With a career that’s spanned over a decade, Norwegian born Susanna Wallumrød has produced many projects surrounded by an aura of serene beauty. From The sombre art pop of ‘Flower of Evil’ to the delicate chamber folk of “If Grief Could Wait” her records are often as bleak as they are ethereal. Her finest work perhaps 2014s collaboration with Jenny Hval ‘Meshes of Voice’ a stunning project that cements both artists as two of the finest songwriters and voices of recent years.
Susanna’s latest, is a record that’s as dark as its title suggests, “Go dig my grave” is a rooted in themes of death and depression, immediately noticeable with cover versions of Lou Reed’s bittersweet ode to heroin “Perfect Day” Elkie Brooks “Lilac Wine” Joy Division’s” Wilderness” and Elizabeth “Cotton’s “Freight Train”. A list of songs that would suggest a soundtrack the mourning of a loved one or descent into depression. Susana’s approach to these compositions is wholly unique, interpreting there mostly miserable lyrics in a more sonically matching form, purging out the post-punk stomp of “Wilderness” and slight optimism of Reed’s “Perfect Day”.
When it comes to original material the record homes a haunting title track, revolving its self around the narrative of a tragic teen suicide. Further illustrating Wallumrød’s implacable nack of tying narratives into satisfying songs. The plot spirals down as she details the heart-breaking aftermath of the premature departure “He took his knife and he cut her down and in her bosom these words he found”.
Instrumentally, the record is built upon moody atmospherics eerie minimalism shown beautifully on tracks like “Cold Song” a concoction of lightly played harp and lingering accordion. The record’s is sonic pallet is vastly expanded by the contributions from harpist and previous collaborator Giovanna Pessi, accordion player Ida Hidle and Tuva Syvertsen, the leaning towards traditional folk instrumental creates a natural air medieval atmospheres channeling the likes of David Tibet’s cult folk group Current 93.
Regardless of its leanings towards the descents into gloom, the record retains a gorgeous edge, Susanna’s vocals are alluring as ever, on one of her most unique projects to date.
Words by Aimee Armstrong