There’s a purpose to record shops. A hidden purpose, even. They allow divine intervention as you can find yourself overwhelmed with the urge to purchase a single by someone you have never heard of (incidentally this doesn’t work on the Internet as even God can’t afford to buy enough Adwords on Google). So came Anna von Hausswolff to the ears of the Bluesbunny with her single (on vinyl, naturally) “Track of Time” and such was the impact of her voice that It was inevitable that her album would be tracked down forthwith.
Even on a tactile basis, Ms Von Hausswolff’s album “Singing From The Grave” marks itself out as something special for, inside that classy slipcase, was a beautifully packaged digipak containing two booklets each containing her lyrics and her etchings. To hold it is to love it.
The music? Let’s start with saying that this is not an easy album to listen. Ms Von Hausswolff is clearly piano driven with tight melodic control evident throughout and massed orchestration used not to hide simplicity but to disguise complexity. That complexity is not just musical but also emotional. That single that sold her voice to me, “Track of Time”, entranced still but in the context of this album it seems different like a facet of a diamond not yet fully polished and it nearly crumbled in comparison with the torment of “Pills” ( “…I made love with the Devil”, she incants). Even in her more delicate moments, such as the exquisitely tailored “Above All”, she looks further into the shadows than most would. As for “Lost At Sea”, I reckon there are a lot of hard rocking (male) bands throughout Europe, who wish she could punch the air as hard as Ms Von Hausswolff does here.
No doubt about it, this is a complex – some would say difficult – album to listen to. The lack of candy floss means that you have to study it carefully to understand it. If you are a fan of piano based music of this genre, then, to be honest, this might overwhelm you for Ms Von Hausswolff makes Ben Folds look like an ice cream salesman. Performing with a scary intensity and possessed of a gloriously unique, and yet remarkably adaptable, voice, Anna Von Hausswolff gets her music to your heart via your brain. The end result is what it is. Remarkable.