Jenny Hval is a recording artist from Norway. Her music is often labelled as ‘experimental,’ and it is indeed difficult to pigeon-hole. Hval has released four albums under her real name, and a prior two under the moniker of Rockettothesky. Her last album, titled Blood Bitch, has been receiving universal critical acclaim. Listening to the album is an interesting experience. This conceptual feat of song writing and music making creates a micro-universe, which it inhabits with confidence, sending tendrils of reference and connection into the wider world. The album’s structure is well-considered and I find it best to listen to it from start to finish, without interruptions. This way, the listener can slowly sink into its intimate, sometimes claustrophobic, dark, sensual world.
Jenny Hval’s uses her voice effectively as in instrument. She switches between crystal-clear, cutting falsetto, ominous whispers, and muted vocal shuffles. The quality of her voice enmeshes with the other instruments. They complement one another, weaving a loosely strung textural tapestry. The songs delves into the darker side of consciousness. A mythical, otherworldly touch of the supernatural repaints female archetypes for contemporary times. Here, covens of witches and female vampires unfold their feelings and concerns. Hval approaches the subject matter of menstruation from a bold and mystical angle. This monthly cycle, normal for every, woman stubbornly remains taboo in popular culture. Open conversation about menstruation, via both the means of language and imagery, has made a comeback in the latest wave of feminism. Hval underscores many of the issues that dictate the lives of women today.
Blood Bitch lives in the twilight, in slippages between states and forms. It’s an intelligent and sensitive piece of work that deserves attentive listening.