Jenny Hval has in recent years made a name for herself as an artist, musician and writer both in Norway and abroad. When her third record Viscera was released in 2011, WIRE magazine described the record as: “a stunning achievement both conceptually and musically.”
Multidisciplinary and transgressive are words often employed to describe her art, but Jenny Hval’s polyphonic artistry is in fact seamlessly interwoven between musical, literary, visual and performative modes of expression. Despite her young age, she has already infused, carved and modulated an artistic voice that is altogether present, accessible and obscurely complex at the same time.
Viscera was recorded with Hval’s own free rock trio and overflowed with intimate detail and surrealistic bodily imagery. The follow-up Innocence Is Kinky (2013) was produced in Bristol, England by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, who helped bring out the intimate qualities of her lyrics and sharpened her improvisational tendencies, weaving spellbinding new forms of intelligent, experimental pop with injections from mythology, theory and gender politics. You can also trace her no-holds-barred streams of consciousness and unorthodox subject matter back to earlier heroes such as Einstürzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld (her title puns on their LP Silence Is Sexy), Patti Smith, Michael Gira, Nick Cave and Kate Bush.
Jenny Hval studied Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne, and Literature at the University of Oslo. She has previously released two albums under the alias Rockettothesky as well as two books – the novel Perlebryggeriet (The Pearl Brewery) in 2009 and the collage text Inn i ansiktet (Sings with her eyes) in 2012. Alongside this she has, produced collaborative performances and sound installations, as well as contributing to magazines, anthologies and newspapers.
From the mid-western underground consciousness, guitarist/producer Mark McGuire emerges with his forthcoming 2014 Dead Oceans debut Along the Way. The conceptual album details the inner journey of an individual seeking definition and enlightenment. For those following McGuire’s musical ascent thus far, the record is a culmination of a prodigious and prolific artist.
Playing with a wide variety of instruments and styles on Along the Way, McGuire presents his unique vision of modern psychedelia. Using electric and acoustic guitars, a Talkbox, drum machines, a mandolin and lots in between, McGuire conducts a sonic exploration of the inner self. “This story is an odyssey through the vast, unknown regions of the mind,” he explains in the liner notes,” The endless unfolding of psychological landscapes, leading to perpetual discoveries and expansions, in a genuinely emergent and infinite world of worlds.”
Mark McGuire first came to national attention as part of Cleveland’s drone collective Emeralds, a band that single handedly created a paradigm shift toward the meditative in an era of underground music best known for noise and chaos. Their albums for the Editions Mego, No Fun and Hanson labels, among others, remain treasured to a generation of tape collecting misfits. Over the course of many independent and self-releases the individual members of the band exhibited their solo material from their earliest days. McGuire’s first solo release in 2006 showcased a natural affinity for melody, slowly disintegrating loops and composition. When he kept audiences spellbound with live performances of his material it made believers of concertgoers across the world. By 2009 his solo debut album Living With Yourself was garnering praise from press and audiences alike. McGuire as a solo performer made a direct connection with fans through his hypnotic playing, becoming more complex in its dynamics and phrasings. The album’s 2011 follow up Get Lost furthered the guitarist’s palate to include a sun-bleached digital effect. The music continually grew over itself as delays decayed and new ones took their place, each layer revealing colors and sunspots, reflecting the expanse of roads traveled.
The last few years have found McGuire touring with friends like Ducktails as well as performing as a fifth member of the legendary Afghan Whigs, collaborating with artists like Ponytail’s Dustin Wong and releasing his own R&B influenced Road Chief project. 2014 will bring more touring, more collaborations, more videos and media; expanding horizons that all start with a sound.