Anna von Hausswolff: Dead Magic

Idiosyncrasy and the avant garde artistic spirit must be something that runs in the von Hausswolff family. The daughter of controversial Swedish musician and visual artist, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Anna von Hausswolff came up with a splendid record this year. Dead Magic may sound haunting and dark as hell, however, it seems probable that it's going to be the album that breaks new ground for the musician, who certainly deserves wider ranging appreciation that expands further than the eclectic underground gothic circles.

Her much notable previous albums earned her comparisons to Siouxsie, Kate Bush, Nico, Jarboe and Yma Sumac, yet, Dead Magic appears as the most individualistic and her most fully realized piece of work thus far. From its eerie and intriguing cover art to the unconventional instrumentation and staggering production, for which super producer Randal Dunn (Sunn O))), Six Organs of Admittance, Marissa Nadler, Wolves in the Throne Room, Boris and much more) was enlisted, Dead Magic is an absorbing listening experience. Prominently featuring a 20th century pipe organ on top of von Hausswolff's transcendental vocals, the five track album often leaves the impression of being chronologically misplaced in a somewhat supernatural and mystical way.

Artfully laid out, Dead Magic is the kind of record that reads like a book and needs to be experienced as a whole. Extensive opener The Truth, The Glow, The Fall sets the album's dark, exploratory tone, giving way to The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra, a still ultra sinister, yet, more accessible piece which feels like an ungodly merging of the late-era Swans with Diamanda Galás. Ugly And Vengeful comes next as a slow burning, multidimensional dirge of epic proportions, being the album's lengthiest piece, followed by the more earthy, instrumental, The Marble Eye. The album's apt, mesmeric closer, Källans återuppståndelse is inspired by Swedish writer Walter Ljungquist, and his 1961 novel, Källan, which has been a great source of influence for von Hausswolff.

With each new work Anna von Hausswolff gets a step closer to reaching absolute gothic perfection. Four albums in, Dead Magic is one of the finest specimens of its kind, and no matter how many words we spend on it, the supremacy of the actual music it is comprised of, speaks for itself.

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