The music flickers between club beats and improvised guitar textures; between spoken word and melodic vocal textures; between abstract and harmonic synth lines. Throughout, Volden’s guitar and Hval’s voice come across as equals, wandering, wondering, meandering.
Menneskekollektivet was created in-between set structures and the energy of collective exploration at Norway’s Øra Studios in March 2020. This is what makes the album unique: The quality of trying something, to see if the structures fit. In a way this is a more physical version of what Hval has been exploring lyrically over the past decade in her solo work. The album’s title, which translates to human collective in Norwegian, adds to the feeling of a recording made as part of a strange, improvised performance project.
Lyrics have a peculiar place on Menneskekollektivet. Hval concentrated on words as performed situations, sometimes just talking into the mic to discover rhymes or musical phrases. They build emotional complexity like a club track would with its drum machine pattern. Volden’s guitar somehow works in the same mode, intensifying with lines that are sometimes jarring, sometimes harmonic. Lost Girls leave both form and content, music and words, suspended in a piece in the puzzle of human performance.
At the beginning of “Menneskekollektivet,” Hval’s voice is clear and hovers over synth. As it continues, percussion bleeds in, until it divulges completely into shifting, electronic sounds and Hval’s echoing vocals. “The song started out with some synth chords Håvard played. I felt they sounded like the beginning of the world, or a world, so I wanted to improvise words to them that somehow expressed a beginning of a world,” explains Hval. “They don’t make sense like a written lyric should, but they are trying to make sense of something, a moment, a slow transition. On this track, the voice, and the music too, slowly makes its way from alone to together."