Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love (3 stars)

Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love (Sacred Bones)

Norwegian musician's new album considers the notion of intimacy from all sides

Love isn't exactly the most original of subjects to tackle for a recording artist. Everyone's had a crack at it from the certified crooners to the bland brand of Radio 2 romance. But Norwegian multi-disciplinary artist Jenny Hval's The Practice of Love hangs less on tenderness and more on the intuitive connections between four women: Hval herself, Sydney-born songwriter Laura Jean (who Hval met when living out in Australia), Singaporean multi-instrumentalist Vivian Wang (who Hval admits she's only really met in passing) and French artist, Félicia Atkinson. The connection between the latter is marked only by a shared passion for New Mexico and a mutual admiration for each other's work.

With such a breadth of influences and global inputs, it's not surprising that The Practice of Love is a Rolodex of stored sounds, fragments of documentary scripts and the kind of ethereal electronica you might hear from fellow Nordic DJ, Maria Minerva. Opening track 'Lions' finds Hval poaching from Vivian Wang's voiceover stores as she recounts the tale of an imagined space up in northern Norway that was never christened while 'Accident' (with Jean on lead) feels more like a nod to the EDM euphoria of the nineties. But it's the title track where Hval's playful mind and self-expression excels as Wang delivers a rousing knockdown of the very notion of love ('I hate love in my own language/It contains the entire word honesty inside it') and admits: 'Maybe "Sorry" is the closest I've ever got to saying love'.

With her six-strong discography to date, Hval has picked up international acclaim for her markedly non-traditional arrangements incorporating poetry, prose writing and performance. The Practice of Love is no exception. If anything, she's spread those tendrils even wider, out through internet cables and across oceans to connect these artists together and find a common voice. Because while Hval might not like the idea of love, she's found the spark of something tender here.

Out Fri 13 Sep on Sacred Bones.

Jenny Hval: The Practice of Love

Joined by experimental musicians, vocalists, dancers and video artists, Hval explores the connection between life, art and the nature of creativity. Drawing on 90s trance music, the artists create a kind of soundscape into which a set of projected words start appearing, slowly transforming the space into a living canvas…

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