(Art is by ☆ – ☆ zutto)
You know how whenever you read a review of a new artist, and the PR comparisons start with Kate Bush, Bjork, Laurie Anderson… and you know you’re just going to hate whoever it is they’re talking about, because even though you love Kate Bush, Bjork, Laurie Anderson… you really can’t bear to hear one more person taking that magic source code and making it all muddled and wrong and pretty-sounding but kind of ultimately empty of meaning and just sort of quirky for the sake of being quirky and bit too wacky for its own good?
Well, Jenny Hval can be compared to Kate Bush, Bjork, and Laurie Anderson, and that is not a pejorative. This pop music is unashamedly ‘arty’, sexually explicit, scary.
In recent years only St. Vincent, Julia Holter – and Bush, Bjork, and Anderson themselves – have truly succeeded in making drop-dead brilliant art-pop. Intelligence in pop isn’t in as fine health as it was in the 1980s (or even 90s). We need more people like Chrysta Bell (David Lynch’s own take on Lana Del Ray) or bedroom-pop avengers like Xiu Xiu, or Jenny Hval, who collaborates with PJ Harvey’s lieutenant John Parrish and releases music on the brilliant Rune Grammofon, home of Supersilent, Deathprod, and Shining.
Hval is inspired by Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Swans, Nick Cave, black metal, and Public Enemy, and hates being compared to Joni Mitchell. Like Holly Herndon, she’s obsessed with the body, and the depersonalisation of it that technology and the internet offers. She makes sound installations but has big chart hits in Norway.
Some people might call this pretension. To us, it’s porn.