REVIEWS FOR TWO DANGERS
"You've probably already heard Inga Liljestrom's powerful vocals without even realising it, on TV shows like Rake and Blood Brothers, but that's just the tip of an incredibly diverse career that's seen the Sydney-based singer/songwriter collaborate with the likes of Gotye, The Church and Itch-E & Scratch-E over just the last ten years alone. Three years on from her distinctly darker collection Black Crow Jane, which attracted comparisions to Kate Bush and PJ Harvey, this fourth solo album Two Dangers sees Liljestrom returning home after living in France for the past five years and revisiting the acoustic folk influences of her youth. The thirteen tracks collected here could perhaps be best described as 'haunted country-noir', with an impressive cast of guests including The Necks' Lloyd Swanton and Canberra's own Mikelangelo being enlisted to add double-bass, eerie strings, banjos, musical saw and backing vocals to a collection that positively drips with goosebump-y atmosphere. While Liljestrom's remarkable vocals represent a compelling centrepiece on their own, it's the depth of interplay with the instrumental arrangements that heightens the levels of tension on a yearning cover of traditional folk song 'Katie Cruel'. Elsewhere 'Wooden Leg' sees swooping violins adding a chill-inducing European cinematic edge to Liljestrom's obsessive-sounding chanteuse vocal. Elsewhere, the duet between Liljestrom's vocals and Mikelangelo's ghostly backing harmonies on 'Take Hold Of My Heart' offers up a delicate lullabye complete with feathery guitars that carries a darker undercurrent that feels almost like something out of a David Lynch film. It's not hard to see why The Church describe Liljestrom as one of Australia's best kept secrets and this could easily be her best album yet." [Chris Downton, BMA Magazine]
"The much-travelled Inga Liljestrom can do, and has done, pretty much anthing, from art-rock to dance. Still, an album of sometimes bare fok was probably not what anyone was expecting, though there's no surpise to find she'ds doing it oh so well. Opening with the traditional Katie Cruel (sounding very much the modern Karen Dalton) and nearly ending with Cat Stevens' Trouble (sounding much earthier and compelling than the old Cat) might sugges familiar travels, but that's not how Liljestrom works. Her own songs dominate, with trcks such as Wishing Bone Hands ("a whittled girl meets her wooden maker/Carve a heart out of me sir") and Bloodstain ("it's the kill, it's the bloodstain/It's the way he says my name") early on putting a level of discomfit underneath violin or banjo. And the almost buoyant Bird, the uneasy string-enhanced Crestfallen and the beautifully interior Some Say (I Got Devil hold you intently." [Bernard Zuel, Sydney Morning Herald]
"Inga Liljeström unveils an album tinged with a poignant and fascinating sensitivity. This woman is precious…enjoy her tales with sensitivity and attention. Born with roots from Finland/ Scandinavia, Inga Liljeström is Australian. She discovered her talent through her travels in her country of majestic stretches and especially in the polyglot city of Sydney. She created her first band, Helgrind, which allowed her to explore avant-garde rock with co-songwriter Felicity Fox. Her explorations gradually led to electronics and strings. Nonchalantly, Inga has already released five albums and the latter, Two Dangers, is his sixth album. Since 2009 she lived in Paris, where her album Black Crow Jane, released in 2010, had some success and stood, according to experts, between the energy of a rock PJ Harvey and post-folk tortured Shannon Wright . In Two Dangers, Inga proves that she knows how to show her musical gifts. This girl is a jack of all trades: electro, alternative rock, folk, country, experimental … Today, the artist has chosen to speak through intimate acoustic folk songs- ballads inhabited with wounds still painful. The recordings contain acoustic guitars, banjos, horns, spooky musical saws, violins and sound effects of creaking floor boards and dusty boots. The image of this album for Inga is very specific: “My inspiration: a tattered picture I ripped from a magazine of a woman sittin on her bed smoking a cigarette naked, her long hair wild and disheveled, paint peeling off the walls… I imagined these as the songs she would listen to.” Inga has chosen to dedicate this record to the lonely souls, the broken-hearted, the lonely nights, just like this one woman who is abandoned to its chaos. The songs are a mix of folk to blues, with lavish 50’s bewitchery. Emotions sometimes overwhelm us, with the fascination and melancholy felt listening to this wonderful storyteller. It tears us, this famous tremor in her voice like butterflies that travel furiously in our guts, as does the delicate vocals pierce us. The stories told by Inga are beautifully poignant, it’s even with some regret, that I share it with you. This woman is like a treasure we want to keep forever for ourselves. [Lilie Del Sol, Indierockmag.com - translated from French]
"Reading the biography of Inga, passionate singer, reflects a visit to rarest places. Australian-born Inga Liljestrom went through Finland before arriving in the old continent and France in particular. It is therefore not surprising that her songs are more complex than they appear to be. Her idea of rock is clear but is not allowing for easiness. That may be one of the Two Dangers she emphasizes with the title of her second album, where her surname had disappeared. The second danger is that she will be lost herself, adventurer, lover of the American heritage, traveler, still, she manage to make a difference. Her voice visit genres with a great virtuosity and probably benefits from the many visited countries. There is true freedom within the titles of this young woman. It does not scatter. She knows what she wants. This is not her first attempt. She composed music for films and released five albums already. She is not a beginner. Compared to Calamity Jane for her previous album, Inga is frank and fearless. She easily juggles genres. She is comfortable with folk, musical confidence as manly enough rock but decent rock. Inga demonstrated a well quenched character. It’s a real danger to smooth it. She avoids that with a passion extending to every moment. Inga is a sacred character to discover!" [Etatcritique.com - translated from French]
"Inga Lljeström… Her folk or even country tunes, bring an atmosphere reminiscent of Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen and the Cowboy Junkies. It’s soft, poetic, and always quite melancholic, but the captivating voice of this singer full of promises illuminates the tracks with a serene strength. See you in New Orleans or in the far West. And we love it.” [femina.fr - translated from French]
“What appeals primarily with Inga is this incredible blues voice that instantly conveys a blues culture imbued with America, but not only this… Coming from Australia and moving to Paris, her surname Liljeström offers prospects for strong Finnish roots, and if she retains only her first name for a career, it does not deny providing various legacies of her origins, using it with as much spontaneity as she does her experience of studying jazz improvisation or when she composed her first film score… A first album (Elk) was released in 2005, and a second (Black Crow Jane) was released six years later, showing her talent as songwriter/ singer and guitarist. ‘Two Dangers’, her third album, is particularly successful in confirming her talents with everything involved in creating and performing music that is as much about the country folk and folk blues as the blues itself, or rather, ‘the blues’, since Inga walks briskly along the Mississippi to pick up accents sometimes from New Orleans, then closer to Memphis … Violins, cellos, guitars of all kind, percussion, piano and even brass instruments come to dress the vocal to harmonies. “Two Dangers” does not lack diversity, but it is while striving to be both discreet and very present, that it contributes to the charm and the high quality of songs like “Katie cruel, “” Bird, “” Take Hold of My Heart ” and ” Warfaring Ways “, but also to the persuasiveness of a first single “Wishing Bone Hands ” that can not leave the listener indifferent. To consume without moderation!" [Fred Delforge, zicazic.com - translated from French]
“I just lived an experience, you know, split personality, bypass, I do not know yet what happened, I was in Sweden with the chaotic melodist ‘Scraps of Tape’, once completed the odyssey I let myself be taken by the hand by an obscure Finnish who confessed these Australian lands and Parisian blood, I went from the beast to the beauty in a soft fall, happy slow dance of suburbs, instruments whispered by skins, flesh, I went from machinery to plant, from oxides to tears, from rages to pain.
Inga is the name of lights that no one knew to survive in the end of our longings, our disliked loves, our childhoods vast beaches, and the voice of our millions of mothers informing us of the misery to come, if the evil. Inga laying her hand gently on the rock next to her, inviting us to sit down for a moment at the edge of the world, sometimes so similar to ours, inviting us to some love that wets the valleys of our skins, inviting us has to that perfect landscape, the dream that wakes us, inviting us to waltz quietly on her voice, pure, frail, as dislocated as it is imperial, without bursts, if sometimes the relief of memories stirred, a joy, a question does not really answer however the art of Inga, as emotions can be many on the thread of a refrain, as the light of her voice bathes us in the shadow of sensations, the art of Inga, did I tell you, this way of painting impressionist, from splash of color to splash of color until finding in the whole vision of the places of we, the place of all, this easy-space of melodies, simple sounds, supports an emerging human myth, small shiny notes, whose rays stir, the depths, the grief, these squalors that we keep as a precious necklace, but never show. Inga shows its weaknesses, its defeats, its fine lamentations of a day, or the next, or yesterday.
Inga is simple, leaving the mascara for the pictures, a voice that a body lay on a pedestal, an instrument of meaning, a storyteller we wish to adopt as our own legends, singing her beautiful little life as we whisper I love you, shyly, a slightly fear of a no, a fear of rushing, naive talent, a touch of paint that barely grazed our canvas. So if you want to rest your minds from hardness of metals, take this hand, Swedish, Australian, French, or, more wisely, sit where she wants to show you the world, her delicate world.” [Guillaume Mazel, Adecouvrirabsolument.com - translated from French]
FOR EARLIER ALBUMS:
"In a league of her own…"
“Something truly happens when beautiful voices of the north attack folk music... A small marvel of poetry who caresses as much as she cuts.” (Journal Ventrilo, France)
"She reminds us that before her, another Australian came to Europe to impose his unique vision under high influence of tortured crooner: Nick Cave.” (Telerama, France)
“A voice poisonous and addictive...everything this artist touches turns to gold. What emerges is a sensation that continues to escape being on familiar ground, well marked and at the same time to cross the world for someone extraordinary in every sense of the word. A real discovery.” (Core and Co, France)
"...delivering haunted folk over lonely guitar, her sultry voice of yesteryear is the mesmerising centerpiece...turning simple poetry into the ultimate dark romantic soundtrack... this jazz-trained Sydney singer raises gooseflesh.”
(Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)
"The bare accompaniment brings out the best in Liljestrom’s voice...Inga Liljestrom deserves to be heard by many.”
(Collected Sounds, USA)
"...one of the most arresting voices I’ve heard in a long time.... fragility and other-worldliness...There’s a prevailing darkness in the songs, tempered by impressionistic lyrics of love and longing..." (The Canberra Times)
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..." ELK 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
ELK "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]
ELK "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
ELK "...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 ELK
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" [InThe
OTHER PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT INGA:
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
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]