Last night I went to see Anna Von Hausswolff at the Barbican in London, as part of the Possibly Colliding sessions ~ a series of performances shown over one weekend that had been curated by the pianist and composer Nils Frahm.
Anna's session was incredible. Not easy listening, and some members of the audience left early, which was a shame. I guess that's the collision Nils Frahm had in mind when he arranged for Anna Von Hausswolff to play in a set that also featured The Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
But we were entranced from the start to the end. Anna's voice is mesmerisingly pure, sounding almost as if it's a fusion between Kate Bush and Nico. The instrumental accompaniments are sometimes sublime and hypnotically peaceful, at others atonal, vibrating with drumming, with deep organ bass lines and wailing guitars ~ so the listener could be forgiven for thinking they are sitting in a war zone. Coincidentally, during one track, with fiery lights and a moaning choir, my guest and I both independently thought that we could have been transported into a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. It really was that evocative.
Dark, gothic, perhaps the musical interpretation of Nordic Noir. This was a challenging, but hugely exciting evening.