Anna Von Hausswolff – Ceremony


Ceremony is a heavy album. The type of album it’s best to enjoy while sitting in a candlelit room on a quiet night, contemplating the cosmic massiveness of, well, whatever you want. Von Hausswolff’s soaring, emotive vocals, complemented by layers upon layers of church organ, piano, and synths evoke the sort of mental images that you might see in a trailer for a Terrence Malick film. Things kick off about halfway through the second track “Deathbed,” when a dirge-like drum and organ gives way to Von Hausswolff’s stellar pipes. The next track, “Mountains Crave,” is the closest the album ever gets to a “single,” a melancholy pop song punctuated by handclaps, a simple drum beat, and a pumping organ. That organ is more or less a constant on Ceremony, but the songs never feel too similar due to some dynamic mood shifts that run everywhere from hopeful to hopeless. The standout track is “Ocean,” starting with spooky, tinkling piano keys that brings underwater cinematography to mind, moving through a short verse and ending with gorgeous, multiple wordless harmonies and heavy piano that feels like waves crashing over you. The whole album is beautifully put together, except for the out-of-place “No Body,” which sounds like how I might feel when if something I couldn’t see was following me through a dark basement. (Other Music Recording Co., Matt Williams

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