Speaking in English, this hyper-gifted musician and author from Oslo (exploratory songs but also novels) wants to be both instinctive and cerebral. We know that this posture represents an advantage for some people, nerds and aesthetes in the minority, and… an oddity or even an annoying headache for the other humans, who are in the majority. This time, however, a part of both worlds can be reconciled in Jenny Hval’s world at the end of her COVID19 isolation.
Better than anyone, she sums up the process on “Classic Objects”, her tenth album since she entered public life in 2006 as Rockettothesky:
“Is art nothing more than a fancy, difficult construct I’ve dressed my naked self in, one that isn’t really necessary? In the age of social media, the search for truth and the capitalization of the real and private individual, other values are being lost. And during the pandemic, these other values were not even allowed. Art had no value, except perhaps that of comfort. It made me feel very ordinary. That feeling made me want to write something very simple. Stories about life, maybe even about my own life. I wanted to investigate “just me”, to strip the concept and idea of myself down to the deepest cells. In a way, to show the listener that at the heart of our search for ‘just me’ is the void.”
This paradoxical dive into the emptiness of the deepest self has led Jenny Hval to explore various themes during the pandemic confinement such as marital union, health care, self-healing, flat wellness, places from her real past, and other places that are fictional, dreamlike, celestial, or downright hallucinated.
Musically, “Classic Objects” represents her idea of a pop album. In any case, her fans will agree that this is probably the closest she has come to the song form. The concern for clarity from more conventional forms is therefore a key factor of this new proposal. Thus, we can find verses and refrains, consonant melodies. The musical sources are varied, pop, avant-pop, dream pop, drone, ambient, chamber jazz… Of course, it is not an authentic pop album, but the experimental elements appear only in some details.
Here is a magnificent gateway to the fascinating universe of this exceptional artist and intellectual.