The Norwegian composer and performer, Juno Jensen, has released her new Pieces of Juno album, Metanoia. It is an outstanding and creative conclusion to her “coloured wig” trilogy.
Metanoia (the green one) follows Kalopsia (the red one) and Tacenda (the blue one), and continues to explore the space between jazz and experimental music where Tuxedomoon, Cult With No Name, I Am Snow Angel and Tori Amos sometimes tread.
Named for the Greek term for changing one’s mind, Metanoia is a showcase for the elegance of Jensen’s songwriting and vocalisation.
The album opens with the question, “Is this a dream?” The ethereal piano behind Jensen’s voice on “Fortuna” draws you into into an endless space where everything is vapour, so perhaps it is.
The wash of the sea enters the frame on “Ocean Floor,” with Jensen’s emeraldine vocals dancing like blades of kombu on waves of reverb. On this album, she has collaborated again with Freddie Holm, who brought in the multi-instrumentalist Bebe Risenfors to add wind and brass to the sonic palette.
“Strawberry” and “Bluebell” have Jensen singing with a purr that will trigger the ASMR sensitive listener. Her style could be lifted from a cocktail lounge at the edge of imagination, combining an intensity of purpose and breadth of expression that is unique in our playlist.
The vapour clears a little on “Each Moment” with a story about a stranger met on a train. Jensen calls the Pieces of Juno style “Northern Noir,” and there is a black and white, shot on film, bleakness to the material. Outside the piano lounge where Juno sings in her wig, wolves prowl forests full of growth and decay. When you finish your drink, you will enter that world, too.
This is felt most of all on “Blood Love,” which closes the album with a declaration that combines the tangible and intangible. This might be a dream, but it is one that you can touch. Be careful with it.
Featured photo by Cecilia Riis Kjeldsen.