1.The Truth,The Glow,The Fall/2.The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra/3.Ugly and Vengeful/4.The Marble Eye/5. Ka?llans Återuppsta?ndelse
Release Date: March 2018
Label:City Slang

‘O holy light of morn!
O air that dost the whole earth compass round
Oft have ye heard my cries of grief forlorn,
And oft the echoing sound
Of blows the breast that smite,
When darkness yields to light’
(opening quote: Sophocle’s Electra)

Before putting on this record, choose a relatively calm place, at dusk or late at night and your favourite drink, in preparation for a certain ritual in an attitude that evokes an open shape and not, as Genet was saying, “…a physical attitude that summons a, closed, submissive intellectual attitude…discourages spiritual attempt…”(extract: ‘Fragments of The Artwork’).

Anna von Hausswolff, a former architect student, has gone through, what seems to be, a cathartic process, has changed the style, the mood and the aesthetics of her music since the release of her debut album ‘Singing From The Grave‘, in 2010. The transformation has been both absolute and I believe irreversible. Even though she has been traversing dark music paths from the very beginning of her career (evident from the aesthetics of her videos, the album titles and the song titles), her previous albums seem to have been making a relaxed promenade into misty paths. The journey that has lead her to compose the music of ‘Dead Magic‘ must certainly have inspired her to ‘scratch’ all the available ‘surfaces’ of these paths with the fierceness of the heroine in the video clip of ‘The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra‘, in a quest to unveil all their layers, their textures and their depths and find primordial symbols whose meaning could only be communicated through hoarse and screeching vocals. The production of this album, courtesy of Randal Dunn, who has also worked with Sun O))), Marissa Nadler and Wolves In The Throne Room, is infinitely richer than that of all her previous albums, while the increased role of percussion and the inclusion of pipe organ, has magnified its emotional impact.Anna von Hausswolff has also given us another glimpse of her own design skills, as she has created a beautiful black and white design of an interior of an ancient ruin or a cathedral, for the inner sleeve of this album.

“Take the fate of a 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. (Anna von Hausswolff about ‘Dead Magic’)

‘Dead Magic’ or the psychography of a mysterious creature

The album starts in a lamenting mood that feels more like the cry of a wounded creature, whose strength has been somehow compromised and that has filled it with bitterness and anger! The creature then slowly retreats through the sound of the occult liturgy that is the song ‘The Truth The Glow The Fall‘. As Electra, the heroine of the Greek tragedy, avenged with her brother Orestis, the murder of her father Agamemnon,in the same way, the imaginative ‘creature’ and hero of this album, finds its voice, its vengeful stance and starts crawling ‘out’, in a decisive move in order to face its attacker, inspired by the ritualistic element of the imposing percussive rhythms of ‘The Mysterious Vanishing Of Electra‘. If you are an emotional person, you will probably struggle a little bit or a lot with this song, but be sure that you will want to turn the volume up as the creature’s poisonous, bitter and painful thoughts, will hit your psyche with all their brutal emotional force as Anna sings: “My fears are not enough to save me…my love is not enough to save me…“. It is actually the beautiful vibrato and the tonal alterations of the vocals that open pathways in our minds, thus awakening the least explored dark feelings within us…

The ‘creature’ had to turn its ugly and vengeful side to us at some point and it does exactly that, with an energy as hypnotic as the rhythm of ‘Ugly And Vengeful‘. It moves exactly as the liturgical male backing vocals dictate it to do, before the percussion drag it, first in a doom metal inspired environment and then in a psych rock maze! The layering of the vocals on top of a dark ambient background melody, work exactly as a trumpeter would, but after the first 8′, the creature regains its strong will and gallops, almost blindly, into a psych trance soundscape for the last 4’ of the song. The album and the creature’s lonely walk, end with the song entitled ‘Ka?llans a?teruppsta?ndelse‘ which is another incarnation of the two songs of the album ‘Källan’ that has been inspired by Walter Ljungquist’s book ‘Källan‘.

Somewhere along the way, Anna von Hausswolff has miraculously managed to evoke the haunting elements and the summoning qualities of her ethereal alto voice, so that all the ‘weight’ of the lower tonal sounds and the slow rhythms of the percussion, always feels less ‘heavy’ than the vocals. So far, especially in doom metal music, we have seen that high pitched vocals have been ‘safely supported’ by a much ‘heavier’ noisy ‘wall’. Anna von Hausswolff has managed to turn this ‘arrangement’ upside down and the result is magnificent! ‘Dead Magic’ is a remarkable album, beautiful in its absolute conceptual wildness and dramatic as a Greek tragedy. Buy your copies from here:https://annavonhausswolffmusic.bandcamp.com/ and don’t miss her show in London in a few days.

Blaue Rosen box

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