Anna von Hausswolff

By:larm festival
Feb 2013
live review

This is one of those special gigs- a gig so steeped with atmosphere and originality that within seconds you are transported into a different place. Built around a droning church organ and an astonishing voice that sometimes, if you were lazy, could say matches the melodic and kooky brilliance of the genius Kate Bush- but this no mere copycat, the perfectly named Anna von Hausswolff had never heard of Kate Bush until recently and is very much her own woman and is creating a music that is so brilliant and original you wonder why no-one thought about it before.

From Gothenburg in Sweden she has a pretty interesting background. Her father is a composer, visual artist and curator whose avant grade soundscapes and audio instillations push the boundaries, meanwhile his daughter has decided to make her own music and has released music that is full of atmospheric, haunting songs that have a rare beauty about them and live it’s even better. Songs that are ostensiably about life and death but are full of fictional goth tinged mysticism and a yearning and searching as they move in their own direction and every time that voice comes in you are hypnotised by its dark, emotional plaintive and soaring beauty, it’s an amazing tool.

She took the stage with her band and they start the set with a five minute long song of droning organs interlaced with the two guitars and a jazzy drummer that plays tight and hard.

The song fills the room with an atmospheric mist of a sound and what a room! a jazz cafe in the centre of Oslo it’s all red velvets and red lights, perfect for this kind of action. The swelling organ drones are drawing to an and and that great Scandinavian melancholy and melody is to the fore as Anna and the band hit the second song and her astonishing voice is full of the damp and mist of north Europe.

Anna sits at her organ and has you transfixed with her intense charisma, each song is its own little world, it’s own filmic adventure and its own swirling, droning and imaginative use of instruments that sees the guitars either scratching out the rhythm are playing reverbed dark lines against the town organs and very good rummer who plays it sparse and powerful. they never play it straight and the music’s swirling brilliance is mind blowing.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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