Jenny Hval’s new offering, Blood Bitch (out September 30, 2016 on Sacred Bones) is an intense, unsettling, and exquisitely intimate listen.
On Blood Bitch Hval lulls and disturbs in equal measure with otherworldly croons, unearthly yowls, frantic panting, and hushed spoken word. Incorporating elements of poetry, prose writing, performance art, and film, the album oscillates between the gentle lilt of a dreamy choir, pulsating, gothic synths and an uncompromising weirdness incorporating whispers and white noise; while not an easy one to label, I would suggest that its sound falls somewhere in the realm of experimental, avant-pop tinged by the darkness and drone of black metal, and wound tightly together with Hval’s own brand of radical feminism.
Previously lauded for her entrancing exploration of bodies and gender and sexuality; Hval’s new offering, 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 vampire 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.”
Despite the mythical concepts and horror themes, Hval’s complex lyrics reflecting on regret, lust, failure, and passion lend to a thoroughly accessible listen and though perhaps it is her most fictional album, it is also her most personal. These rituals and cycles of which she murmurs and coos, are they not the very incantations that sing in our own blood as well… and let’s be real–haven’t we all felt like queen of the menstruating vampires at some point in time?
And next time I wake up
There’s blood on the bed
Didn’t know it was time yet
…Or is it not mine?