Written and produced by Tobias Lilja
Harmonium and chords on 'Sun-Eater' by Anna Moberg
Lyrics on 'How To Attract Snowflakes' by Sam Sohlberg
Cover photo by Anna Moberg
Cover layout by Sohlberg Studios
Lyrics (PDF), 347 KB
Tobias Lilja - Medicine Sings Triptych (album)
Format: Digital album
Label: Medicine Songs
Catalog #: MSD004
Anyone familiar with Tobias’ work will immediately recognize the keen attention to detail. All the sounds are little universes in themselves, individual bricks that combine to form a world filled with serenity and depth. The ever-present melancholy and undertones of darkness are still very much here, but there is also something very cathartic about these songs. An invite to swim, out to the deep waters, and then dive, far below the surface, but also a promise that you’ll make it back up, cleansed by the journey. And there will be comfort along the way.
A few years ago Tobias moved his studio out of his apartment and into a bigger, and soundproof space. This enabled him not only to be louder and experiment more with his voice, but also to incorporate a lot more hardware musical gear and acoustic percussion instruments in the recording process. The result of this studio work is the Medicine Sings Triptych.
While the foundations are still firmly rooted in electronic music, Tobias has also explored vintage reverb technologies, such as spring reverbs and tape delays, giving the songs a more organic and tactile sound. The majority of the synth phrases and filter sweeps have been jammed out live in the studio on hardware synthesizers. This approach, in combination with the use of acoustic percussion elements, has given the whole work a very direct and immediate feeling.
Where “Delirium Portraits” had an almost pop-flavored lightness to some of the songs, this triptych presents the listener with a new weight and resonance. The sounds are more organic, and also more challenging. Repetitive and slow progressions connect firmly with a minimalist tradition, but rather than reaching for the abstract and etheric, these soundscapes are grounded in an industrial, and at times almost ethnic, sound. The musical landscape is reminiscent of ancient shamanic rituals, but with a definite industrial flare. The repetitive and hypnotic rhythms carry the songs and merge with exquisitely chosen and elaborate sounds that demand the listeners’ attention.
Vocally there’s also more experimentation than on previous releases. The work with various effects on the voice is familiar, but here the vocal compass has been extended further and now spans from whispers to screams. The voice is used as part of the instrumentation, often through several layers and pitching, and at times the vocals are more like chants than actual singing. Sometimes tugging at your soul and hinting at your deepest fears, but also soothing you with softness and warmth.
Lyrically Tobias has taken a step away from the storytelling approach on Delirium Portraits, and gone towards a more elusively poetic approach that mirrors the the depth of the soundscapes. The words merge with the sound and the lyrics merge with your own internal images. The storytelling has given way to the journey and an invitation to explore the inner landscapes. Already in the very first song we are told to leave it all to medicine, and this is medicine for the soul.