Norwegian artist, musician and author Jenny Hval is not one to rest on any genre for too long.
This new album, The Practice of Love, which takes its name and inspiration from the 1985 film from Valie Export, is simultaneously accessible and esoteric.
Whispered or angelic vocals are juxtaposed with wide-screen, ambient beats. Sometimes it feels too muted, and mired in its blissful, 90s Balearic sunrise rhythms (High Alice, Six Red Cannas, Thumbsucker)… therefore too much in thrall to the trance genre itself.
But in other tracks, Hval allows her own ideas to cut through the hands-in-the-air clichés. These are more spacious, allowing the euphoria to deepen into something more mysterious and affecting.
This is especially true of Ashes to Ashes (not a Bowie cover!) and Accident with Laura Jean. There’s a quest for something more meaningful, as evinced by the opening track Lions , with its bubbling percussion and mantra, “Where is God? This place doesn’t know. This place doesn’t care about the Holy Scriptures”.
She may have softened the edges since the brilliant Blood Bitch, but Hval can still disquiet with a soft sigh, or a percussive judder or two.
Out via Sacred Bones on September 13th