Boomkat Product Review:
‘The Practice of Love’ is the 5th solo album peach by Jenny Hval, one of the strongest avant/pop artists to emerge this decade, and certainly one of the most striking to emerge from Norway.
Conceived as an interdisciplinary piece for Oslo’s Ultima festival, ‘The Practice of Love’ investigates the link between life and art in a specific way that Hval terms “an umbilical magic”, or essentially the empathy of collective creation. Working with artists she loves, Jenny brings Félicia Atkinson, Vivian Wang and Laura Jean on board for a spellbinding expression of joy and pain, presence/absence, or life and death, that deals with heavy subjects in a naturally light-handed and uncannily expressive electronic pop style.
On the most immediate level, ‘The Practice of Love’ offers colourful and energetic relief from the hauntingly stark ‘Blood Bitch’ album, mostly thanks to Jenny’s embrace of light-headed dance tropes and uplifting ambient touches. But on another level, the lyrics and feel of the music connotes a sense of being beside or outside of one’s self, seeing the world from shared and other perspectives, in a play of individual/communal paradoxes familiar to dance music and the club experience; a kind of practice of love?
Purring into gear with the dawning flight of ‘Lions’ the LP winds thru sensuous ambient chug in ‘High Alice’ and the dry iced lift of ‘Accident’ to the poetic ambient centrepiece of Laura Jean and Viivian Wang’s superimposed voices in the title song, before Félicia Atkinson chimes in on the final section, lending ASMR whisper to ‘Thumbsucker’, while all four women converge in the winged ‘90s disco-tech of ‘Six Red Cannas.’