Anna von Hausswolff – Dead Magic

deadmagic.jpgI used to play a game (and sometimes still do) where I choose a film or short, turn off its sound, and play music in the background. You’ve done it. No? Really? You haven’t? Was that just me? Well, what about Dark Side of the Rainbow? When “Dark Side of the Moon” is synced alongside “The Wizard of Oz” (Hint: start the album at the MGM lion’s second roar (or just watch it on YouTube) the shit does line up until after “Money”). My favourite videos are the One Got Fat bicycle safety video (which, honestly, whoever made this film was higher than a newborn trapped inside a crowded and windowless hippy van) and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. If they ever make a sequel to this movie and, for no fucking reason whatsoever they decide to ask me to be part of the process, I would seriously consider getting Anna to do the soundtrack. It fucking fits.

Anna has one of these voices that’s hard to place. She sings kinda like one of the sisters in CocoRosie. She’s got an amazing clarity to her soprano. It’s something between gospel, country, and an art-pop kinda thing. And she loves to play a big, bad, giant fucking pipe organ. Anna fucking loves her organ. It’s like Jimi and his guitar or Shakira and that shaking ass; without it, who are they? The organ has changed her writing style and music. She used to remind me of a modern Swedish Kate Bush. But now she’s her own fucking thing. This is her first real album. One that speaks on behalf of who she really is. 

Her voice growls and shrieks and screams, whereas before it was always in that comfortable, easy to swallow, pop range. The album moves into theatrical and psychedelic heaviness similar to later Pink Floyd. These bits are alright. But the parts that get my blood moving are those droney organ chords mixed in with electronics and bizarre vocal stylings. It’s like Dracula and Philip Glass own a strip club (Fangstein: Blood on the Bitch, or, Heart Pulses) and this is the music.

I get it. I know that the day after drinking so much that you end up remembering that time when your father forgot to pick you up from the bus station so you walked home and you did that weird thing in the alley for a few extra bucks, is not a day when you want to listen to an hour of organ music. But, if it’s not today then do it at some point cause it’s cool as shit. My suggestion? Play 2001, turn off the sound, play this album, then float in space while having a psychological chess match against a red light named HAL. Bonus: If that’s not the best thing to do after St. Pats, I don’t know what is.




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