Artist: Anna von Hausswolff
Album: The Miraculous
Label: Other Music Recording Company
Release Date: 11/13/2015
The Miraculous, a dark, eerie and mysterious record, is perfect listening for the coldest, most overcast days of autumn. It’s unsurprising to learn that Hausswolff is a native Swede, as her music reflects the ambience and immensity of vast frozen landscapes, ancient stonework and mythological battlefields. Her music is a slow, enigmatic sort of rock that’s heavy in atmosphere with the occasional hints of something sinister yet beautiful lurking beneath the surface.
The Miraculous’ haunted sound is alive with chilling synthesizers, nightmarish guitars and a variety of percussion that ranges from the subtle to the primal. However, the one instrument that truly stands out on the record is the growling pipe organ. The press release states that the 9,000-pipe organ that Hausswolff plays features “a built-in glockenspiel, vibraphone, celeste and… pipes that are half-covered in water.” While the organ gives much of the album a phantasmal, unnerving quality, it’s Hausswolff’s diversely ranged voice that is the blood and soul of this record. For instance, on the epic “Come Wander with Me,” Hausswolff’s vocals start off with soft choirboy-like tones and as the song progresses it builds into startling wails and piercingly high operatic notes. Elsewhere on the album, her voice takes on seductive, menacing and even siren-like leanings.
Fitting somewhere between the shadowy realms of Sunn O))), Nightwish and Comus, The Miraculous has the potential to make lighthearted listeners shudder and those with more gothic sensibilities begging for more.
– Keith Hadad