This Sat. 4/12, Jenny Hval and Mark McGuire at Bunk Bar
Written by Sean Mahan on April 8, 2014
Jenny Hval and Mark McGuire
Saturday, April 12 at 9:00pm
at Bunk Bar
“Something happens when you say ‘I’ in a song, that can’t happen in a book,” declares Jenny Hval, who’s known in her native Norway both as a musician, as a published novelist, and media commentator. Her songs, featuring frequently explicit language, explore subjectivity and sensuality, and experiment with male perspectives and voices. Like contemporaries, such as Julia Holter and Laurel Halo, she is weaving spellbinding new forms of intelligent, experimental pop with injection from mythology, theory, gender politics, and improvisation.
Multidisciplinary and transgressive are words often employed to describe Jenny Hval’s polyphonic artistry, seamlessly interwoven between musical, literary, visual and performative modes of expression. The artist latest album Innocence Is Kinky presents a dynamic in words and sounds, exploring the interaction between distinctions that have been eroded, where the perpetual slippage of meaning has left only a heady swirl of evocative images and impressions. It’s faintly surreal listening experience, with lyrics that continually defamiliarise the familiar. The body becomes an alien entity, repellent and lying beyond the agency of the individual. Hval’s lean four-piece swings between opposing musical poles, questioning any division between the cerebral, the beautiful, and the ugly: taut post-punk melts into weightless ambient-pop, which in turn erupts into muscular out-rock. The album retains a knotted, claustrophobic demeanor, labyrinthine and impenetrable in its complexity. The music is born of a destructive urge, expressing the fantasies about being burned alive and it is only as her body fragments and dissolves, as all stability and order disappears. There is a Twin Peaks quote through the record, intoning “Fire, walk with me!” at the surging climax of centerpiece I Got No Strings. In the same way that David Lynch exposed the seedy and nightmarish underbelly of that sleepy town on the Canadian border, Hval has created a work that tears down our neatly demarcated distinction between good and bad, pleasure and horror, and innocence and kink.
The guitarist/producer emerges with his forthcoming Along the Way. The album details the inner journey of an individual seeking definition and enlightenment. Playing with a wide variety of instruments and styles, McGuire presents his unique vision of modern psychedelia. Using electric and acoustic guitars, a Talkbox, drum machines, and a mandolin, the artist conducts a sonic exploration of the inner self: “The story is an odyssey through the vast, unknown region of the mind… The endless unfolding of psychological landscapes, leading to perpetual discoveries and expansions, in a genuinely emergent and infinite world of worlds.”