Lately I can’t get enough of eccentric Norwegian experimental pop artist Jenny Hval. She’s just released her sixth album, Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones/ Rocket) and it’s a monster. There’s so much going on. Metaphors abound, vampires, menstruation, the supernatural and 70’s horror films, are all enmeshed into a narrative that references childbirth, capitalism, love, the body and bodily functions. Sonically it’s really forward thinking, where melodies, noise, musique concrete, gothic synth pop, spoken word and all manner of experimental cross genre gestures intersect. Hval sings too, gentle crooning or intoning wordlessly over abstract yet strange and spooky, yet somehow reassuring sonics. It’s a dense album, its threads aren’t immediately obvious, and it takes some time to unravel, yet as it does you continue to find new elements contained within. These days so much music is genre safe, immediately pigeonholeable, so it’s actually quite novel to hear music that seems totally unconcerned with notions of genre, and appears much more interested in chasing down its muse. And its muse in this case is blood.
Adelaide musician Jason Sweeney, previously one half of Pretty Boy Crossover makes gorgeous ambient music as Panoptique Electrical. Last year he released an album with Hood and Declining Winter’s Richard Adams as Great Panoptique Winter. Last month he released the gentle, ambient Disappearing Music For Face on the Greek label Sound in Silence. Like his previous solo offerings, it merges sparse electronics, piano, bells and other analogue instruments. It’s sparse, gentle and atmospheric, some of the most beguiling sounds you could ever hope to hear.