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ARCHIVES | 2008 | MUSIC | ROCKETTOTHESKY


Biography

Rockettothesky, or Jenny Hval as the boarding pass would say, has travelled so much back and forth she sometimes feels like a seam stitching together two continents: Norway and Australia. So much in fact she feels at home in the sky. When her dog Inka died a few years back, she sent it in a rocket into space. At least into a song. She named the song Rockettothesky.

 

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And so communication began between a dead dog and a living girl. Jenny continued to play secret music for years, while moving from Norway to Australia and playing in several bands down under. She studied writing, performance, and philosophy and wrote little songs so her dog could keep up with it all: Sophocles, Jacques Derrida, Luce Irigaray, Kathy Acker... But one day she found herself back in Oslo, on her own and suddenly playing these songs to people.

The people liked songs too, and Jenny played the annual event by:larm in 2006 and released the album To sing you apple trees in Norway the same year on TrustMe records. The album received rave reviews. The critics sounded like they’d never heard anything like it: poetry, philosophy and rampant sexuality set in space. The female Ziggy Stardust perhaps, said Gerald Casale of Devo. She was nominated for Best New Act at the Norwegian Grammys. She toured Norway with her three-piece live band winter 2006 and 2007, and is booked for most of the main festivals this summer. In January, To Sing You Apple Trees peaked 6000 sold records in Norway.

 

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But that doesn’t prevent Jenny from talking to dogs or writing in secret. In fact she is writing this in secret on a train. Her live band thinks she’s writing an e-mail. But she isn’t, is she?

 

Discography

-) 2006 : 'To Sing You Apple Trees' on TrustMe Records.

Naruto Forum's point of view:

There are few genres of music nowadays that are as handicapped as "Female Solo Artist", and if you didn't react to that statement you are proof of this. "Female Solo Artist" isn't a genre at all.

But it has gotten to the point in this country where every female solo artist outside the worst bubblegum-pop has become synonymous, and thereby struggles with the fact she, being the same girl with a guitar in the conciousness of the public, releases at least ten albums a year. Jenny Hval, or "Rockettothesky" as it says on her record cover, is, understandably enough, fucking tired of this.

To Sing You Apple Trees, Hval's first as a solo artist, is a neo-feminist comment, not only against record reviewers' patronizing attitude towards girls with guitars (I doubt that alone could have filled more than an EP), men towards more general themes such as love and outlook on reality. And sex, of course. The album's so drenched in sex that the song titled "Cigars" is automatically about Bill Clinton.

Hval's feminism is most exlicitly expressed in the March 8-slogan of a tune "A Cute Lovesong, Please", where the rhymes "masturbate/ejaculate/menstruate" gets hammered through so thoroughly that you're almost surprised when they don't continue into "emasculate" and "castrate". The song appear like a cheeky contrast after two very low key tunes, and is thus a good (if a bit vulgar) example of the duality that flows through the entire album. Hval compensates a soft voice with hard words, scheechingly off-key vocals with beautiful harmonies in the background, and the victim role with classic female mind games. She wants to stand up for the female soloartist, but still puts distance between them and her by releasing albums under a band name and her obvious aversion from the things she accuses people of accusing female solo artists for.

Does it work both as pop-music and as a gender political statement? Of course. After all, if it didn't work as the one, it wouldn't have worked as the other.

Less - website.

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Audio

You can listen to a few tracks here.

 

Web

-) Official site.
-) TrustMe Records.