New Internationalist


July 2011

By Jenny Hval

Listen very closely indeed: Viscera, the new album from the astonishing Norwegian artist Jenny Hval, starts so quietly that any extraneous noises obliterate the careful bell sounds that open it. This quietness is important: Hval wants us to listen to the whole sound of the bell – the moment of its striking, the rising in volume, to the final decay of the note – as if to make us focus on what happens at the limits of our senses.

But Viscera is about more than the imperceptible. It’s an album that is as much about poetry and story-telling as performance, using as its central conceit the idea of the body that births the music. Hval’s English-language lyrics bear study – tongues, hair, milk, livers, all get a mention – and the music veers from the slight to the full-on. ‘Portrait of a Young Girl’ is a swarming cloud of sound that takes the album to new places. Already provoking comparisons with Patti Smith and Kate Bush, Hval is one to watch.

Buy from Amazon UK

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 444 This column was published in the July 2011 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Never miss another story! Get our FREE fortnightly eNews

Comments on Viscera

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Viscera Fact File
Product information Rune Grammofon RCD 2108 CD/LP/download
Star rating4

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 444

New Internationalist Magazine issue 444
Issue 444

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.