Lost Girls – Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden on Their Debut Album “Menneskekollektivet” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024  

Lost Girls – Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden on Their Debut Album “Menneskekollektivet”

The Humming of Everyday Life

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There is a moment during Under the Radar’s Zoom conversation with Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden where the couple (who were in the same room together) unknowingly inhabit the exact same pose together on screen: rolling deep reflecting eyes with the left hand resting on the cheek. It speaks of the fluidity in which the Norwegian duo—who together form the paradigm-shattering project Lost Girls—carry themselves, causing tiny rifts between existence and performance with their presence.

Even during the more mundane, small talk, Hval and Volden can’t help but carve out quizziocal observations. When introduced to their newly adopted puppy Cleo, Hval playfully inquires to which extent animals can perceive human expressions: “Pets probably understand a lot of things about us that we don’t even know that we’re signaling.”

For Menneskekollektivet, their first full-length album as Lost Girls, Hval and Volden explored different ways to capture the dynamics of their live performances on a record. It involved a lot of touching in the dark through words, sound, and melody, capturing both the chaos and the symbiosis in heartfelt, achingly human ways.

During the sessions at Øra studios in Trondheim, Volden stood on equal footing in both musical direction and production, creating a more conversational dynamic than Hval was used to in the past with her solo work. “You wanted the guitar and the vocals to be on an equal volume, and I was like: ‘Are you sure?,’” Volden says, turning to Hval. “I’ve always seen the guitar more as a backing instrument.” When addressing his past studying jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music, Volden lets out a demurring chuckle, one that reveals a bit of resentment towards the school’s rather competitive environment. “The first thing I did was to try and unlearn everything I learned there,” he calmly states. “I just played very, very quiet music with just a bow—without the strings even—for a couple of years.”

The album’s title track starts with Hval recollecting a conversation with two Jehova’s Witnesses. Normally apprehensive in such a situation, she instead let them in. “It was a bizarre conversation. But I think [‘Menneskekollektivet’] was also informed by other, more long-term thoughts about what performing is and what creating is. And what the difference is between religious singing and non-religious singing. The way we were told what art is might be very informed by The Bible. When you start with a clean canvas, it does sound like the different beginnings of The Bible.”

Through collaborating and exploring, Hval and Volden seem to have embraced a new level of freedom and joy in a time when enclosed spaces feel more oppressive than ever. Within such an enclosed space, they devised a situation that compelled them to create in the moment just to get from one point to the next. Where some find comfort in religion, philosophy, or recreation, Volden and Hval uphold an almost shamanic devotion to the act of creating itself, and in doing so, have summoned a sonic space for all to connect within. A space where the noise and poetry coalesce; the humming of everyday life. “It sort of reveals the joyful experience of Lost Girls,” Hval concludes. “Like how you start off wanting to say something but then you forget because you get drawn into something more exotic.”



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