After a spellbinding performance at End of the Road festival last summer, we have been keeping a keen eye on the Scandinavian vocalist Anna von Hausswolff. With a recent sell-out limited edition vinyl release and a highly anticipated performance coming up in Denovali Records’ ‘Swingfest’ this month, we thought it high time to sing her praises. An unlikely master of the church organ, Anna von Hausswolff conjures something of an outdoor moonlit ritual with all the bravado of a 1950s Hammer Horror film. An angelic elfin blonde packing punchy vocals, Anna has bypassed earlier comparisons to Kate Bush with her mesmerising gothic pop ballads. Notes of a delicate songbird transform into those of a howling werewolf over cascading organ arpeggios, guitar riffs and melodramatic synths. Her concept LP Ceremony is a funeral march through shifting moods of lyrical mourning and euphoric reaffirmation, cinematically threading together themes of light and rapture, memorial and death. Recorded in an early twentieth-century church, the atmospheric drone of organ pipes re-echoes Anna’s love for black metal music, and noise in general.
Von Hausswolff’s cathartic music is accompanied by an aesthetic of ritual and dark fantasy; videos feature snakes and chains wrapped around nudes in candlelit caves, dead birds, bloodstained faces and a man ripping his heart out of his own chest.
Harbouring an alternative vein of spectral electropop and home to acts such as The Knife, José Gonzalez and Little Dragon, von Hausswolff’s hometown of Gothenburg has become well known for its musical heritage. A recent collaboration with fellow Swedish musician and composer Matti Bye (who wrote the score for the film Faro), Hydras Dream, looks at interpreting stories and myths through thematic and experimental soundscapes.
Having toured the world, von Hausswolf is currently working on a follow-up album. Expect more knowing tales and timeless moody hymnals to send shivers down your spine.
Anna von Hausswolff will be playing at the Village Underground on Friday 18th April as part of the Denovali Swingfest in London