I’m immediately reminded of the popular Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’ when track one of Blood Bitch – the new album from Jenny Hval – begins. Throughout ‘Ritual Awakening’, Hval’s soft yet haunted vocal add an eeriness similar to the atmosphere found on Fiona Soe Paing’s album Alien Lullabies. I’ve been spoilt for choice it seems as I find myself already in awe at the size and intimidating elements of Hval’s sound, and it’s only thirty seconds in!
‘Female Vampire’ proves to be an ethereal adventure. Like a chase through a shadowy castle, Hval’s voice grapples for the limelight against the understated percussion and whirling synth, which intrudes then retracts in entertaining movements.
I like the album’s title Blood Bitch, and this alliterative term appears in the love-laden dreamscape that is ‘Conceptual Romance’. This is definitely the standout of the first five tracks – it’s relaxing to hear Hval have some sort of schizophrenic conversation about a lost love or nightmarish life event. The ending in particular is interesting in itself, I can imagine the monstrous alarm-like buzzing is a mind-melter live, especially if you’re doing a bit of buzzing of your own.
‘Untamed Region’ is simply beautiful, Hval’s voice is insanely engaging and resonates with the softer side. The sound of written and spoken word beneath long, agonising moans adds great listening value as it creates a more developed world creating layers of production I crave for in electronic music. Other highlights here include ‘Period Piece’, ‘The Great Undressing’ and ‘The Plague’ – which ends on a frightening yet enjoyable dissipation. To be honest, every track here has something to offer, none come and go without making a scene of some sort.
The Norwegian producer has delivered a sensational addition to her already solid back catalogue with Blood Bitch. If you’re a fan of elegantly performed and slickly produced vocals, which act like vapour trails through a sky of synth clouds and sharp looping rain, then Hval may be the gal for you.
Blood Bitch is out now via Sacred Bones Records.
Catch Jenny Hval live:
17 Oct – Stereo, Glasgow
18 Oct – Soup Kitchen, Manchester
19 Oct – Oslo, London