Anna von Hausswolff, All Thoughts Fly, Southern Lord | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, January 28th, 2021  

Anna von Hausswolff

All Thoughts Fly

Southern Lord

Dec 04, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Anna von Hausswolff’s latest album, All Thoughts Fly, is an aural representation of her experience and the emotions provoked whilst visiting the Sacro Bosco (Sacred Grove) Gardens in the province of Vitrevo, Itlay. Often referred to colloquially as “The Park of the Monsters,” the gardens were commissioned by Italian Condottieri Pier Francesco “Vicino” Orsini and became a shrine to his wife Giulia, following her death, as he poured his grief into their creation. The gardens certainly aren't what one might call traditionally picturesque, instead, they seem to have been designed to take the visitor on a profound journey through themes such as love, death, and grief. Yet their haunting surreal beauty inspired von Hausswolff’s latest body of work in which she seems to channel the raging emotions that were the catalyst for the creation of this strange otherworld. In doing so she evokes a devastating and timeless sense of melancholy and loss, one that at times hangs so heavy it feels almost oppressive.

All Thoughts Fly
is an instrumental album performed entirely on a pipe organ. Now, any Anna von Hausswolff album that doesn't feature her vocals is always going to feel slightly diminished, yet on this album it would be difficult to work out where they would actually fit.  Additionally von Hausswolff has never been the sort of artist to take a traditional approach, nor would she create with one eye on the commerciality of her material. She has always followed her creative muse, which of course is what makes her such a compelling, unique, and enigmatic artist. This was an album she felt compelled to create and you do get that sense of passion throughout the album. All Thoughts Fly is an album of repetition of tonal shifts and textures, of opulence and grandeur, emptiness and death. It’s also one that can completely envelop the senses and transport you into another reality, to a place that's not always comfortable. 

The monolithic 12-minute title track—which undulates and shimmers as it slowly builds—has a mesmerising, hypnotic, unsettling effect on the listener, but it’s difficult to pick out any tracks individually as out of context they make far less sense and their impact is lessened. This is an album to be listened to as a whole in order to experience it fully. It has elements of   traditional classical composition and the post modernity of Phillip Glass and on occasion it does challenge the listener. It might not be for everybody—indeed it might not be an album that you regularly revisit—but it’s certainly an album that's worthy of your attention. You will find yourself marvelling at von Hausswolff’s artistry and complete mastery of her craft. You’ll also be in awe that she seems to be able to coax out so many layers, textures and futuristic sounds from one instrument, which is a Swedish replica of the 17th century Arp Schnitger organ in Germany. (www.annavonhausswolffmusic.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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