ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF
Live At Montreux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord)
While 2020’s All Thoughts Fly found Anna von Hausswolff paring her art down to pipe organ alone, this stunning live album recorded two years earlier, is a maximalist masterpiece. Comprising half a dozen tracks drawn from The Miraculous (2015) and Dead Magic (2018), Live At Montreux Jazz Festival is, well, miraculous magic.
The determinedly unpigeonholeable Swede, drunk on Gothic melodrama and backed by five musicians plus sister Maria on vocals, conjures up a storm in heaven – one that makes Godspeed You! Black Emperor sound anaemic and Swans seem like lightweights, and that with any luck left a few goateed chin-strokers quaking in the corner. The 20-minute-long Ugly And Vengeful, in particular, feels like being at the absolute mercy of a wrathful god, with von Hausswolff at the centre orchestrating the collision of the sacred and the profane, terror and beauty.
Nick Cave personally invited Anna Von Hausswolff to support, but it’s hard to imagine how even he and the Bad Seeds could possibly have followed this.
words BEN WOOLHEAD
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