4.5 out of 5 stars.
The second studio album by Swedish musician Anna von Hausswolff.
Von Hausswolff has an amazing, strange, strong voice (a bit of Kate Bush, but mostly all her own). Her voice isn’t the focus here, though. It’s simply another instrument; sometimes central, sometimes used for accent, sometimes not used at all. Vocals don’t even enter Ceremony until we’re ten minutes in.
The musical sensibility here is insane. The care put into mix, dynamics, structure, ebb and flow makes for a hugely rewarding listening experience.
Ceremony ranges from deliberately structured instrumentals (“Epitaph of Theodor,” “Epitaph of Daniel”) to radio-ready three-minute pop (“Mountains Crave”). Each song is a journey with every step building logically on the last.
The organ stands beautifully in the forefront with the occasional complementary guitar, reminiscent of Rick Wright and David Gilmour at their best. It’s stunning. I’ve been listening to Ceremony on repeat for weeks and I’m still getting chills.
Standout Tracks: Deathbed, Mountains Crave, Red Sun, Ocean