Norwegian musician and writer Jenny Hval honed an intellectual yet uncompromising viewpoint on politics and sexuality in her prose and in her albums, which included two as Rockettothesky and several under her own name.
Growing up in Oslo, Hval was inspired by Kate Bush, Jimmy Somerville, and the ambitious, androgynous feel of '80s pop, and began playing keyboard. During her teens, she also played in the goth pop band Shellyz Raven; after moving to Australia to study creative writing at the University of Melbourne, she played with the groups iPanic and Folding for Air, and also recorded her own material on a three-track recorder. She returned to Norway and released her debut EP, Cigars, which was nominated in the Best Newcomer category for that year's Spellemannprisen awards. She began recording as Rockettothesky that year, issuing To Sing You Apple Trees on Trust Me Records; two years later, the second Rockettothesky album, Medea, arrived. After Medea's release, Hval opted to release her music under her own name, and after signing with Rune Grammofon, she released Viscera in 2011. The following year, her collaboration with Håvard Volden, Nude on Sand, released its self-titled debut album. For 2013's Innocence Is Kinky, she worked with PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, who helped her flesh out the project's origins as a 25-minute art installation inspired in part by Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 classic La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc into a delicate but whip-smart album. As a writer, Hval's work includes the 2009 novel Perlebryggeriet (The Pearl Brewery) and pieces for various magazines and newspapers. Soon after Innocence Is Kinky's release, Hval began writing songs for her next album, taking inspiration from late-'60s Norwegian jazz singers, Todd Haynes' film Safe, and her upbringing in Norway's Bible Belt. The results, Apocalypse, Girl, arrived in 2015 on Sacred Bones. Hval returned with her fourth album under her own name in October 2016. Blood Bitch was inspired by exploitation and horror films of the '70s, Hval's own experiences touring her previous release, and the goth and metal scenes of her native Norway. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi