JENNY HVAL – ” The Practice of Love “

Posted: December 27, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , ,

At first listen, “The Practice of Love”, Jenny Hval’s seventh full-length album, unspools with an almost deceptive ease. Across the eight tracks, filled with arpeggiated synth washes and the kind of lilting beats that might have drifted, loose and unmoored, from some forgotten mid-’90s trance single, The Practice of Love feels, first and foremost, compellingly humane. Given the horror and viscera of her previous album, 2016’s Blood Bitch, The Practice of Love is almost subversive in its gentleness—a deep dive into what it means to grow older, to question one’s relationship to the earth and one’s self, and to hold a magnifying glass over the notion of what intimacy can mean.

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As Hval describes it, the album charts its own particular geography, a landscape in which multiple voices engage and disperse, and the question of connectedness—or lack thereof—hangs suspended in the architecture of every song. It is,an album about “seeing things from above—almost like looking straight down into the ground, all of these vibrant forest landscapes, the type of nature where you might find a porn magazine at a certain place in the woods and everyone would know where it was, but even that would just become rotting paper, eventually melting into the ground.”

“Look at these trees/ Look at this grass/ Look at those clouds … Study this/ And ask yourself/ Where is God?” Leave it to Jenny Hval to open an album with words that could’ve been lifted from a self-help mindfulness exercise and turn them into an existential reckoning. The Practice Of Love grapples with all kinds of questions, as any of Hval’s work does. But at the same time as Hval remains thought-provoking, she’s now housed these meditations in futuristic pop songs like “High Alice” and “Ashes To Ashes,” locating an accessibility and infectiousness we might not have ever expected from her. The Practice Of Love is a thing of shimmering beauty throughout, but perhaps this is its most moving takeaway: constant searching leading to new thoughts and new sounds, history and memory and life lived stoking yet another evolution.

From ‘The Practice of Love,’ out September. 13th, 2019. Sacred Bones Records

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