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Medicine Sings

by Tobias Lilja

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from a sky pitch black falls a blinding white snow coming down with illness and fever paralyzing every thought the red and yellow light of a fever high skin and bones greasy hair let the drum talk let the medicine sing then take me down to where it stings show me the spot where it hurts leave it all leave it all to medicine leave it all leave it all to medicine to chemistry
Frozen Lake 07:33
clear nights by the frozen lake our ears open to the moaning a burning fever in a cold sleeping bag the northern lights were never in my dreams swim for me under the ice show me a grin for every stroke the subconscious can never win can never win a worn-down cabin the home of a broken man only a shadow of his former self an empty stare across the frozen lake strange advice written on the wall: "always be kind and stupid, truth will make you bald in the end" advice for cowards advice of a broken man swim for me under the ice I'll cheer you on for every stroke the subconscious can never win can never win


A few years ago, Tobias moved his studio out of his apartment and into a bigger soundproof space. This enabled him not only to be louder and experiment more with his voice, but also to incorporate a lot more hardware studio 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 listener’s 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 pitches, 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 ventured 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.


released February 10, 2015

Written and produced by Tobias Lilja
Cover photo by Anna Moberg
Cover layout by Sohlberg Studios


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Tobias Lilja Malmö, Sweden

Tobias Lilja is a Swedish electronic experimental artist that has been active since 2001. Mainly within the fields of electronica, ambient and techno but he isn’t afraid to explore and incorporate other genres as well. His work is characterized by the attention to the sound design and the use of his own voice. Tobias also does sound and music for video games, television, films and art projects. ... more

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