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jenny hval - Viscera
Compelling and quite incredible third album from Jenny Hval aka Rockettothesky, ably assisted by mixing desk maverick, Helge Sten aka Deathprod. As the first album created under her real name, there's sort of an obligation for 'Viscera' to be more special, more personal and outstanding. Safe to say, she's achieved our imposed goal. Taken literally 'Viscera' pertains to spaces, or cavities in the body, and each track has like the organic nuance of a larger, more complex system. As her label says "The songs are stories of flesh and travelling, both sensual and provocative" disclosing deeply personal tales and covering a broad expanse of sonic landscapes and imaginary ground. No doubt, this is in no small part thanks to Helge Sten's contributions, clearly relishing the ping of electroacoustic jazz percussion against Hval's acoustic guitar in the opening verse of "I arrived in town/with an electric toothbrush/pressed against my clitoris" to 'Engines In The City', before expanding the drama of 'Blood Fight' with vivid, yet ethereal electronics over almost medieval instrumentation while making the subtlest embellishments to her vocals at crucial moments. At the darkest moments, such as 'This Is A Thirst', we're encountering abyssal Deathprod territory, only kept from tipping over the edge by Hval's presence, which itself oscillates between haunting and reassuring. Whatever way you take it, this album is deeply beautiful, unpredictable and simply quite stunning. Highly recommended!