Anna von Hausswolff heckles the deceased on Dead Magic

Dead MagicSwedish singer, pianist, organist and necromancer, Anna Michaela Ebba Electra von Hausswolff, catapults fear into the heart of living, with grace and unparalleled stratagem. The mystery has been solved: on Dead Magic, Hausswolff has mastered the supernatural ability to communicate with the dead and unearth meaning in her unapologetic trials of sorcery.

Decadent organ, sinister synths, a gloomy orchestra of doom, and rapturous shrieks are all conduits for despair, anxiety, dread and exaltation, in the deliberate ritual of disturbance cast forth by Anna von Hausswolff on her fourth studio album. Hausswolff continues to envisage mysticism and gothic elements as weaponry for the most dangerous game - truth. The five-song epic manages to codify the human condition by revealing grotesque machinations of beauty and horror; these dimensions conflict by nature, but upon meeting, they induce an intense rush of confusion and disorientation from the repulsion of such deadly, opposing forces.

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It all makes sense then, that she’s teamed up with producer and Sunn O))) collaborator, Randall Dunn, to arrange an expertly horrific palette of sounds. After all, communicating with the dead is very dangerous, for both parties involved. Clairvoyance can cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches or lightheadedness. Better to lead a séance... Hausswolff is joined by Karl Vento (guitar), Joel Fabiansson (guitar), Filip Leyman (synthesizers), Ulrik Ording (drums) and David Sabel (bass), with string arrangements on “The Truth, the Glow, the Fall” and “Källans Återuppståndelse” by Úlfur Hansson. The majority of recordings were done on the 20th-century organ at Copenhagen’sMarmorkirken, known as the Marble Church, one of the largest churches in Scandinavia, with a chapel inspired by the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The feelings harvested in the recording process at the Marble Church are prone to transformation over time, with or without religious affiliation. Although, one could easily call this a religious experience. Dead Magic is five songs extending over 47 minutes and 20 seconds: “The Truth, the Glow, the Fall”, “The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra”, “Ugly and Vengeful”, “The Marble Eye” and “Källans återuppståndelse”.

In the promotion of Dead Magic, Hausswolff offered a poem from the Swedish writer, Walter Ljungquist (1900-1974), as the only comment: “Take the fate of the human being, a thin pathetic line that contours and encircles an infinite and unknown silence. It is in this very silence, in an only imagined and unknown centre, that legends are born. Alas! That is why there are no legends in our time. Our time is a time deprived of silence and secrets; in their absence, no legends can grow.”

Hausswolff seems to best capture the essence of this poem in the following lyric on “The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra”: “You looked at the faces and the meaninglessness, and you cried. Who is she… who is she, who is she, who is she… to say goodbye.”

Dead Magic is a paradox of sorts, but also a communion—one that offers an important distinction in its dose of transmogrification: The only way we can appreciate natural beauty is to first, ingest the horror.

Release: 2nd March 2018, City Slang

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