Live Review: Anna Von Hausswolff

16 January 2015 | 4:37 pm | Imogen Elliot

MOFO learnt why Anna Von Hausswolff is so addored in her home country of Sweden.

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While the worst rain Hobart has seen in decades may not have seemed the ideal welcome for visitors of the MONA FOMA music and arts festival, nothing could have better set the scene for a performance by Swedish organist, vocalist and pint-sized 28-year-old artist Anna Von Hausswolff.

Dwarfed by a 140 year old organ awash in red light at the Hobart Town Hall, Von Hausswolff provided an eerie soundtrack to the rain-soaked setting sun, the perfect opening to a festival known for its dark tastes.

With pieces lasting between three and ten minutes, Von Hausswolff performed a selection taken from her records, 2010’s Singing From The Grave and 2013’s Ceremony.

The drone of the organ was gothic, while the reverb of an accompanying guitar was more psychedelic, and the two combined with Von Hausswolff’s ethereal vocals to create a contemporary form of death metal that replaced thrashing drums and aggressive vocals with organic layers of sound projected beautifully within the enclosed hall.

Although floor seating had the audience craning their necks to see Von Hausswolff as she slumped into the organ keys like an opera singer’s outbreath, revellers remained captivated and sat in pin-drop silence between songs before applauding loudly for an encore at the end of the performance.

Closing with a Neko Case cover, Von Hausswolff left the audience with notes echoing in their subconscious rather than ringing in their ears. Having captivated audiences at the Sydney Town Hall just days before, it’s easy to see why Von Hausswolff is so adored in Sweden and has supported the likes of Lykke Li and M. Ward.