Norwegian artist and writer Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013's Innocence Is Kinky and 2015's Apocalypse, girl, Hval's debut for Sacred Bones, she has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing, performance art, and film. The New York Times defines her writing as "taking a scalpel to the subjects of gender politics and sexuality." Hval has eloquently brought to light issues of both male and female gaze, which for years had been swept under the rug and/or denied all together.
Hval's conceptual takes on collective and individual gender identities and sociopolitical constructs landed Apocalypse, girl on dozens of year end lists and compelled writers everywhere to grapple with the age-old, yet previously unspoken, question: What is Soft Dick Rock After touring for a year and earning her second Nordic Prize nomination, as any perfectionist would, Hval immediately went back into the studio to continue her work with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, with whom she co-produces here on Blood Bitch. Her new effort is in many respects a complete 180º from her last in subject matter, execution and production. It is her most focused, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects.
STATEMENT FROM THE ARTIST:
Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers.
Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story, fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the '70s. With that language, rather than smart, modern social commentary, I found I could tell a different story about myself and my own time: a poetic diary of modern transience and transcendence.
There is a character in this story that is a vampire Orlando, traveling through time and space. But there is also a story here of a 35-year old artist stuck in a touring loop, and wearing a black wig. She is always up at night, jet lagged, playing late night shows - and by day she is quietly resting over an Arp Odyssey synthesizer while a black van drives her around Europe and America.
So this is my most fictional and most personal album. It's also the first album where I've started reconnecting with the goth and metal scene I started out playing in many years ago, by remembering the drony qualities of Norwegian Black Metal. It's an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.