Meshes of Voices (SusannaSonata)

Jenny Hval & Susanna

Released August 15, 2014

The Guardian 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2014




“Mythical animals were a big inspiration,” says composer and songwriter Jenny Hval about Meshes Of Voice, a new collaboration between her and Susanna. “We looked at Medusa, Athena and Harpy (a combination of woman and bird) – as examples of depictions of woman – the ugly, the goddess-like, the gruesome,” agrees Susanna. This collaboration – featuring the two strongest Nordic voices around today – started back in 2009 as an exchange of letters, then developed into two live performances, one at Oslo Jazz Festival, the other at the Henie Onstad Art Centre, where this album was recorded. Mixed and mastered by Helge Sten (Deathprod, Supersilent), Meshes Of Voice presents a stunning vocal universe of confessions, whispers and seductions. Tracks like “I Have Walked This Body” seem to rise monstrously and threateningly out of some mythological fog of distorted improvised noise.

Track Listing:

1. Droplet (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 02:15

2. Black Lake (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 05:27

3. Milk Pleasures (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 02:17

4. I Have Walked This Body (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 05:36

5. O Sun O Medusa (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 02:18

6. A Mirror In My Mouth (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 03:05

7. Thirst That Resembles Me (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 04:15

8. I Have a Darkness (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 04:48

9. A Sudden Swing (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 02:52

10. Honey Dew (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 01:19

11. Medusa (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 03:19

12. Running Down (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 04:13

13. House of Bones (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 02:27

14. Dawn (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 04:04

15. The Black Lake Took (Jenny Hval / Susanna) 03:23


Jenny Hval: voice, effects, noise, samples, guitar, autoharp, piano
Susanna: voice, grand piano, effects, noise, samples, electric harmonium
Anita Kaasbøll: voice, effects, noise, drums
Jo Berger Myhre: double bass, zither, effects, noise

Recorded March 8th, 2009, at Henie Onstad Arts Centre, Høvikodden, Norway by David Solheim
Mixed and mastered at Audio Virus LAB by Helge Sten
Art by Arne Bendik Sjur is used with permission from the artist
Cover design and artwork by Johanna Blom


Norwegian singer/songwriter Susanna Wallumrød doesn’t flinch from raw emotional realities, but she usually traverses them with a seraphic, pure-toned calm. Conversely, Jenny Hval (Susanna’s compatriot, and a poet and novelist as well as one-woman band Rockettothesky) negotiates the same terrain with a fierce, dissonant candour – their meeting was always likely to strike sparks. They jointly wrote Meshes of Voice for Ladyfest in 2009, inspired by Maya Deren’s 1943 surrealist film, Meshes of the Afternoon, and the gothic visions of Antoni Gaudí. It’s a wild,disorientating but exultant experience, using voices, keys, guitar, percussion and electronics to embrace minimalist, quietlyclanging churchbell sounds; typical Susanna incantations that get swept away by crashing waves of noise; call-and-response exchanges between Susanna’s entreaties and Hval’s defiance, occasion–ally mellow, country-music vocal harmonies and pop-song tunes; and rumbles of prayerlike chanting. I Have Walked This Body – a mix of solemnity and abrasiveness reminiscent of Annette Peacock and the most pop-friendly track here – could even end up an underground hit.

John Fordham (The Guardian)