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Baker's Dozen

Monumental Simplicity: Anna Von Hausswolff's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , December 8th, 2015 09:51

The Swedish musician talks to John Freeman about the 13 records that "opened doors" and helped create the blueprint for the mighty organ drone of her new album, The Miraculous, before she plays two UK shows


Barn Owl - Ancestral Star
This is another band I discovered in Copenhagen. I went to a great venue called Mayhem, which is located in an industrial area. They put on many great shows and sometimes I go without knowing who will be playing. I went there one night and Barn Owl were playing on a bill with other drone bands. At the time, I didn't know anything about Barn Owl. It could have been punk music.

There were only ten of us in the audience, sitting down so as to appear to be taking up more room. It would have felt too empty if we had stood up together. Each of us was in our own heads, in our own zones, with the music. Barn Owl put on a brilliant show. I can compare this show to a Godspeed You! Black Emperor show I once went to - when I had never experienced anything like that before.

So, I did some research and Barn Owl haven't put out that many records, and this is the album that I love. I have listened to their other records, but Ancestral Star is the one that stands out and I can connect with. I have talked in interviews before about how I discovered a lot of new bands when I moved to Copenhagen and that changed the direction of my music. I think Barn Owl was one of those bands. They are very young, so it was inspiring to see young people make such music. I listened to Ancestral Star a lot before I went into the studio to record Ceremony.

I can link the drone aspects of Ceremony back to this album, definitely. There are also other bands, of course. For me, it is about using simplicity to make something monumental. That's how I felt when I heard Barn Owl. They came to one of my concerts in San Francisco, but I think they came to see the support act, Novella. It didn't matter to me - I was starstruck. I met them and I told them they had been a great inspiration.

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