Jenny Hval has today announced her new album, The Practice of Love. The Norwegian avant-garde artist’s seventh full-length overall, the record is due out September 13th on Sacred Bones and is being previewed with the lead single, “Ashes to Ashes”.
The Practice of Love comes three years after Hval’s last effort, Blood Bitch, which went down as one of the best albums of 2016. Where that last LP was all about sampled textures stitched together for disorienting effect, this latest one takes a dreamier approach as Hval explores the very notion of love and care. With songs described in a press release as hewing “more closely to poetic forms than anything Hval has made before,” the lyrics are often sung in a “braid-work of voices” including collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert, and Félicia Atkinson.
Explaining the album’s thematic drive in a statement, Hval said,
“This all sounds very clichéd, like a standard greeting card expression. 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?”
Here first query on this inquisitive path comes in the form of “Ashes to Ashes”. Layers of gauzy synth lift to the song to the heady space where understanding mixes with mortality, syncopated rhythms reminding us that inevitability does not necessarily require resignation. In fact, it should mean deeper connection and appreciation, as Hval sings, “I had a dream about the songs/ That I had not written yet/ Like I used to dream of fucking before I knew how/ I was playing some kind of instrument/ That was just a shape in the Earth.”
Take a listen to Jenny Hval’s “Ashes to Ashes” below. Pre-orders for The Practice of Love via Sacred Bones.
Jenny Hval has a handful of European performances scheduled in support of The Practice of Love, including an appearance at Le Guess Who? Festival in the Netherlands come November. Find tickets to all her upcoming dates here.
The Practice of Love Artwork:
The Practice of Love Tracklist:
01. Lions (feat. Vivian Wang)
02. High Alice
03. Accident (feat. Laura Jean)
04. The Practice of Love (feat. Laura Jean and Vivian Wang)
05. Ashes To Ashes
06. Thumbsucker (feat. Félicia Atkinson and Laura Jean)
07. Six Red Cannas (feat. Vivian Wang, Félicia Atkinson and Laura Jean)
08. Ordinary (feat. Vivian Wang and Félicia Atkinson)