North American tour postponed (see SHOWS for rescheduled dates)

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Today I am postponing our upcoming North American tour. I’m really sorry to have to do this, but of course, there is no other way. The situation right now is extreme, and it is important to limit the spreading of COVID-19 as much as possible.

We are in the process of rescheduling some of the shows, but at the moment I don’t have more information than that.

Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.

I feel for artists, the people who work with them, curators, small venues, promoters, agents, and other freelance workers all over the globe who are suddenly losing their income for what could be a lengthy time period. Now is the time for supporting those artists as much as you can in other ways – buying records and listening closely, or via other channels.

I also feel for the audiences who are not able to gather in a safe space, all the people who are prohibited from coming together to speak a communal language. We gather because we need to.

Me and my band are currently working on alternative ways to communicate The Practice of Love (The Practice of Quarantine? The Practice of Love in the age of Corona?), which I will keep you posted on.

Meanwhile, stay safe, wash your hands, and take care of each other as best you can.

I’ll write more soon.

Love

2020

Hi there, it’s 2020, the year of perfect vision, what? I mean the year of continued bushfires in my beloved Australia (donate, donate or donate, or purchase the Chapter Music Bushfire Benefit compilation here), and terrible political situations all around the globe.

I am enjoying not being on social media very much this year (so far), but I’m here (it seems whenever we are offline a bit we have to reassure everyone that we are still alive, so here I am saying that), and I am spending some time with new ideas for upcoming performances in the new year. We’re going to Berlin, Leuven, North America, and more. Take a look here.

I noticed my album ended up on a lot of 2019 lists at the end of the year, and I am extremely grateful for everyone who has listened to my music with such care and excitement, even if I am ambivalent to lists myself.

To me, best-of list is of course not the ideal picture of the actual events and experiences of any given time. I know many of the people who make lists would agree, of course. I also know that lists are many times made out of love, and exist as an encouragement to listen to new music the listener might have missed. Nonetheless – lists, awards and ratings place what should be a large network of possibility (the music scene, the underground, the grass roots, the artist networks, the “us”) into a competitive, hierarchical structure based on a set of often limiting, hierarchical paradigms.

We know this already, of course. I keep thinking about this as I keep seeing lists with my album on it, and feeling both 1) gratitude for the lovely write-ups and thorough listening it (and other albums) has received, as well as 2) sadness for all the great records and artists that are overlooked, and the systematic and competitive context it all appears in.

Well – happy Gregorian New Year, old fashioned artist web site reader!

Accident

Here is the video for Accident – a song that took ten years to write & a song that took twenty minutes to write.

I always wanted my friend Zia Anger to make a video for it. She did and it feels like a video that took an entire life to make <3

We wrote the following statement together about the video: 

With the release of this video we planned on publishing a dialogue between the two of us. Something that spoke about the kind of work we are doing, and that also referenced the theme of the video – the pairing of production and reproduction. 

It’s a given that the product of some artistic work is worthless. You are therefore expected to “mother” it instead of working and being compensated for it. And sometimes this is the best kind of work. Because it doesn’t feel valuable. Because not everybody will like it, or understand it. Because it won’t immediately be sucked up into the capitalist scroll. It has time and space to be conceived of, to sit in utero, to be birthed, to have its umbilical cord cut, and to live, to breathe. 

The same is true of our collaboration. We are both seen and heard by each other, and often validated by our responses to each other. However big (with a video) or small (with an email.) Our collaboration validates each other’s right to breathe, to live, to speak. It’s the closest we get to magic.

This dialogue however, felt rushed. We will publish it at a later date. Until then.

— Zia Anger and Jenny Hval

CREDITS
Zia Anger – Director
Corey Hughes – Cinematographer
Audrey Turner – Production Designer & H20
James Siewert – VFX
Chris Osborn – Editor
Irving Harvey – Color

Mother’s Performance by Barbara Anger

My album is coming

The Practice of Love, coming out on Sept 13th. Featuring the amazing Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert and Félicia Atkinson, as well as Lasse Marhaug (co-producer), Espen Reinertsen and Anja Lauvdal.

Mixed by Chris Elms, except one track mixed by Lasse Marhaug and another mixed by Kyrre Laastad. Mastered by Heba Kadry.

Big <3 to you all. Music is valuable, but most of all invaluable.

Listen to first single Ashes To Ashes here:

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the practice of love

I will present an interdisciplinary piece, The Practice of Love, at this year’s Ultima festival in Oslo. The piece brings together an ensemble of wonderful performers and artists that I love.

I tried to write something about it (I am always trying to write something about it…) and this is what I have to tell you so far:

The piece investigates the connection between life and art in a specific way – an umbilical magic, which brings together the possibility of creating art, creating life, and relating to other people, looking for empathy and a common language through speaking, singing, writing together. It also looks at the relationship between voice / presence / life and written word / absence / death: The voice comes from a living body, it is how we first relate to other humans, hearing our mother’s voice and responding to it … Whereas the dead body can no longer say “I”, and the written words are the remains that are chiseled into our tombstones. Is being drawn to words a death drive?

This is not all there is to it, of course. Does this sound heavy? Maybe that’s because descriptions tend to get heavy. Am I adapting to a certain type of language when I write these descriptions? Adapting my thoughts into one set of codes. Placing one version of my self on top of other versions.

I might write other descriptions as the work progresses. They will be lighter.

Ticket links and more details coming soon.

Jenny Hval_TPOL_bw_72ppi

Paradise Rot

Paradise Rot is my first novel, originally published in Norway in 2009 as Perlebryggeriet, but now finally translated to English and published very soon – in early October – by Verso. I will be touring it a little in the US and UK as well, stay tuned for details.

Read more about the book, plus a beautiful quote by Chris Kraus, here.

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The Long Sleep

The Long Sleep EP is out! Very proud of this, perhaps especially proud of two things: The title track and all the work with textures and structure, and being able to work with some favourite musicians and people on this recording (somewhat weirdly described in the press release as Norwegian jazz musicians, for which I take full responsibility. I should have worded this differently. What is amazing about Anja Lauvdal, Håvard Volden, Kyrre Laastad, Eivind Lønning and Espen Reinertsen, is that they are not jazz musicians, they are just excellent musicians who all have a complex, nuanced and critical relationship with all music that is labelled with any type of genre. I still enjoyed having my inbox overflow with messages from friends using the words “soft dick jazz”). Anyway – below is the beautiful cover, made by visual artist extraordinaire Constance Tenvik, and the words I used as an artist statement for the EP. These words are also the lyrics of the track I Want To Tell You Something (which exists only on the digital version of the EP because it’s about streaming).

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What am I doing here? Am I communicating? Am I promoting?

I just want to tell you something.

There should be something I could tell you, there should be something I could do to reach you directly, but there is nothing useful in the way we define “you”, or “me”. There should be something I could tell you, there should be something I could say directly without lyrics and melody.

Maybe that’s what I’m trying here. Something else than lyrics or melody. It’s not the words. It’s not in the rhythm. It’s not in the streaming. It’s not in the “message”. It’s not in the product. It’s not in the algorithms. It’s not something you decided. It’s not something they decided for you.

I want to tell you something. I just want to say: Thank you. I love you.

Å hate Gud

A month ago, Oktober Forlag published my new novel, Å hate Gud. They write about it that it is “an uncompromising, reflective, playful and deeply fascinating novel about black metal and white-painted idyll, about underground movements, magic and rebellion. The narrative, the essayistic and the magical is organically woven together into a literary text that both genre-wise and by virtue of its content refuses to be boxed in.”

There you go. Cover design by the one and only Lasse Marhaug.

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LOST GIRLS

I have a new band!

LOST GIRLS is a duo with Håvard Volden (who also plays in my solo project … Why not keep things a little confusing?). The name is taken from this mind-blowing book. We’re releasing a 12″ recording in two parts soon (March 2nd, on Smalltown Supersound). Meanwhile, watch this beautiful film that our friend Jenny Berger Myhre directed. We were going for a homage to this film, but got lost, which I guess is perfect for our collaboration. And so Jenny (not me) made this instead:

More soon. A lot is happening this year.

feat.

I’ve done a few collaborations (or what is it called, I was “featured”?) over the past year that I should share with you… I have to say that these tracks are written mostly by these three marvellous musicians and producers, I merely joined in and enjoyed their art worlds…

The first one I did was for Kelly Lee Owens, who also did a fantastic rework of my track “Kingsize” two years ago…

This second one was for my almost neighbour and gem of Oslo Carmen Villain… It also lead to me writing another track, but more on that some other time…

And finally, I did some ghost story talk-singing over a Lindstrøm sketch which he then rearranged into a long, sweeping cemetery disco track…

I’m grateful and honoured to have been invited into these worlds. It has also made me think a lot, as I am asked about the lyrics for these songs on several occasions and I have mixed feelings about sharing them. These songs are mostly written by others, and so my largely improvised words are sometimes re-arranged, shuffled, or placed very carefully by others into the setting of their songs. So did I then “write the words”? I don’t necessarily feel like I have “written lyrics” for a track in this process. The “feat.” is a process of defeat, in that I surrender syllables and sounds to others, allowing them to construct something which might end up changing the meaning of what I originally did (which I many times also didn’t really know at the time). It’s an amazing process that teaches me a lot about production, pronunciation, phrasing, and poetry.

The concept of “lyrics” is not as simple as to share a file of words that is “the real meaning behind” the song. Is there ever something tangible “behind” a piece of music? I think about this after watching a Youtube clip my friend sent me where famous singers “break down” on stage and have to stop singing. In the video, the singers’ names are listed in the top-left corner, and below is an explanation, so you would see a clip of Justin Bieber crying on stage, and then the text SINGER: JUSTIN BIEBER, REASON: EMOTIONAL COMEBACK. The need to break down the breakdown puzzles me…

I might write more about this some time.