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Jenny Hval & Susanna: Meshes Of Voice

Album Review

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

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