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Medicine Sings Triptych

by Tobias Lilja

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Dotflac Suffusing over our souls indus-downtempo tracks lined by shamanic vocals with a personality disorder, Tobias Lilja offers with Medicine Sings Triptych a terrific inner journey.

Main attraction of the album, he uses his versatile voice as a modular synthesizer, but also as the conveyor of the lyrics whose meanings thrive on lost memories and retained feelings. A peculiar way to employ an often forgotten organ in electronic music.

An efficient release scoring high musically and emotionally-wise. Favorite track: Sun-Eater.
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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
White Shell 05:12
Tucked in under white sheet blood red veins Soon this egg will be too small and this little bird will carry a song This can be traced all the way back to Beethoven A descending major third on and on on and on passed on all the way down down the bloodline down the bloodline
Frozen Lake 07:35
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
The backside of the envelope of every valentine you wrote kisses and a sorry note subscribing to your inside jokes Please let me haunt you and let me throw the dice how to attract snowflakes like on Wallace Street that night False dawn telling me the truth wishing me harm like I’ve done to you Darkly Olympian the first dusk outside December sweet December you may kiss the bride Start with the funeral and go on with your life you will all be blondes next year a new years eve on fire Cold dawn all you’ve got is youth oh wish me harm like I’ve done to you
Wake up from winter sleep it’s time to stand up tall my dear Dry lips in dead wind there is no other there is no other Let the heat carry you onwards and let the sound carry you onwards wave upon wave upon wave Soaring through thin air a one-ton swarm of locust you are the reason the rise and the fall of every empire wave upon wave upon wave There is no other there is no other no other than you you you you
Sun-Eater 07:55
The smell of sunshine on your skin grains of sand everywhere A gaping mouth consuming the light reflected by your sequin dress Melted asphalt in the skull try to break through the heat haze before the sand runs out from under your feet forming ruins down below for a new generation Swallow the light from distant suns let it flow through you Then spit it out on a silver plate witness an image unfold before your eyes step out through the door draw a rift across the sky Before before


This is the album version of the Medicine Sings Triptych. The three original EP's are available as separate releases.

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.


released August 31, 2015

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


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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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