LILJESTRöM - BLACK CROW JANE
click on above image to hear first single Bittersweet
"Somewhere between Bjork and PJ Harvey"
[Télérama Magazine, France]
"Doesn't fit our 14 - 21 demographic."
[Producer, Triple J]
"Black Crow Jane... a small marvel of poetry who
caresses as much as she cuts."
[Journal Ventilo, France]
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Liljeström : Black Crow Jane
The Rain And The Sea
Dogs And Wolves
His Thieving Ways
Wishing Bone Hands
click on above image to hear an on-line stream of the album
What the Reviewers Are Saying
about Black Crow Jane
"Something truly happens when beautiful voices
of the north attack folk music. Like Frida Hyvonen before her,
Inga Liljestrom masters a sense of space and ambience, treacherously calm. The ettiquette is strange, with a distant legacy of Kate Bush on Black Crow Jane, alternating between perfect nursery rhymes for adults and unnerving rock epics. [She]... has appropriated some American heritage, but it is barely recognisable here, under an assault of fire and ice. A small marvel of poetry who caresses as much as she cuts."
[Journal Ventilo, France]
"This is the album you have been waiting for.
You, that is, who have seen Inga Liljestrom live, who have listened to her first two albums, and who have waited for six years for album number three to materialise. While 2005′s ELK garnered much deserved acclaim, there remained a feeling that Liljestrom was a work in progress, that there was better to come, and with Black Crow Jane she has delivered. In the intervening years Liljestrom has moved to France (given her European cinematic inclinations that comes as no surprise) and given birth, not that there is much indication of the later material wise. Indeed motherhood has not diminished her sexuality in any way: “So I rode my wildest horse…I let him feel the weight of me”. Musically the scope has broadened, beyond the obvious and more occasional Bjork moments – Drowning Song – there is a tougher more blues based approach, with PJ Harvey an obvious touch stone, particularly on Mascara Black. The albums opening track The Rain and the Sea is a standout, its hushed beginnings blossoming and expanding into dirty blues roots number that sweeps itself overboard. Black Crow Jane is the fully realised album Liljestrom has promised, her voice not only both emotive and evocative as before, but now confident and assured."
[Chris Peken, Alternative Media Group/CityHub/CityNews]
8.5/10 "...extraordinary ... A true discovery!"
[Core And Co, France full review]
Occassional Sydneysider Inga Liljestrom
seems to fit into the art-rock branch of things, with an ornate cover image, idiosyncratic instrumentation and a singing style that can be arch and sometimes bordering on dark cabaret. But she's earthier than that, with both a stubborn pop subtext to her songs and a stiffened spine of dangerous rock. Those sides balance spookier excursions, such as Rama and the Rain and The Sea, where Liljestrom cuts sharply.
[Bernard Zuel, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald]
"With a delivery that recalls Joanna Newsom
and PJ Harvey, and a quixotic approach that matches her obvious Scandinavian antecendants, Inga Liljestrom continues to weave mystery and melody into intriguing pop on her latest French-recorded album, Black Crow Jane."
"...Inga is undoubtedly one of those rare artists
with an assertive personality – even if comparisons with PJ Harvey and Bjork are as common as they are. Instead, let’s put her in the same family as Shannon Wright for her rougher, more personal but equally effective style. Initially intrigued by the beautiful sleeve, we soon delighted to discover that she hid many pearls of sombre and haunting rock. The album starts with The Rain & the Sea, a number with tortured guitars and a biting lament that reveals a dark world accompanying the slightly hoarse (just enough!) voice of Inga Liljeström. But this kind of rock, as tribal as a kind of Patti Smith, is only one of the album’s many attributes. Although she maintains this basis, she also injects some soulful elements (Dogs & Wolves) as well as some cheerful pop (Bittersweet) and experimentation which links her more directly with the Bjork comparisons, such as on Drowning Song, which is endearing due to the music as much as the delivery. But as we have stated, Inga Liljeström is first and foremost a rocker, showing her taste for rough guitar sounds, such as on Bloodstain, a song which is not too far from the unrivalled sounds of Anna Calvi. And then there’s the blues of Mascara Black, with the amps pushed to the depths, or the acoustic Gun Lovers and Roots, with its use of slide guitar. It’s useless to say more, now you understand from where Inga Liljeström evolved. We have just discovered her but you will spend a good few years following her career and future albums, which will not pass you by this time." 8/10
[Stars Are Underground, France]
"The album title gives a bit of a hint,
with its subtle connotations of the south of the U.S.. But pressing play on first track, ‘The Rain And The Sea’, gives the game away. Inga Liljeström is finding inspiration from more traditional American and blues roots these days, rather than the European atmospherics she has been known for in the past. Of course, it’s blues filtered through her own unique prism and the work of decidedly European artists such as PJ Harvey and antipodean strands such as Crow or Bluebottle Kiss. The opening track builds up a genuine excitement as its dry as bones guitars and drums rattle under Liljeström’s always distinctive vocals. It’s an impressive and unexpected opening gambit. From here, the album maintains the high standard. ‘Dogs and Wolves’ hints at a bit more of the atmospherics I’d normally associate with Liljeström’s work. A dusty synth wash sets up a track full of pure abstract guitar fuzz, pizzicato string bass and the voice narrowed to the type of mid-range favoured by Beth Gibbons that allows it to cut through the noise. ‘Drowning Song’ is one of the few overt Björk referencing tracks on the album, Liljeström backing herself with solo toy piano and field recordings of moving water while her vocals emulate the meandering/melodic wanderings favoured by Björk. (As a side note, the album’s artwork also echoes the Icelander with its enigmatic portrait, abstract headpiece and overlaid line drawings.) Any criticisms of Liljeström merely aping her idol, however, are quickly blasted away by the dirty guitar of the following ‘Mascara Black’ which contrasts its desperate verse segments with lush orchestral chorus interludes. Moody electronics raise their head in the midst of ‘His Thieving Ways” acoustic jazz-pop backing which rise to a menacing crescendo. ‘Bloodstain’ is the most overtly blues-rock track on the album, but the sheer dryness and passion of its execution keep it away from decades of cliché, even reminding me a little of Plastic Ono Band era John Lennon. The album closes with another minimal track, Liljeström backing herself with simple ukelele on ‘Wildest Horse’. This allows her voice, which is remarkable throughout the album, space to really demonstrate its strengths – evocative and emotional yet never crossing the line into histrionics.
Lyrically there are hints at quiet desperation tempered by a sense of peaceful resolution. Interesting twists of phrase jump out, like ‘Wishing Bone Hands” “And I carry his heart in my song” or “With our hearts in our mouths / Too dry to bleed” from ‘The Rain And The Sea’. Liljeström also dips into the strong blues heritage of religious imagery, pushing it into more ambiguous and poetic corners. ‘Mascara Black’ evokes Mary Magdalene and unrequited love while, later in the album, the definitions of love seem to diversify and resolve in reverse double entendres, where sexual imagery (“I rode my wildest horse…Let him feel the weight of me”, “I’ll make my fire with you…As you make a lover of me, you do”) actually sounds more platonic or even agape within the contexts of their respective songs. Liljeström has pushed herself with Black Crow Jane. Pushed herself into new sonic territory, even though she had a case to stay within the parameters of the sounds she had successfully inhabited in her first two albums. Pushed herself in the depths of lyrical explorations. Pushed herself to not repeat but grow and develop. That Black Jane Crow is far more than an experiment but a polished, rounded and complete work, is a testament to her skill and vision."
[Adrian Elmer, Cyclic Defrost, Australia]
"A strange, young Australian artist with Finish origins,
this young woman is capable of moving between child-like ballads and more brutal rock. Her studies in jazz improvisation are apparent in her fondness for exploration. Somewhere between Bjork and PJ Harvey, her hoarse voice often manages to soothe. Worth checking out.
[Frédéric Péguillan, Télérama Magazine, France]
"June is the first, official month of winter in Australia,
but it’s been damn cold at night for quite a number of weeks. While I’m not yet at the stage where I need to re-think my negative position on the snuggie. hearing about the release of a new album by Inga Liljeström was welcome news indeed – I’ll take her smouldering ember-like voice to warm my nights over a blanket with sleeves any time. I’m sure everyone has felt that mix of excitement and reserve when a favoured artist releases something new, particularly when – after three years of keeping record – one of their previous albums remains the most played of my entire collection. Elk is a breathlessly good album, pretty much perfectly capturing in sound the fire and ice sensation of love, desire, intimacy and everything in between. By comparison, it’s fair to say that Black Crow Jane is a little older, wiser and more incisive than any of its predecessors. It’s also more resolved, even if at times the subject matter is slightly less so, and perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t have the slightest hint of becoming jaded in the process. Love is still sacred in this world; and if Elk was about moments that sear the heart, Black Crow Jane shows that those experiences can make if fierce, but don’t stop it from having the capacity to remain quietly and beautifully vulnerable at times. Jazz and blues were always a noticable undercurrent to Inga’s unique, film noir blend of trip-hop, rock and folk; whereas before they highlighted moments of yearning, mourning and wonder, on this album it’s soulful, sultry and sharply seductive. The sheer and intimate nature of previous work made albums like Elk incredibly bold, despite their vulnerability. This album is no less intimate or bold, but there’s a definite shift in where and how such things are shown. This time around, sound-wise, the comparisons to both Björk and PJ Harvey (which is not uncommon when it comes to talking about any strong female artist, particularly if their work contains the slightest hint of electronica and/or rock) are not far off the mark; Black Crow Jane has elements akin to the brash, bluesy-rock honesty of Harvey, as well as the playful, curious and occasionally delicately blissful charm of Björk, but (of course) is unmistakably Inga Liljeström.
[Satellite Of Entropy blog]
DISCOLAB [in French]
.E VOUS [in French]
Ma-la-Music [in French]
PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT
INGA IN THE PAST:
a breathy, soulful voice
that shivers with its emotive delivery, Inga Liljestrom
is a world-class talent. Her debut album, Elk, is startlingly
original, a subtle mix of beats and vocal electro, excuted
with the sort of daring panache one would expect from a trained
jazz musician. ...Her... music is compositionally progressive
yet loyal to traditional instruentation, the subtle beats
meshing with delicate strings and horns to create a lush sound
that flies in the face of the minimalist obsession."
[Zolton Zavos, Yen Magazine]
dry as the breaking of insect wings ..."
Designer of The
Ring and The Final Cut]
[her] lilting voice is both as playful as Björk's
and bewitching as Nico's... "
[Luke McIlVern, Daily Telegraph]
"... moody... swoonish...
echoes of Dead Can Dance and Marianne Faithfull..."
[Lesley Sly, Panorama Inflight Mag/Rolling
f##ked up, extremely original and dazzling piece
of music that outshines the latest offerings from Bristol".
[ Pete Rivett-Carnac of Single Gun Theory]
Century film-noir for the ears"
[Tim Ritchie, Radio National]
Of The Week - 4 Stars
her sultry vocal delivery
set against a cinematic musical backdrop, Inga Liljestrom
effortlessly takes jazz syncopations and marries them with
the racier elements of pure electro to create what is one
of the finest local releases of the year. Liljestrom's breathy
tone is the catalyst to the expansive nature of Elk.
It's lush and atmospheric, dripping with melancholy but never
weighed down by its emotive delivery. The opening track 'Film
Noir', is the standout - the layered production the perfect
foil for Liljestrom's descriptive lyrics. But really the album
is consistently good across all twelve tracks, suggesting
that we have a new star within our midst."
[Zolton Zavos, The Brag Magazine]
"Brilliant composing, unbelievable string arrangements...
Inga's emotional voice shines on the new movie-like album
[From Finland's Trip
beautifully layered atmospheric pop album....
She manges to balance her dark and emotive songwriting with
an orchestral depth, with neither dominating the other...
In a league of her own..." 5/5
[Hamish Ta-Mé, Crema Magazine]
makes utterly gorgeous electronic music. The aptly
titled opener Film Noir sees her lovely vocal competing for
attention with some strings that resemble those on Bjork's
Vespertine. Lira sees her singing to a trip hoppy backing.
It sounds a lot like the aforementioned Icelandic star. The
acoustic All of This adds a nice folky touch to the record.
The bare accompaniment brings out the best in Liljestrom's
voice. Diamond Horseshoe is like a torch song for the modern
era with some flawless singing and a nice whistled bit. This
record is fabulous and Inga Liljestrom deserves to be heard
[Anna Maria Stjärnell, Collected
"Sydney-based Inga beat London-based Goldfrapp
to this noir-shrouded matinee romanticism by several years,
and so it is chronologically incorrect to compare her to the
more well-known act. Earlier trailblazers were Marianne Faithfull
with (more barbed, austere) Brecht forays, and Kate Bush with
the darker side of her wuthering heights. The first two tracks
are alluring, candlelit songs with the chorus quite clearly
signposted, and so shouldn't end up in the too-hard basket
at FM radio. At core, this is swathes of moonlit texture sometimes
propelled by machine pulse drums and acoustic bass, rippled
with thematic strings and chimed by slide guitar, over which
Inga whispers, croons and intones lyrics that are a collision
of ethereal and existential. Crushed roses and drawn velvet
curtains melancholia, but in the worthy cause of risque
passion. Just when you think it's a bit staged, a trifle mannered,
and could she conjure this atmos in a stripped unplugged environment,
she does just that. On the stark 'All Of This', with a sprinkling
of acoustic guitar, and later on '29 Poisons' with picked
jazzy guitar, and over shimmering tremolo guitar in the first
verse of 'Bullet', an exquisite portrayal of unrequited yearn;
and the closing track, 'Stolen', an eerie eclipse of sun-warmed
strings over frozen emotions. A record that unravels slowly
but is instantly inviting and intriguing, and should bring
this singer a wider international audience."
[Lesley Sly, Sound & Image Magazine]
a track record for sterling vocal
contributions on albums for groups and artists such as ENS,
Friendly and Gerling, Inga Liljestrom has a lengthy resume
and she refocuses her efforts on the creation of this solo
recording. This refocusing has produced some powerful, emotive
results... The dreamy qualities of 'Lira' for instance create
a mightily seductive musical world with rich colour and texture.
Equally 'Deer' featuring some gently floating loops and hypnotic
harp work from Clare Cooper, evokes a strong sense of cinematic
English, Time-Off Magazine]
singer-songwriter Inga Liljestrom
wears her influence on her sleeve: " Imagine Bjork, Portishead,
Lamb & Goldfrapp all bleeding from the same lips," proclaims
the sticker on the cover of her CD, Elk. Inadvertent menstrual
images to one side, this accurately sums up the music Liljestrom
draws on and aspires to; Bjork's sudden divergences, Portishead's
moodiness, Goldfrapp's vocal styling, and Lamb's jittery,
broken beats. There's no doubt Liljestrom's ambition. Like
Bjork at her genre-bending best, Liljestrom tries to unite
disparate elements into something fresh and new. Swooping
orchestral fragments are spliced to jagged beats, and soundtracky
atmospherics are wedded to a witchy aesthetic. The results
are mixed, but always interesting. Triple J listeners will
have heard Liljestrom's first single, Phoenix, a rich, dramatic
song. Cello, honeyed vocals, and odd Twilight Zone background
effects create a layered, attention-grabbing four minutes.
This is Liljestrom at her best, and it's tantalising.
... Vivid and inventive...
[Simon Williamson, Beat Magazine]
Liljestrom's ... release, Elk,
is about as far as possible from the sound of the Australian
summer we're about to enter. Although Liljeström is a
native, musically she is somewhere north of Norway. A fog
of ominous strings swirls around fractured electronic beats,
jazz-tempered double bass glides below like dark shapes under
an ice floe and voices echo sonar-like from afar. On top of
it all is one of the most arresting voices I've heard in a
long time. Comparisons with Bjork are inevitable, but inadequate;
Liljestrom's voice does recall her fragility and other-worldliness
but is richer and more sensual - imagine Martina Topley-Bird
fronting Portishead. The clue to the mood here is in the first
song's title: Film Noir. There's a prevailing darkness
in the songs, tempered by impressionistic lyrics of love and
longing and the shaft of light from the single, Phoenix.
The sound is lush and three-dimensional - musical cinema.
Elk is un-Australian (in the best possible way), but
one of the most exciting releases of the year."
[David Curry, The Canberra Times]
"From the first sigh of the violins that open this
mesmerizing album, you will be trapped and enchanted by Elk.
Inga Liljeström attracts comparisons to Portishead, Björk,
Lamb, Goldfrapp, Beth Orton; all are warranted. Her talent
is immense. From the delicate, fragile and otherworldly poetry
of her lyrics, to her ghostly, sensual voice, to the skillful
and evocative arranging, Liljeström displays an imagination
and inspiration that sees her take Elk to soaring heights
and sultry depths. Phoenix is dazzling: cello and violins
arcing over industrial sighs and breathy silences, all held
together by Inga's astounding voice, gracefully reaching clear
highs and husky lows. Your skin will quiver and your heart
will rise with the soaring chorus: it is an incredibly beautiful
song. Liljeström has worked with an array of musicians,
combining an orchestral element with the wonders of electronic
sounds. Stunningly mastered, Elk is as clear and crisp as
a sharp wind through forest, without sacrificing any mystery
or atmosphere. It is not surprising to learn Liljeström
has worked as a cinema composer. Her songs have a rich visual
element, and are extremely evocative. Liljeström has
worked in the Australian music scene for many years: with
Elk she is bound to receive the critical acclaim and public
appreciation she richly deserves."
may not have heard of Australian
singer/composer/arranger Inga Liljestrom, but you have probably
heard her vocals on Gerling's Dust Me Selecta. She has also
worked with other Australian dance acts but when it comes
to her own music, it couldn't be further away from that style.
Welcome to Elk. Right from the sticker on the album cover
you are advised of comparisons to Bjork, Portishead, Lamb
and Goldfrapp and these are not unfounded, however, I also
detect a kinship with Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Moloko
(at least vocally). If this isn't enough, the record company
press release suggests further musical benchmarks (Marianne
Faithful, Dead Can Dance, David Lynch film scores) and although
there are reminiscent elements at work here they are simply
doorways in to her music which demonstrates vast talent and
originality. The music on Elk consists of impressive and complex
arrangements, rich with dark orchestral flourishes that suggest
film composers such as Ennio Morricone, Angelo Badalamenti
and Bernard Herrmann (it comes as little surprise to learn
that Liljestrom is also a film composer). Although her style
is cinematic and opulent it is also beautifully restrained.
Orchestras swell and drop away completely, fragmented beats
are mixed in as needed and as quickly torn out of the mix.
She organically melds the orchestral elements with her less-is-more
approach making for engaging listening. The complexities of
the music are fascinating and deserve an instrumental companion
album. It takes a while to warm to the breathy intensity of
Liljestrom's voice yet it suits the delirious soundtrack perfectly.
She cleverly balances the drama of tracks such as Phoenix
(the first single) and Knotted (should be the second single)
against minimal acoustic songs such as 29 Poisons and All
Of This. Elk is an intriguing and impressive work that grows
with every listen, Liljestrom a talent to watch.
[Wayne Davidson - Inpress Magazine]
"Elk is a sublime concoction of equal parts
atmosphere and musicality. Drenched in a narcotic otherworldliness,
it's as much an interior journey to the deepest extremes of
Inga's musical well - a sort of seductive one-on-one with
an inspired mind - as it is an exploration of outdoorsy soundscapes,
from widescreen cinematic title sequences, to broad sweeps
of upland tundra. Through it all, for all its uber-modern
beats and trip-hoppy motifs, there's a balancing earthiness,
a handmade, almost folk-like simplicity that is completely
satisfying. She creates sparse, restrained elegance and ecstatic
climaxes with equal facility, often in juxtaposition and always
dovetailing moods and sounds with savvy ease. Taken as a whole,
the 12 songs are like weather stations in a sea of emotion,
to chart a course thru shifting moods and dreamscapes. Elk
is many-layered and simple at the same time, impressionistic
resonances and overtones as important as the detail. That
unique voice of Liljestrom is what brings it all together.
Blessed with a fragile/strong feel that can whisper intimacies
even when filling the soundscape with primal cries, it's a
voice that focuses listeners and draws them in. Perhaps the
company she keeps is a pointer to adequately describing Liljestrom's
style. Lloyd Swanton and Cameron Undy play acoustic basses
(indeed if Swanton's The Necks added vocals the result might
feel something like parts of this album) and guitarists Tim
Rollinson, and Michael Lira, co-arranger Haydn Walker and
co-producer Liberty Kerr all represent a substantial musicalness
missing on too many contemporary (read fashionable) albums.
Sophisticated string arrangements by Inga and others (real
strings, even a real harp, no synthesized doodlings here)
add filigree touches, never clichéd or pompous. Solo
guitar accompaniment contrasts with lush booming voicings.
And on it goes, all of it good. That Elk is a (largely) self-penned
debut is quite astounding. Liljestrom's been compared to the
likes of Goldfrapp, Portishead and Bjork, but though these
might be touchstones, they're only references. Inga Liljestrom
has something sensual and artistic all her own. Highly recommended.
[Perry Kilmer, Drum Media Magazine]
"Inga Liljestrom's voice tickles angels' ears...
Whether it's flirting with string crescendos that bound over
the subtlest electronic programming (Film Noir) or
delivering haunted folk over lonely guitar (All Of This),
her sultry voice of yesteryear is the mesmerising centerpiece.
It slides from dark grooves to delicate whispers, turning
simple poetry into the ultimate dark romantic soundtrack.
From the subtle manipulation of Knotted to the delayed
echoes of Lira, this jazz-trained Sydney singer raises
[Chloe Sasson, Metro Sydney Morning
"...What a triumph! ...This... is just something
... A long player... of timeless beauty [that] proves Liljeström
as a talent who could well stand proudly next to a Lou
Rhodes or similarly 'difficult' (in the pop sense) chanteuse.
The instrumentation on the album is phenomenal thanks to the
likes of Cam 'The Chameleon' Undy and a host of others like
Tim Rollinson, Sloth and Haydn Walker. Has anyone noticed
how the phrase 'it's good for Australian' is now redundant?"
[DJ Huwston, 3D
CD Of The Week
debut album from Inga Liljestrom
is set to blow a lot of people away; dripping in emotion it
is nothing short of magic. Liljestrom has a voice that is
very rich in texture and that wouldn't seem out of place with
Lou Rhodes or Beth Gibbons. Backed by an amazing band, the
album shows the depth and maturity that well seasoned muscians
are capable of. The album will etch itself on your soul and
leave you falling in a dream world created by poetic, but
very audible, lyrics. There is not a bad or below-par track
on this album, each track fitting with each other perfectly.
Phoenix is the stand out track; imagine being tossed
around by a storm of strings, bass and drums, all held together
by a voice that expresses so much with so little effort. Inga's
voice is a fresh sound that is crying to be heard; this ablum
will not disappoint."
[Benjamin Chinnock, The Brag Magazine]
It was the furthest thing from my mind as Elk slid from my
hands, through my hi-fi, into my conscience. Hypnotically
fading in from black with Film Noir, the opening track, Inga
Liljeström sets the scene for the next one hour using the
language of film and Latin dance. Sydney-based Inga Liljeström
might be familiar as the guest vocalist on innumerable records
from the likes of Gerling, Friendly, Itch-E & Scratch-E, Ens,
and d.i.g. But Liljeström is more than a jobbing session vocalist,
having now written and programmed two albums. With her production
skills she is certainly updating the term "singer-songwriter"
for the 21st century. As the textures and pulses of trip-hop
envelop the soundscape, the comparisons to the voice of Björk,
the lo-fi musings of Portishead, and the lush cinematic washes
of Goldfrapp's debut album are inevitable. But while Goldfrapp
have moved towards a more pumpin' synth-based sound with their
latest album, Liljeström makes use of the six-piece band
that she has assembled. The picked guitar arpeggio in All
Of This is arresting in its simplicity, and already feels
like I've known it a lifetime. Liljeström's caressing
delivery here tells a story more powerfully than the lyric
itself. One of the most engaging and evocative tracks is Diamond
Horseshoe, reigniting the flame of old Hollywood music
that has long since faded from our screens. Very convincing
as the theme to a lost James Bond film, the addition of Peter
Miller's forlorn whistling again recalls a certain duo from
Bath, England. Shifting film genres to perhaps the introspective
Western, 29 Poisons opens on a Spanish guitar melody
that is bathed in the aesthetics of both Morricone and Villa-Lobos.
Liljeström's voice again adapts to a track that takes
its cues from another interesting source. There's a range
of other songs waiting to discovered on this album. Phoenix,
currently on Triple J rotation, is an excursion into electronica
where programmed beats and reversed samples are rounded off
with double bass. Lira is also captivating with its
magical rhythm and intriguing samples. A very diverse album
that is sure to sound and feel different on multiple listenings.
Just let your mood guide the way."
can take her latest album Medulla and shove it.
After worshipping the Icelandic vocal goddess for years, we
need a new one. Enter home grown talent Inga Liljestrom. The
songstress has the same breathless angst but without the abrasiveness.
Elk's cinematic swoon will have you dancing in the dark and
taking seductive bites from peaches, it's so sensual..."
Liljestrom is Australia's new, brilliant diva...
Her voice is strange and lovely, lilting and powerful. Her
sound is evocative, it sets you to thinking, to listening
to the voices in your head that remember, and wonder. She
is also a wonderful arranger, programmer, composer and listener.
If you pay very careful attention to her music, you can see
that she has been listening, to that which is around her,
to those strange notes that the night provides us all. But
mostly you come back to that amazing voice. Comparisons have
been made to Bjork or Lamb, but I say think Ricki Lee Jones
if she studied Ella Fitzgerald. She is breathy and dynamic,
using her pipes as a tool, as the instrument that they are.
Maybe even more of the vitality of Janis Joplin, the emotional
[Epinions Site - Read the full, extensive
(The Studio, Sydney Opera House with Ursula Rucker)
"The best thing I have seen all year"
"Inga Liljestrom [is] a singer I had been trying to catch
properly for quite a while.
Caught her briefly singing for local electro/house act Ollo,
then again only a fragment of her performance at Cockatoo
Island. Opening with a solo, slow and mournfully wailing electric
guitar against her unique voice, it shut the crowd up quick
smart. Other people on stage played violin, cello, double
bass, drum kit, trumpet, keys and other technologies, and
some other brass instrument.....A mesmerizing performance,
and something pretty special that possibly wouldn't work in
typical live music venues because she casts a spell that is
powerfully enchanting yet I imagine could easily be broken
by drunken yobs talking too loudly at the back. Playing at
a space like the Studio with a projector screen behind the
stage displaying some new gothic/film noir footage is just
about the perfect way to experience this. The easiest/laziest
comparison to make for the sound of Inga Liljestrom would
be the sound of Lamb when they are at their most emotionally
intense, lots of strings and not much electronics, a strong
focus on the vocals. The music may build up to a giant wall
of noise, but it's never fast or with an electronic beat like
a trip-hop/dance cross-over some may describe Lamb to be.
Left the crowd gobsmacked... Inga Liljestrom stole
the show." [FullReview]
2007, The Vanguard, Sydney)
have a confession to make.
I used Inga Liljestrom to further my romantic life. Perhaps
it was her lush jazz-tinged voice that did it, as it swirled
daintily amongst the chord of a double bass. Perhaps it was
her mystique of her songs, flowing from her body with the
aches and sighs of an impassioned woman. Whatever it was had
me quickly running to the corridor between songs to send off
a text message to an unsuspecting acquaintance, my mind helpless
with longing and desire. This was not my first Inga Liljestrom
concert - indeed, this was the third time I had seen her perform
at The Vanguard in recent years - nor was it the first time
her music had had this effect. Always been one of Australia's
great unappreciated musical acts, she is a hark back to
the glory days of Portishead and other late-night modern
greats, but possessing an earthy soul. There is a track from
her... album Elk with the title Film Noir - a description
the accurately sums up her musical essence. More an aural
soundscape that a standard pop singer, she constructs songs
of light and shadow; of mystery and revelation. 'Tori Amos
meets Emily the Strange' summed up my concert-going companion,
aptly. Playing songs from her small but satisfying collection
of albums, she showed her musical diversity: bringing out
a ukulele one moment, and frequently - and somewhat inexplicably
- singing into a large red telephone. While Liljestrom writes
poetically and evocatively, it was ultimately her voice -
especially in the intimate live setting of the Vanguard -
that captivated. From a throaty growl, her jazz vibrato
crawled upwards and ultimately shimmered into the air
with a whisper. A whisp of black smoke perhaps, seen and then
gone. While it would be fantastic to see Inga Liljestrom eventually
gain the wider recognition she deserves, there is something
magical about seeing her in these intimate settings. The
Newtown-going crowd certainly agreed, eventually filling every
available seat and standing room, begging for an encore
- yearning for just that tiny bit more. Yearning for that
final taste of our desire-inducing little secret.
[Blake Burger, SameSame.com.au]
"There are many whispers and a
sense of anticipation as Inga Liljestrom's band - the bassist,
double bass player, violinist, cello player and the effects
and soundscape DJ take the stage. Inga appears barefooted,
wearing a hippyish style sparkly red dress and half of her
long wavy hair tied into a small bun. The double bass solely
begins playing, and Inga starts weaving her magic, confidently
beginning their performance tonight by singing All of This.
By midway through the first song, I know that this is going
to be one of the best performances I have ever seen in my
life. I try to hold back tears of overwhelming joy as Inga
begins exquisitely and softly moving about on stage. Her graceful
body and celestial voice weave in and out of the music, she
uses her delicate hands to express the dynamics of her voice,
and she is completely at one with her fellow, extremely talented
and illuminating band members. It is an amazing sight to behold
such a passionate and elegant lady, so entranced, and moved
by her band's brilliantly composed sounds. Amongst the array
of songs Inga perform tonight include Phoenix, Glow, Stardust,
29 Poisons, Bullet and Deer. Each song is as brilliantly
executed as the next, the alluring melodies flowing and
cascading down onto and amongst each other, as if each rhythm,
melody, lyric and soundscape is all the ingredients of a hypnotising
potion, gradually filling up and up until it beings flowing
over the edges whilst Inga's seductive and enchanting vocals
literally soar vocally and emotionally to places I have never
experienced via music before. I really never want this
show to end, and for the first time I take my eyes away
from Inga and her band to witness the audience's reaction
and response, and I can see every single eye completely in
awe, transfixed by the divine beauty occurring before us all.
Sadly, the show has to end and a distinct feeling of pleasure,
privilege and pure delight of being able to experience
something as special, rare and magical
as this show manifests in the room."
Liljestrom... kicked off with a great soulful trip hop vocal
The band accompanying Inga was amazing and consisted of some
very talented musicians on guitar, drums, two on strings and
a double bass. The general sound was great live and was given
further depth by the excellent use of effects (even on the
drums) which worked very well in combination with Inga's powerful
voice. The tracks ranged from very vocal focussed to really
rocking trip hop tracks which conveyed a lot of energy and
emotion. Some of the audience members even got up and partook
in a little bit of a dance throughout some of the tracks.
Overall, it was a fantastic performance"