"Australia's best kept secret" [Marty Wilson-Piper]

"Mesmerising" [Sydney Morning Herald]


INGA LILJESTRöM

 

INGA LILJESTRöM
two dangers
Inga Liljestrom Two Dangers 2014

TRACKLISTING

01
Katie Cruel
02
Wishing Bone Hands
03
Bloodstain
04
Leaves
05
Wooden Leg
06
Bird
07
Two Dangers
08
Take Hold of My Heart
09
Some Say (I Got Devil)
10
Crestfallen
11
Warfaring Ways
12
Black is the Colour
13
Trouble

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inga

 

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After five years basing herself in France, Australian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and film composer, Inga Liljestrom returns home in April 2014 to celebrate the release of her new, rather rustic album, Two Dangers. Having played sold-out shows throughout Australia and Europe, as well as performing at festivals ranging from the Bellingen Global, Sydney & Adelaide International Festivals through to  Wroclaw Impart in Poland alongside  Amanda Palmer and Colours of Ostrava in the Czech Republique along side Goldfrapp and Sinead Oconnor, Inga is also back in Australia to perform intimate shows up and down Australia's East Coast throughout April and May 2014, culminating in the Sydney album launch at Venue 505 on May 23 (tickets here)

COUNTRY GIRL RETURNING TO HER ROOTS
Two Dangers - in Inga's own words

I was born and raised in Australia, in a valley surrounded by rivers, mountains and fog. 
I have always had a love for folk music as it brings me back to my roots and an enchanted childhood, with fires, enormous fig trees to play in, black snakes in the grass, first love. The discovery of Melanie Safka, Nick Drake and John Martyn at six years of age gave me goosebumps and I knew secretly this is what I wanted to do. 

My mum was a true soul searcher and joined a religious community when I was ten, and it was here I cut my teeth singing with the church band. I studied jazz vocals at university and fell in love with the greats: Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Sarah Vaughan. My voice has always been my main instrument and I use it to navigate through many styles and ideas. 

I wrote about my Scandinavian blood, exploring the icy landscapes in one of my first albums ELK in 2005. I think of each album as a film, where the music creates landscapes and moods, and the voice and lyrics are the characters, creating places to escape to. 

I spent years experimenting with different types of music and made an improvised album Quiet Music for Quiet People inspired by desert skies and a scene from a David Lynch film of Lorna Dern dancing on the bonnet of a car under the stars. 

I returned to the music of my ancestry, recording and studying Yoik singing from Sami-land, Northern Scandinavia; composed music for film and television, including Dracula with head writer Daniel Knauf (creator of HBO series Carnivale); performed in Dance Theatre shows touring regional Australia and South America; remixed Gotye; released a CD of remixes called Sprawling Fauns and DVD of film clips Ra Djur; taught in Universities from Finland to Australia...

I moved to France and recorded and released Black Crow Jane in 2011, a rock album which allowed me to vent a few devils, and it also showed a softer folk side, which I have explored further in my latest offering, Two Dangers

Two Dangers is music to accompany a vision of old abandoned houses, tattered and torn curtains flapping in the humid breeze, the feelings of pining for a lover, sitting on the rickety verandah, hot dry afternoons, singing to the sunset. 

These recordings began on lazy sunday afternoons in windblown weatherboard homes in the Blue Mountains in Australia. They feature my friends playing resophonic guitars, banjos, burnished horns, spooky musical saws, violins, creaky boards and dusty boots. The songs are a mix of traditional folk (Katie Cruel, Black is the Colour as a hidden track), a song by my childhood love Melanie Safka (Some Say I Got Devil), and original songs penned while living with my sister in the mountains influenced by Appalachian mountain music and a touch of '50s romance. Mikelangelo wrote Take Hold of My Heart, the words ringing loud and true. I have no idea why my muse presented me with this style of music, but I loved singing it and found it a refuge for broken hearts and lonely nights.

As for my inspiration, a tattered picture I ripped from a magazine of a woman sitting on her bed smoking a cigarette, naked, her long hair wild and disheveled, paint pealing off the walls.... I imagined these as the songs she would listen to.

Visit Inga on-line

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]

QUOTES /REVIEWS FOR EARLIER ALBUMS:

"In a league of her own…"
(Crema Magazine)

“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)

ELK CD Of The Week - 4 Stars
With 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 Elk..."
[From Finland's Trip 404]

"...A 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]

ELK "Australia's Inga Liljestrom
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 by many.
[Anna Maria Stjärnell, Collected Sounds USA]

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]

ELK "Having 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 audio."
[Lawrence English, Time-Off Magazine]

"Sydney-based 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]

"Inga 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]

8/10
"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."
[Shannon, 3D World Magazine]

"You 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]

Highly Recomended

"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]

4 Stars
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 gooseflesh."
[Chloe Sasson, Metro Sydney Morning Herald]


ELK "...What a triumph! ...This... is just something else.
... 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 World Magazine]


CD Of The Week ELK
"The 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]


"Latin-American dancing.
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."
[SidKid, InTheMix]

"Bjork 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..."
[Cat Magazine]

"Inga 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 grit.... "
[Epinions Site - Read the full, extensive review here]

LIVE REVIEWS
(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]

(June 2007, The Vanguard, Sydney)
"I 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." [FasterLouder.com.au]

"Inga Liljestrom... kicked off with a great soulful trip hop vocal tune.
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 Mix]

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT INGA:

"Australia's best-kept secret"
[Marty Wilson-Piper, The Church]

"With 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 ..."
[Peter Miller Sound 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 Stone]

"...a f##ked up, extremely original and dazzling piece
of music that outshines the latest offerings from Bristol
".
[ Pete Rivett-Carnac of Single Gun Theory]

"21st Century film-noir for the ears"
[Tim Ritchie, Radio National]

 


 

 

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