor, Jenny Hval, Isabelle Thorn (aka Dear Laika), Xandra Metcalfe (aka Uboa) Yaya Kim, Anna von Hausswolff and many others getting considerable acclaim in recent years who are in the art pop/ art rock vein. As for extreme music, I find Anna von Hausswolff's music to be highly melodic and accessible, but then I am more extreme than the average Karen G listener (Kenny's less extreme yet more entitled sister).

The Miraculous is Anna von Hausswolff's third album, and sounds transitional between the approaches of the albums Ceremony and Dead Magic. All of those are atmospheric, have neoclassical darkwave and drone qualities, but it gets heavier and rockier with The Miraculous. It is an album with gothic qualities, mixed dark and uplifting, is ethereal and I think quite magical. There is a sense of the occult/ paganism when listening to her albums, and she does have an interest in that, and has flirted with black metal and Black Sabbath metal -- she was in a Black Sabbath cover band when 16.

The album starts brilliantly with the at-times hard-hitting "The Discovery", which is a wonderful journey in itself, and ends with the beautiful and poignant "Stranger". It is the kind of finale that makes me want to play the whole album again as soon as it finishes. Other particular highlights include "Pomperipossa" and "Evocation", but the whole album works for me.

I find this oft overlooked album -- I am the first reviewer for this despite this album being added years ago to PA -- to be a terrific album. It is one of my favourites of hers with Dead Magic and Ceremony being the other ones that particularly resonated with me. It has the kind of post-rock qualities that remind me of Swans (she has toured with Swans and performed on Swans' leaving meaning). I also would recommend it to fans of Dead Can Dance, Julia Holter (Aviary being a fabulous album) and various of the names I listed earlier.

5 stars for me; 4 for PA. An essential discovery for me. In fact, 5 from 5 and 5 for PA. While I had heard it many times before posting this "review", if one can be so kind as to call it a review, it got even better with more listenings. The Miraculous, Dead Magic, and Ceremony are all amazing. And if you like one of those consider getting all three. All Thoughts Fly is different and not so much my interest.

 Ceremony by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.05 | 31 ratings

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Ceremony
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Listening diary 18th June, 2021: Anna von Hausswolff - Ceremony (ambient/art pop, 2012)

I can definitely see a time now when Anna von Hausswolff reaches within my top 5 favourite artists of all time. This is the fourth record of hers I've spent significant time with over the last year or so, and all four have ended up in the ascendancy. They're all unique, well composed, well produced and find an incredible middle ground between conventional pop songwriting and art school melodrama. Of the four, this is the pop album, with the fewest guitars and the most low-key songs, with Anna focusing on the texture of the organ and the melody of her voice. And even though her heavy moments are amongst the best of the other albums, you barely notice their absence here, as the songwriting is just that high a level.

8.2 (8th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 All Thoughts Fly by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 43 ratings

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All Thoughts Fly
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron lover

2 stars I'm always looking for new artists and performers. I want to be surprised and amazed. That's why I almost daily watch for new stuff on ProgArchives. A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon All Thoughts Fly by Anna von Hausswolff, which seems enigmatic enough to call out my curiosity. Being a keyboard player myself, the idea of an album exclusively played on a pipe organ was very appealing to me. The experience was, how can I say, not as expected. I'm a man of a few words and this is my review : Zzzzzzzzzzzz. For the effort though, 2 out of 5 stars.
 All Thoughts Fly by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 43 ratings

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All Thoughts Fly
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by lukretio

3 stars If someone had told me that one day I would have purchased and enjoyed an instrumental album of solo pipe organ performances, I would have said they were crazy! And, yet, here I am, writing a review for Anna von Hausswolff's latest solo album, All Thoughts Fly, which is exactly that: seven instrumental songs written and performed by von Hausswolff on the North German Baroque organ of Gothenburg's Örgryte New Church. And, even crazier: I actually liked it!

I have a huge respect for Anna von Hausswolff as an artist. I first came into contact with her music when she released her beautifully melodic and melancholic sophomore album Ceremony in 2012. I fell in love with her magic, spirited vocals and her gothic, experimental compositions combining organ music with post-rock/metal. I continued to follow her art when she released the more angular, dronier, and at the same time proggier albums The Miraculous and Dead Magic in 2015 and 2018. As on Ceremony, also on these records one of the highlights for me was Anna's spellbinding, spine-tingling vocal performance, halfway between Diamanda Galas and Kate Bush. Therefore, when she announced that her new album, All Thoughts Fly, was a purely instrumental organ-based affair I was initially taken aback as I feared that I would miss her voice and the post-rock/metal vibes of her earlier releases. Do not get me wrong: I do miss them, and I hope that in the future she will return to explore sonic territories closer to her earlier albums. Nevertheless, I found myself enjoying All Thoughts Fly way more than I initially thought it was possible (in case you haven't guessed yet, instrumental albums in general are not really my cup of tea).

One surprising aspect of All Thoughts Fly is how varied and diverse its seven compositions are. The album moves between playful, symphonic uptempo tracks like opener "Theatre of Nature", more sombre and majestic pieces like "Dolore di Orsini" and "Outside the Gate", and amorphous, drony soundscapes like "Sacro Bosco" and the title-track. The heterogeneity of its compositions is one of the strengths of the album, as it injects enough variation and unexpected polymorphism to the music to keep things interesting and never boring throughout the record. I am also amazed by the breadth and variety of sounds that Anna can actually extract out of the pipe organ: not only notes but also hisses, wails, whispers, moans and even rhythmic percussion. It is really quite astonishing and underscores the massive job that Anna and producer Filip Leyman did in terms of post-processing the sound and producing the album.

The music is generally very drone-oriented, based on simple motifs and patterns that are repeated with varying intensity and nuance, adding layers upon layers of sound to create strong dynamics. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between the basic motifs that typically appear at the beginning of a song and the gradual build-up of noises and sounds that eventually take over and drench the composition into a wall of sound that brings it to a powerful cathartic climax. This is for example the structure of two of my favorite songs of the album, "Theatre of Nature" and "Dolore di Orsini". Among the drony tracks, the bassy, pulsating pattern of "Sacro Bosco" is particularly remarkable. It transmits a sense of excitement and at the same time fear and deference that captures very well the awe of walking through the Garden of Bomarzo that Anna visited in 2017 and inspired the compositions of this record. Also known as Park of the Monsters, the Sacro Bosco is a 16th-century garden populated by grotesque, deformed sculptures and buildings that are submerged in the natural vegetation. The stunning cover of the album shows one of its most famous sculptures and gives you a good idea of the mystical, dark and awe-inspiring nature of the place. Come to think about it, this is also how I feel about the pipe organ after having listened to this album: awe-struck by its ominous yet magic sound capabilities.

Overall, this was a surprisingly (at least for me) enjoyable album, meditative and immersive, never boring despite the repetitive and drony nature of its compositions. Anna's experimentations with the sonic possibilities of the pipe organ are quite astonishing and eye-opening about this awesome instrument. She is an incredible artist, always creating music that is inventive, moving and ambitious and I remain curious about what her next steps will be.

 All Thoughts Fly by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 43 ratings

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All Thoughts Fly
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

5 stars Many will wish to avoid an album performed exclusively on the pipe organ but as a lover of classical music and symphonic prog I was intrigued. It is pretty rare to come across extensive use of the pipe organ in prog music - the last that did that I recall was the excellent Hymnarium by Resonaxis, an interesting Australian prog band. This is very different as it has no vocals and is less obviously a rock album of songs and more a body of work. It is quite remarkable as an album and I found it compelling as first I decided to buy it and then listened to it on repeat over and over again. Anna Von Hausswoulff is a fine composer of melodies which are often minimalist but draw you in as they develop. There are some extraordinary sound effects on tracks such as Sacro Bosco where a deep rhythmic vibration forms the basis of the track. Unlike anything I have heard this year. A fine album worthy of five stars.
 All Thoughts Fly by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.82 | 43 ratings

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All Thoughts Fly
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars Instrumental songs performed on church organ that were inspired by a megalithic sculpture park in Bomarzo, Italia, called, "Sacro Bosco," "Parco dei Mostri" or the Gardens of Bomarzo. They were commissioned in the 16th Century by the Italian patron of the arts, Pier Francesco (styled "Vicino") Orsini to commemorate the death of his beloved wife.

1. "Theatre of Nature" (6:00) opens like a conversation between several elementals. As the pattern becomes evident other less ordered, more chaotic sounds and themes are added, until the original rhythm begins to feel overwhelmed by the polyphony and polyrhythmics of all that is going on. It's brilliant! At the same time, when one steps back, one can see and feel the overlying cohesiveness and wholeness of the cacophony. A wonderful interpretation of the macrocosm of Nature. (9.25/10)

2. "Dolore di Orsini" (4:04) contrarily peaceful and soothing while also being deeply disturbing, even horrific. It's simple but very powerful. Anna channeling her inner Art Zoyd. (9/10)

3. "Sacro Bosco" (6:23) pulsing bass pedal play and wind-sweeping noise give it an industrial sound--something that would be fitting for the 1927 Fritz Lang silent movie, Metropolis. Seemingly-incidental notes and flourishes in the treble end eventually turn into full chords, even sustained, in the fifth and sixth minutes. The finish in the final minute is stark and powerful with only the pulsing bass pedal notes before the prolonged sound of decay carries us to the end. (9.5/10)

4. "Persefone" (7:08) breathy Andean-flute-like chords open this sounding quite appropriate for the Queen of the Underworld. Underlying church-processional-like chords join in, slowly adding to the melody, thickening the palette. The occasional addition of single notes effect major and surprising shifts in mood as the slow-building chords change and morph quite unexpectedly, quite spectacularly. This is one of my favorite renderings I've ever heard of the spirit of this Olympian goddess after whom my daughter was named. Anna has managed to capture both the strife and sadness of this captive and yet fill it with the optimism and youthful exuberance that the Goddess of the Spring (and Rebirth) would naturally possess. (14.25/15)

5. "Entering" (2:10) I expect Anna is trying here to capture the flood of diverse emotions that wash over a person entering Count Orsini's garden of grieving. Nice. (4.5/5)

6. "All Thoughts Fly" (12:23) Anna using a minimalist approach á la Steve Reich & Phillip Glass in order to express the impression of the words on the upper lip of the huge Orcus statue in the Sacro Bosco gardens. It just doesn't work with the organ; I feel more muddled than flighty. Fail. Rated up for its effective use as pleasing, inoffensive background music. (19.5/25)

7. "Outside the Gate (for Bruna)" (5:23) gorgeous, emotional. For me, this music symbolizes the craziness that one is confronted with (especially in Y2K20) by the world outside of the Park of Monsters. My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

Total Time 43:31

I found myself thinking a lot of the 1997 ART ZOYD Häxan soundtrack album while listening to this album. The beauty Anna expresses while conveying such tension throughout is truly astonishing.

Despite the failed experiment into the world of minimalism of the title song (and album's only epic), I consider this a masterpiece of human creativity--delivered to us by a master of artistic self-expression.

 Dead Magic by VON HAUSSWOLFF, ANNA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.09 | 165 ratings

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Dead Magic
Anna von Hausswolff Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars An extraordinary force is at work in Gothenborg, Dutch-born church organist-gone-wild, Anna Von Hausswolff is exploring very proggy, atmospheric, and experimental territory with this, her latest album. Music fitting the Post Rock bill but branching out in an extremely eerie, SWANS and DEAD CAN DANCE kind of way.

1. The Truth, The Glow, The Fall" (12:37) very similar to a DEAD CAN DANCE song with Lisa Gerrard in the lead vocal. Plodding, melodic, and absolutely brilliant! (10/10)

2. "The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra" (6:08) a SWANS-like song construct with drums, hand percussives, single- chord electric guitar strokes, and organ hits forming an electro-pulse foundation over which Anna's wild, banshee- like voice sings (wails) in a kind of Bernadette Peters-gone-wild voice. Amazing and powerful! What an impassioned vocal! So unexpected and powerful! May be the song of the year! I did not know Anna could sing like this! (10/10)

3. "Ugly and Vengeful" (16:17) spacious and atmospheric, this plodding song could easily come from either an ancient Greek tragedy or a SWANS album--or something by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR. Powerful and unsettling. In the eleventh minute a metronomic bass drum and tom establish a shamanic or indigenous kind of beat for the first time in the song while guitars and, later, organ and voice take turns expanding the soundscape into infinity. (9/10)

4. "The Marble Eye" (5:18) a complex, layered solo church organ piece opening with breathy organ arpeggi which then get layered with bass pedal below and upper ocatve arpeggi above in the second half of the opening minute. Higher octave organ melody gets established over the aforementioned weave of arpeggi. Are some of these layers being looped? The melodies introduced in the second half of the third minute are powerful! Awesome, gorgeous song! (9.5/10)

5. "Källans återuppståndelse" (7:26) opens with slow-changing ethereal synth wash chords for the first two minutes before organ joins in as the dominant instrument over the top of the synth chords. Gorgeous, relaxing, and contemplative. Anna begins singing (in English) over the top at the 3:25 mark while accompanied by plaintive solo violin. Later, in the fifth minute, this violin becomes a full string section with raunchy, staticky electric guitar playing alongside. Great vocal, great arrangement, pretty yet eery and unsettling. (9.5/10)

Five full stars; a certifiable masterpiece of exciting, boundary-pushing progressive rock music! So well constructed and produced! One of the best albums of the decade!

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition. and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates

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