Following on from last year's empyreal E.P. 'The Long Sleep,' Norwegian avant-garde artist Jenny Hval has returned to grace our ears with her seventh full-length.
Sharing much DNA with 2016's outstanding 'Blood Bitch,' these eight fresh tracks are at times torturously intimate, sweet and nightmarish - often in the same moment. Taking friends Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert, and Felicia Atkinson along for the ride, Hval combines conversational snippets with 90s synths and her trademark vocals to create an intoxicating journey.
A meditation on love, maturity, and our place in the world could have easily ended up being a slog for the listener, but Hval's recent output has been surprisingly digestible without losing artistic credibility. Imagine listening to Vangelis while walking through the land of Faerie and you're halfway there in terms of tone.
With poetic lines like "I have a thousand placentas / they are all burnt" and open discussions on motherhood or the lack thereof, 'The Practice of Love' has an enduringly honest quality. While abstract in places, the inclusion of dialogue as well as some tranced-out beats help give the listener an anchor to hold onto as they take a peek inside the artist's inner thoughts and feelings.
It's a lighter ride than the vampiric 'Blood Bitch,' but still one the fearlessly holds up a mirror to the human condition. Running in at under 35 minutes it never outstays it’s welcome and proves a thrilling exploration of Hval’s unique examination of the world.
Transcendental trance with some fierce poetry and song? Colour us impressed.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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