Norway - Full Moon 247 - 10/16/16
Sacred Bones / Su Tissue
Jeny Hval strikes heavy with her latest album Blood Bitch, which comes from or roams the darkest side of the night. Among the scariest monsters and super-creepy creeps. Blood-lust,
fangs, pale faces. There will be blood. Blood and rituals.
Hval is an artist with a clever, authoritative and respected feminist punch and angle. She seems so full of integrity, so confident and thought-out, like she'll never fail in her artistic
career. Never. At all. Blood Bitch is an album kept simple but with a striking power from inside its plain simplicity. Well, simple is not the right word or phrase. This is done with
style, but with everything held low-key and low-toned. Blood Bitch was co-produced by noise-maister Lasse Marhaug and Hval herself. The sound of the album, the entire production is
clear, crispy crystal and fresh. Eminent minimalism. First single teaser "Female Vampire" is a standout track from the album, even though there are several neat tracks making this album a
'whole'. The album's story (or stories) - and theme - makes an album that needs to be listened to throughout in its chronology - from start to finsish. From the opening "Ritual Awakening",
to the closing "Lorna". Hval's lyrics are little stories, short stories buidling a whole. Some alternative vampire diaries, maybe? Words and music is written by Jenny Hval, except that Marhaug
has co-written two tracks with Hval: The instrumental (except for the line 'It hurts everywhere') "In The Red", which starts out surfing the programmed beat from "Female Vampire" and it sounds
like it's a manic run through the woods; plus the Tabla kick-started "The Plague", which turns into a nightmare-ish, bleak-black drama twisting and turning bewtween instrumental parts and
feverish, poetic spoken word parts, plus some dives into more glooomy, experimental noise soundscapes. Which is a quite fitting, expected way to go/sound for a song called "The Plague". Then
folows the dance-beat of "Secret Touch", proving Hval's skills for making more 'accessible' music. If/when she wants to do such a 'thing', melodically or rhythmically. I'm not saying this
album is a totally far-off, highly experimental record, as the catchy, pumping "Female Vampire" also has a beat that aims for the dance floor. Well, it's looking for 'fresh blood on the dancefloor'
from a vampire state of mind.
Hval has done most vocals, instruments and programming herself, but the album's created with some additional players: Håvard Volden (some synths, beats and tape manipulation), plus
vocal additions by film maker Zia Anger and painter/writer/performer Annie Bielski, as well as some pro tabla playing by Sanskriti Shresta. Marhaug has stayed away from the knobs and buttons
except from everything dealing with producing and mixing the album (Marhaug is also the album's art director). Blood Bitch take us deep into the night, through the vampire madness,
the hunger and lust for blood. And death! This is, to quote Hval, 'an investigation of blood. [...] the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers.' Here's for sure a female perspective, with a blood urge highly present. 'But
what it is / must / maybe / near human / I must be near human / blood / maybe / yes / blood...' and 'What is this desire? / this biting / eating
into another person...' (from "The Plague" and "Lorna"). Blood Bitch is both scary and fascinating with lyrics dealing with 'vagine savant', 'birth control', 'blood' - and more
blood. This is avantgarde pop music tinted with or covered in blood. From the perspective of some timeless vampire. This isn't music (and lyrics) for the faint-hearted.
PS! Blood Bitch is a joint release by US (Brooklyn based) label Sacred Bones and the tiny Norwegian Su Tissue label [which is probably named after Su Tissue (a.k.a. Sue McLane), the
singer of the pioneering American new wave/post-punk band Suburban Lawns].
Copyright © 2016 Håvard Oppøyen