Announces new album ‘The Practice of Love’, due Sept 13th via Sacred Bones
Norwegian multidisciplinary artist Jenny Hval announces her new album, The Practice of Love, due September 13th via Sacred Bones. The Practice of Love expresses the connection between life and creating art in a specific way – an umbilical magic about relating to others, finding empathy and a common language through speaking, singing, writing together. In conjunction with today’s announcement, she presents the album’s lead single, “Ashes To Ashes.”
The album is filled with arpeggiated synth washes and the kind of lilting beats that might have drifted from some forgotten mid-’90s trance single as evidenced on lead single “Ashes To Ashes.” Hval circles the issues of mortality with a kind of humane delight at play over layers of gauzy synth and syncopated beats. She intones: “Put two fingers in the earth / I am digging my own grave / in the honeypot / ashes to ashes / dust to dust.”
The Practice of Love unspools with an almost deceptive ease following the horror and viscera of her previous album. Where 2016’s Blood Bitch lingered in disorienting textures, samples and details, The Practice of Love sees the world from above and creates a landscape both realistic and imaginary. Through this landscape, multiple voices engage and disperse, both Hval’s own voice and the voices of collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert, and Félicia Atkinson.
Hval explains that this braid-work of voices could be “the voice of someone who was once an angry teenager, furious at the hierarchies,many years later. No longer angry, but still feeling apart from the mainstream. . . longing for community. I wanted to give the feeling of being apart from the world a mystical, but beautiful place, meaning pop songs… A place that also contains enough depth to bury oneself in.”
Though the title, The Practice of Love, was in some sense inspired by Valie Export’s 1985 film of the same name, Hval worked with the concept of love as a poetic and multivalent activity — as a way of broadening her own writing practice. Lyrically, the eight tracks hew more closely to poetic forms than anything Hval has made before (as evidenced by the record’s liner notes, which assume the form of a poetry chapbook). The record considers the notion of intimacy from all sides, whether it be positing the notion of art in conversation with other artists or playing with clichés around what it means to be a woman who makes art. Hval uses the pop song format to attempt to make sense of what love and care actually mean—love as a practice, a calling, a vocation.
“This all sounds very clichéd, like a standard greeting card expression”, Hval says, “But for me love, and the practice of love, has been deeply tied to the feeling of otherness. Love as a theme in art has been the domain of the canonized, big artists, and I have always seen myself as a minor character, a voice that speaks of other things. But in the last few years I have wanted to take a closer look at the practice of otherness, this fragile performance, and how it can express love, intimacy, empathy and desire. I have wanted to ask bigger, wider, kind of idiotic questions like: What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don’t, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?”
Practice of Love Performances: Fri. Sept. 20 – Sat. Sept. 21 – Oslo, NO @ Ultimate Oslo Contemporary Music Festival Fri. Sept. 20 – Sat. Sept. 21 – Oslo, NO @ Black Box teater Sun. Sept. 29 – London, UK @ Milton Court Tue. Oct. 15 – Frankfurt, DE @ Mousonturm Wed. Oct. 16 – Frankfurt, DE @ Mousonturm Wed. Oct. 30 – Paris, FR @ Centre Pompidou Sat. Nov. 9 – Utrecht, NL @ Le Guess Who? Festival
The Practice of Love Tracklist: 1. Lions (feat. Vivian Wang) 2. High Alice 3. Accident (feat. Laura Jean) 4. The Practice of Love (feat. Laura Jean and Vivian Wang) 5. Ashes To Ashes 6. Thumbsucker (feat. Félicia Atkinson and Laura Jean) 7. Six Red Cannas (feat. Vivian Wang, Félicia Atkinson and Laura Jean) 8. Ordinary (feat. Vivian Wang and Félicia Atkinson)