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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


Sheila Chandra with the Ganges Orchestra - This Sentence Is True (The Previous Sentence Is False)
That's a real favourite. I heard it when it came out and it was pretty much the perfect time because at that exact time I was starting to record music - or learn how to record is probably a more accurate description of it - and so this very experimental attitude to the speaking voice and rhythm and different traditions of using the voice on this album just hit my spirit on the head. I could easily become extremely nerdy with this album. One of my favourites on the album is 'Not A Word In The Sky' which, if I remember correctly, is a sort of reimagining of Major Tom, after many, many years alone in space. That's quite magical. I find the lyrics very beautiful. I just love the way she speaks. And on other tracks, that incredible rhythmic control and the softness in her voice.

Chandra can't speak or sing anymore.

No, she can't, she has this awful condition [burning mouth syndrome]. It's like some kind of punishment. Of all the people in the world. It burns her mouth when she speaks or something. It does sound horrible. On her website there's a piece about this album and she's written it, I think, and it just really adds to the album experience. She's a very good writer. This Sentence Is True was made as she was recovering from something so she couldn't sing properly and they had to do other things so the way she uses her voice on this album comes from using it differently or not being able to do what she usually did; that kind of true exploration that comes when you have limitations that you can't get around. Sometimes that leads to very good musical work.