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2016-11-20

ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF - Källan (Betatype)

With most styles of modern era music it's hard to pin down when exactly it all started. But at least you can guesstimate their origins pretty close.

Not so much with drone. I won't go as far as to say that drone started when some Neanderthal hunter heard a mammoth fart for the first time or something like that. Well, maybe when he and his buddies killed the mammoth and carved horns from its tusks. Which I don't know if they even did at the time, so that's all slippery terrain, I guess.

But the first time drone occured in a form which can live up to today's listeners expectations might very well have been when the first pipe organs (or better the first ones with mentionable deep pipes) were tested. Whenever that was. Probably over a millenium ago.

Even though the pipe organ is still rolling strong I find it surprising how few musicians use it on tour, at home or in the studio. People are probaly just too lazy to set up those few thousand pipes before playing a tune.

Swedish singer/songwriter/musician Anna von Hausswolff also settles for a smaller solution on stage (as witnessed in Hamburg this October), but at least on her last two albums she was all about the real deal.

And so she does again on this recent limited and hand-numbered vinyl EP, which was recorded during the making of "The Miraculous":



ANNA VON HAUSSWOLFF - Källan (Betatype) (12" EP) (2016)

Boy, I almost didn't buy this record, because I accidently selected Danish instead of Swedish Kronors when I converted its price to Euro and deemed it too expensive. Luckily I had second thoughts when Anna announced that there were only fourty copies left, and then I discovered my mistake.

But to the music: In case you're at least medium clever you might have guessed correctly from my introduction that this record is heavily about drone and about organ.

"Källan" is a slightly over twenty minutes long organ piece in two parts, which has indeed been released before as a solo artist piece on "Källan (Prototype)".

This time the 9000 pipes mighty organ still dominates the composition, but Anna von Hausswolff also brings in her full band. On the first half you can miss this though, because the emphasis totally lies on the massive roaring and majestic grandeur of the organ, building up and building up, at first only underlined by synths, before those are also supported by more and more guitar patterns, concluding side A in a powerful dronetastic crescendo.

But that was only the warm-up for the second half, where the piece is at first set back to a more primal state and evolves to something bigger again. Now it fully becomes a band arrangement with some dark Earth-like guitars, before finally a stomping drum beat transforms "Källan" into an ultra-slow motion modern gothic headbanger. But this only lasts for a brief time (in doom perception). In the end everything escalates in a dissonant cacaphony of everything that there is and the world is left in black emptiness.

Anna von Hausswolff live in Hamburg
All in all this is a more than solid record for conoisseurs of organ-driven drone, so if you already loved Sunn O)))'s "Domkirke" you should probably go to a week ago and pre-order this!

The packaging is simple but beautiful, the vinyl labelling pure white, which can confuse you for a moment when you're trying to know which side is which.

It may not be obvious with all this deliberate simplicity, but besides the sheer fact of recording the big organ itself "Källan (Betatype)" allows itself one enormous luxury:

There you have Anna von Hausswolff, whose voice is capable of summoning angels to pinch unicorns, causing them to shit rainbows on which leprachauns slide to the earth to give out free cookies sparkling in gold dust to every one of us... but nah, you don't use your Kate Bush magic, simply because the music is already good enough without vocals.

Bold, but I really can't argue against that.


Great EP!


Highlights: Källan Part Two, Källan Part One


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