Last year, upon meeting Swedish avant-garde pop musician Anna von Hausswolff, I said of her second album, “It rings of the soundtrack to a text exploring the sacred and profane… to put it mildly.”  Well, less than a year later and she seems to be continuing in that very same direction.  Her latest project, Hydras Dream, is a collaboration with fellow Swede Matti Bye, who’s best known for his work scoring films.  Their debut album, The Little Match Girl (released this March), seeks to transform some of the group’s favorite works of art (from stories to films to myths) into musical compositions.  The sound of The Little Match Girl boasts both the group’s firm grasp on the classical composing of music and a duo who wants to push “music” beyond any category in which it is currently comfortable. The title track is their sonic reimagining of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale of finding hope only in death and the rest of the album is equally high-minded, telling a profoundly existential, and often somber, tale with each of the 9 tracks.  But while each track stands alone as a concise narrative, when strung together, as an album they would seem to serve as a broader commentary on a single theme, much like Baudelaire’s Paris Spleen.  And like Paris Spleen, that theme would seem to be the beauty that can be found in the wretchedness of the world by those who best understand the circumstances of humanity.

[youtube http://youtu.be/QGrB6AI_EnM]

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