Skip to main content

Jenny Hval & Susanna: Meshes Of Voice

More songs about mirrors and mouths.

A tribute of sorts to the oblique, often surreal imagery of 1940s American avant-garde film pioneer Maya Deren, this collaboration between two respected Norwegian musicians also focuses on dream-states, abandonment, surrender and cathartic release.

Separately, Jenny Hval’s Innocence Is Kinky and Susanna’s The Forester from 2013, exceeded the stereotypical limitations often endured by female singer-songwriters. Here their adventurous impulses are doubled in scope. Hval’s voice has a kinetic quirkiness compared to Susanna’s smouldering stillness. But together they’ve produced an enthralling suite cycle. I Have A Darkness transitions from one volatile state of being to another. Eventually consumed by the background radiation of distortion and white noise, the tempestuous effects here are reminiscent of Peter Hammill’s Magog (In Bromine Chambers). Emerging from the mayhem, their voices toll in a moving but disconsolate carillon. Atonality aside, the album overflows with sumptuous, keyboard-driven tunes animated by a passionately mesmeric wyrd-folk spirit. Sid Smith

Sid Smith
Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.