AMN Reviews: Anna von Hausswolff – All Thoughts Fly (2020; Southern Lord)

Vocalist Anna von Hausswolff turns to the pipe organ on All Thoughts Fly, a solo album of pieces featuring only that instrument. On its seven tracks, she covers a great deal of ground in terms of mood, style, and texture. Indeed, von Hausswolff seems to be intentionally hard to pin down, shifting between ominously bouncing melodies, to drones, to an approach evocative of those from Philip Glass’s playbook.

For example, on Solore di Orsini, the chords are slow and deliberate, each given time to hang in the air before being accompanied by more attention-demanding wails. In contrast, Sacro Bosso features a plodding rhythm with oddly-textured and higher-frequency drones and swells. Persefone contains  falling chords reminiscent of Koyaanisqatsi, while the 12-minute title track includes rapid cycles of notes that build into waves.

Despite its diversity, a personal darkness pervades All Thoughts Fly – not in a menacing fashion per se, but expressed as a subtle sadness and melancholy. And von Hausswolff’s fearless exploration of these more fragile emotions is what makes the album so compelling. Strong recommendation.

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