Anna Von Hausswolff – Ceremony

annavonhausswolffAlready acknowledged as an unrecognized triumph of 2012, the second full length album by Swedish singer songwriter and (more importantly) pianist Anna Von Hausswolff finally brings its boldness with a full European release through City Slang. Ceremony caters to the architect student’s background, built upon a steely centrepiece that is the church organ of Gothenburg’s Annedalkyrkan, which features back to front all the way up to the cover art. Though less emotionally wrought than her debut Singing from the Grave, courtesy of stronger pop influences, it goes without saying the experimentation at hand means this isn't a necessary album made for all, but it’s far from an album all made for necessity.

Anna cuts right into the pipes with her instrumental introduction “Epitaph of Theodor”, which sounds away like a Gothic war anthem and leaves the listener begging to actually see the ancient instrument played in their presence, right up till the final note which hums endlessly like a pre-industrial error message.  Meanwhile our headphoned adorned heroine finally brings her own portative pipes forward in “Deathbed”; near screaming lyrics as she tries to outdo her own instrument.

Carrying on, first single “Mountain Crave” is an entirely more uplifting affair, with Hausswolff’s ever grand voice riding atop noises dual wailed from both organ and guitar. Previous comparisons by Swedish press likening her to Kate Bush still ring true, though the way she extends the ‘e’s in the word ‘sweet’  second after second in the latter half of “Red Sun” feels reminiscent of mainstream pop/jazz singers Duffy and Amy Winehouse, but thanks to that all important organ it retains all identity.

Whilst it’s no lengthier your standard ‘long album’, Ceremony does enjoy stretched out songs that can last up to nine minutes at the most. This is no complaint of overindulgence however, merely an observation that the best moments of the album are in the shorter interludes “Epitaph of Daniel”, “Sova” and particularly “No Body”. Devoid of lyricism and clearly a product of the film score influences Anna cites, they’re enveloped with atmosphere and make her immune to any decries of pretentiousness.

A flawlessly produced collection of tracks that offer honest variety both to each other and everything else on the market, Anna Von Hausswolff’s sophomore album is as polished as the organ pipes that entrench its every moment. Even if the emotional impression of her voice was what sold album one, there's still 'feels' to be found here, only now they're locked in the, bleak, raffish noises of “Harmonica” or the musical metaphor that is “Sun Rise”.

Release: 17th June 2013, City Slang

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    1. Albums of 2013: 50 - 11 » DRUNKENWEREWOLF - 12/12/2013

      […] Already acknowledged as an unrecognized triumph of 2012, the second full length album by Swedish singer songwriter and (more importantly) pianist Anna Von Hausswolff finally brings its boldness with a full European release through City Slang. Ceremony caters to the architect student’s background, built upon a steely centrepiece that is the church organ of Gothenburg’s Annedalkyrkan, which features back to front all the way up to the cover art. Though less emotionally wrought than her debut Singing from the Grave, courtesy of stronger pop influences, it goes without saying the experimentation at hand means this isn't a necessary album made for all, but it’s far from an album all made for necessity. – Graham Ashton […]

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