A partnership several years in the making and unveiled in 2014's collaborative album Meshes of Voice, Jenny Hval's irreverent, experimental pop joins with the baroque grace of fellow Norwegian singer and songwriter Susanna Wallumrød.
Both celebrated artists in their own right, Hval came to wider acclaim with 2013's defining album Innocence is Kinky, her second full-length for Rune Grammofon. Trademarks of her work, recorded both under her own name and as Rockettothesky, include sly lyricism (she's also the author of two novels) and acrobatic vocalizations. Wallumrød, meanwhile, performs and records as one half of neo-classical duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra and heads the SunsannaSonata imprint, through which Meshes of Voice — a nominee for the Spellemannprisen, Norway's equivalent of a Grammy award—was released.
The duo's collaboration began in 2009 as an exchange of letters, which gave rise to a pair of live performances at Oslo Jazz Festival and the Henie Onstad Art Centre, where Meshes of Voice was recorded. Taking shape as a surrealistic, modern fable that unfolds over 15 tracks, the project was inspired by Maya Deren's iconic 1943 experimental film Meshes of the Afternoon and "the ugly, the goddess-like, the gruesome" of mythological creatures like Medusa, Athena, and Harpy. Throughout, the two artists' primary instruments—their voices—alchemize, diverge, and create subliminal melodies, set against shifting topographies of billowing reverb, low drones, fractured art-rock, and rafts of noise. "It's spiritual chamber music," writes The Wire. "Mytho-poetically encrusted, captivating, and terrifying at the same time."
Jenny Hval & Susanna perform Meshes of Voice for the first time in Berlin at the 16th edition of CTM Festival.