Inga Liljestrom is Australias new, brilliant diva - poetry and voice haunt
Written: Nov 23, 2004 (Updated Nov 29, 2004)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Amazing arrangements, lovely vocals, lush strings and excellent beats, very sexy
Cons:Listen carefully or you'll miss the subtleties of the music
The Bottom Line: Inga Liljestrom has produced an amazing love story, with threads of lust and beautiful string sections. Her voice haunts my dreams. Australia has found it's voice.
Australias Own Ingalil multi-faceted gem
The cover grabs you and flings you around just to start. Is she hurt, is she asleep or more importantly, is this fragile girl safe? Will someone save her from her angst, from the dangers that lie within the CD case? Do you feel like it is a cliffhanger before you even start? Thats because it is.
Inga Liljestrom has the most distinctive voice in Australian music today. 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. And then you must consider the jazz studies and let her reach into your soul, let her find you on the inside.
Whats this about Elk?
Elk is an album about passions, many of them wild and billowing with the night. They are not really careening out of control; they are more riding with the top down. It is an album about being passionate for one another, maybe beyond your ability to be gentle, to control yourself. And really, that is the goal, is it not?
The Tunes Themselves
1 Film Noir Right from the left hand edge we are given lush strings and then very strange sound effects, and then that voice dripping with nuance, full of forbidding, and the strings carry that theme. Film Noir does give you the Sam Spade vibe, with a quiet, electronic wizard running the show from below.
Lantana honey on my tongue
tastes like winter
but warm inside
2 Phoenix Again rich strings, bass and cello to start, and then words and melody and as this song progresses and moves forward, it almost feels like it is going to be pop. But weird pop, with little twangy sounds, and brushes running across various fabrics, descending keyboard lines and all of it leads us back to the voice, breathing over strings.
My Lovers like the sun
hes come to warm me
thaw this ice
it goes right through to the core of me
3 Lira It starts with a gentle keyboard introduction, swallowed whole by the upright bass that comes over the top of it, and is then led home by the drum track. The synth lines are strange and eerie, over the top of a story, the story of a drive. The sexual tensions in the car are palpable, as it builds, singing about the dangerous place. It ends with a gentle tinkling, just a light cymbal sound.
and shes dancing like diamonds
the lights of your eyes
the wind is wild
4 Knotted This one is a groove right out of the Caravan of Dreams in Fort Worth, Texas. Late on a weekend, with the piano, the bass and the remarkable, smoky bourbon of that voice going into me. The groove is steady, maybe Stingesque, a little like that, but always the tensions in the song writing, in the chords. And we end with a gentle singing, high above the dark strings, just a pure vocal strain.
harsh the wind, and harsh your mouth love
stormy seas, I live for it now
a silver thread, to catch my love upon
5 All of This A quiet, Alex DiGrassi sort of guitar line, quiet and classical, there is a continuous strain of classical feeling beyond the music. This is just voice over the top of acoustic six string. No room to hide, no samples and no lush padding. This song is pure and simple. It is a musical cliff, a beautiful tender, dangerous place to go and Ingalil is Brilliant.
Im an elk, and youre a deer
we have our differences
lay me down here
and let me hear the loose change
in your pocket.
6 Glow Again the quiet strings just approach us, kiss our cheeks and put a warm shawl over our shoulders. The tenderness of the song before is replaced by the urgent desperation of the glow. The drum machines and samples cut a wide and understood path under the big bass sound. The strings are lovely. This is a song that builds in its dynamics, that screams for more and more. The end is a gentle frenzy, with her lover, of course.
While you sleep,
I pour myself into you
Speak with angels
7 Diamond Horseshoe This one has the Duane Eddy twangy guitar feeling. It borrows a little bit from the old west movies, keeping in the Noir theme. This one reminds me of some of KD Langs retro music, her cowboy stuff. But not the poetry is deeper than that, which is also haunting, or the voice, but definitely the whistling cowboy during the bridge.
And Ill break like china cups
falling to the sound of autumn leaves
8 Deer There are warning sounds, like a synthesized and quiet fog horn, or maybe like the heart beat on the monitor. This leads to the strings again, full and firm. And the singing leads to a harp, to a harp over the top of sample keyboard sounds, strange and break-beat. There is a distinct trance/trip-hop groove under the lovely vocals and orchestration. This is an enchanting song. This is part two of All of This, with the same theme, I am the Elk, and you are the deer, we have our differences.
And it ends with echo sounds, and tender words.
hold fast my beating heart
heres a deer amongst the hunted
a gentle anarchist who knows no fear
see, Im an elk and youre a deer
9 29 Poisons A recorded Spanish guitar, strumming and guiding the voice. Giving the music a quiet place to lay its head. The vocals sail around, soaring high and then ducking low. The guitar is really stunning and simple and lovely.
If you dont come take me away soon
29 poisons try to keep my mind from you
10 Stardust Again with the old west and the twangy guitar, another love song, another song about laying back and welcoming all that the night has. The track is clean and rich the strings are ever present.
you could fold me in the middle, obscene
sex a dress I try on
11 Bullet A guitar line begins the journey, with lots of tremolo, a busy guitar line, followed by the keyboards. And then after singing about lips the colour of rubies, they modulate up to a different key, and on it goes. This one is simple, but theme the same, love razor sharp and powerful.
your love an arid landscape
the wells dry the waters dirty
filthy like the grin you wear at night
12 Stolen The sound effect is an old projector, laying down a subtle pad, but movies again. Remember the sound when the coach in the movie Miracle was watching the old projector showing film of the Russians? Same sound. And then of course come the crazy sound effects, radio stations changing, static, Medieval Horns briefly. Always the projector running underneath it all, and the floating graceful butterfly violins riding on top of it, this is lovely.
youve stolen me with love
Id have given it anyway
13 Ghostlike (Hidden Track) The hidden track, the bonus and quite a bonus it turned out to be. Ghostlike starts with mood enhancing keyboard sounds, just a thin, glossy layer over the water, like mist. And you have sound effects that keep that ghostlike feeling. And then the guitars come in, and reintroduce a newer melody. The voice lifts itself up and out of the mist, and soars above it all. And it is the final kiss goodnight for the lover that she has taken, and taken again, who has haunted her, and made her ghostlike.
you sending me, feeling like you do
I walked all night
A long tangled road
Led back to you.
And In The End
This is a remarkable album, diving into a place of passion. The strings and arrangements are lovely, and the vocals are amazing. The poetry sets your mind on fire, and refuses to give you any relief. It is really a stunning work. Try out Ingalil. The album is on Groovescooter records, and decidedly Australia has found the voice of a generation.
Here are web links to Ingalil and her record company: