Anna Von Hausswolff: The Miraculous

Remarkable Nordic noir from this rising songstress.

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This 20-something Swede doesn’t really do conventional.

Her last album, 2013’s Ceremony, was a liturgical opus about death, centred on the drone of a church organ. This time she has commandeered the Acusticum Pipe Organ – an enormous contraption whose 9,000 pipes come ready-made with glockenspiel, vibraphone, celeste, percussion and what von Hausswolff calls “a screaming bird sound”. The results are extraordinary. Drawing from the history of a place she used to visit as a child – an area of great natural beauty that was once the scene of a bloody uprising – she invests The Miraculous with themes of darkness and wonder, conjuring a mythic realm perched on the border of fantasy and reality. The oppressive power of Evocation is striking enough, but the immense Come Wander With Me/Deliverance is stupefying. Starting softly, it gradually transmutes into a monolithic epic full of slashing guitar chords and von Hausswolff’s swooping cries. Indeed, the gothic splendour of The Miraculous is due to her voice, which is capable of both the weightless ambience of Liz Fraser and the roaring dread of Diamanda Galás. A truly remarkable piece of work.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.