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Baker's Dozen

"Where Was My Mind?" Jenny Hval's 'Favourite Albums'
JR Moores , October 28th, 2015 12:02

We asked Jenny Hval to pick her 13 favourite LPs, which she didn't, because she thinks that's a "horrible" task. Fair enough, said JR Moores, so here, instead, are 13 underappreciated records she's hoping you'll go out and enjoy


Alice Coltrane≈Turiyasangitananda - Divine Songs
I do love the '70s stuff as well but this one was given to me and I'd heard the other stuff before so I already knew and expected a certain sound, I guess, and then this one seems like it's one of the most 'reaching for something' albums I've ever heard. It's also one of the most static-yet-moving albums. It's probably one of the albums I've listened to the most in the past two or three years. It seems to exist beyond the world. I just keep coming back to it. It evokes different things than her other work. It's a very simple album, in a way. Maybe it's also because I'm an '80s child and the synthesisers instantly turn my ears on. But I also think it's a really touching collaborative work. It's made with a group of students so I can really - or imagine that I can really - hear this sort of divine collaboration happening that's really slow, but I can hear people listening to each other when I hear this album. And I really love her singing. It's singing that doesn't care.

One of the lyrics on your new album is: "I want to sing religiously." Is it this kind of singing that you mean?

No, that actually refers to singing melisma in gospel music. That's more a personal reference because I used to be very close to a lot people singing gospel-style when I was in school and learning how to use my voice myself by being in bands and that kind of extracurricular thing. I also went to music high school and I didn't sing there but a lot of my classmates were singers and they'd all pretty much come from singing in the gospel choir background so it was all this melisma all day and, you know, so many notes, I kept feeling I was surrounded by bubbles, this endless stream of going nowhere but reaching up and down. I always found that very much about the ego, just showing off, like masturbating in public. For Apocalypse, girl, I did get interested in going back to it and trying, not necessarily to learn some of it, but to fail at it because I think it was time to approach that type of white gospel singing that I always hated when I was very arrogant and much younger. I just really wanted to approach it with more humility, I guess, to try to understand it instead of writing it off as something that the uncool did. Because that's a pretty judgmental attitude, in the end, to music. I would also really like to, at some point, investigate singing like Alice Coltrane on this album. A different type of religion.