Jenny Hval & Susanna, “I Have Walked This Body”

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 07.16.14 in Listen to This

Jenny Hval is an academic and a novelist. Though her music stems from the erudite world of sound installations, her lyrics tend to stand out (those jarred by the porn-lit opening of last year’s John Parish-produced Innocence Is Kinky should go back to 2011′s Viscera, which begins “with an electric toothbrush pressed up against my clitoris”). But the Norwegian artist also understands the power that lies beyond the verbal. Hval told Wondering Sound contributor Stephen M. Deusner about inventing her own meaning for English-language songs growing up: “It’s very far away from what the actual meaning is, but you have this amazing process of just listening to language and not even thinking that it is language.”

It will take more listens to suss out all the words to Hval’s newly shared collaboration with her compatriot Susanna, “I Have Walked This Body,” but its groaning, droning purposefulness — treated, ululating harmonies; dive-bombing distortion — warrants them. Hval and Susanna recorded the track as part of their 2009 project Meshes of Voice, which was recorded live at the an art museum and is due out as an album next month via SusannaSonata. As for literal meaning, Susanna told Pitchfork in a statement the work “became some sort of a modern fable about human mind and body combined with the mystery of nature, where a black lake both threatens and comforts a feast of beautiful melodies and harmonies to be interrupted by expanding noise and reverb.” Dive in below.