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Rune Grammofon

Jenny Hval 'Innocence Is Kinky'

£16.99

Rune Grammofon

Jenny Hval 'Innocence Is Kinky'

£16.99

 ‘Something happens when you say “I” in a song, that can’t happen in a book’, declares Jenny Hval, who’s known in her native Norway both as a musician (both under her own name, the moniker Rockettothesky, and with the duo Nude On Sand) and as a published novelist and media commentator. Her songs – featuring frequently explicit language – explore subjectivity and sensuality and experiment with male perspectives and voices.

But don’t call her music ‘confessional’, as that implies guilt and sinfulness, and Jenny makes no apology for who she is or what she’s thinking. As she challenges: ‘How much subject can you take?’ Jenny Hval’s previous, acclaimed Rune Grammofon album Viscera (2011), recorded with her own free rock trio, overflowed with intimate detail and surrealistic bodily imagery.

Innocence Is Kinky – which also features a string section led by avant garde composer Ole-Henrik Moe – was produced in Bristol, England by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, who helped bring out the intimate qualities of her lyrics and sharpened her improvisational tendencies.

‘It was a very easy collaboration…’ Like contemporaries such as Julia Holter and Laurel Halo, she’s weaving spellbinding new forms of intelligent, experimental pop with injections from mythology, theory, gender politics and improvisation.

You can also trace her no-holds-barred streams of consciousness and unorthodox subject matter back to earlier heroes such as Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld (her title puns on their LP Silence Is Sexy), Patti Smith, Michael Gira, Nick Cave and Kate Bush, whose praises Jenny recently sung in a lecture on the female voiceWriting music, for Jenny, is closely linked to fiction.

Her latest book, Inn i ansiktet (Sings With Her Eyes, 2012), is connected to Innocence Is Kinky through its explorations of subjectivity, and in references to Renée Falconetti, the French actress responsible for one of the most unforgettable cinematic portrayals of persecution and suffering, as the lead in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent movie The Passion Of Joan Of Arc.

Jenny was invited to make a soundtrack to the film in 2011. ‘Some of the songs, like “Renée Falconetti of Orléans”, were made while watching the film, alongside other depictions of young women – like the Norwegian version of MTV’s Teen Mom. And while we were rehearsing the songs, there was 22 July 2011 [the Oslo bombing and Utøya massacre], so that couldn’t not influence anything made at that time.

It’s about the cruelty of the mediated image – how any kind of face that’s on screen becomes like any other – any kind of crying is like any other kind of crying.’ Born in 1980, Jenny lived for a while in Australia, but on tracks like ‘Oslo Oedipus’, her hometown becomes the backdrop to Innocence Is Kinky – a city which, unlike New York or London, has rarely been hymned in song.

‘Being Norwegian is looking at the world from a very advantaged position, and feeling like we can be removed from what’s happening elsewhere. But at the same time, our political system is changing, and we don’t really bother to look, just embrace these changes as if they were a force of nature.

“Oslo Oedipus” is the boarded-up windows after the bomb explosion in July 2011, but it's also the eye that refuses to look back at its own reflection.’ And that paradoxical ‘kinky innocence’? ‘It could be the manifesto of the mass-produced image, and the consumer mainstream industry – fetishising and selling every human quality. There’s so much mysticism about innocence.’

Tracklisting:
Side A:

1. Innocence Is Kinky
2. Mephisto In The Water
3. I Called
4. Oslo Oedipus
5. Renée Falconetti Of Orléans

Side B:
1. Give Me That Sound
2. I Got No Strings
3. Is There Anything On Me That Doesn't Speak?
4. Amphibious, Androgynous
5. Death Of The Author
6. The Seer