Liima + Islaja at Berghain / Thursday, 21.04.2016

Liima is a new band consisting of the Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö and the three members of Efterklang, Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg. The debut album “ii” includes songs written in Finland, Berlin, Istanbul and Madeira during four weeklong residencies. Each place has affected the sound, sometimes literally in the form of samples and field recordings, and each residency ended with a concert where the band performed the newly written songs.

For Liima (“glue” translated from Finnish), the spontaneity of writing songs and performing them live right away has become a liberating experience. With a simple live set-up, synthesizers, drum sampler, vocal, effects and bass it has been possible for the four members to get the most out of their common creative dynamics. Sketches made through improvising together have been made into songs in a collective, intuitive and immediate process.

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The same approach was chosen for the studio recording of the album. In October 2015 the band recorded the album in just three days in the Vox Ton studio in Berlin together with the Finnish producer Jonas Verwijnen. Everything was recorded live with the whole band. No overdubs and no click track. Afterwards Francesco Donadello mixed the album on tape. Liima started 2016 with two more residencies in London and Copenhagen, and a European tour will follow in the spring.

The new album by Islaja aka Merja Kokkonen on Gudrun Gut’s Monika label marks a radical transition for the former folk musician into a solo artist who skillfully arranges lyrics, melodies and imagery into a much more electronic style than she has been known for in the past.


The album is called S U U, which is Finnish for “mouth,” and Islaja’s bold vocal style and lyrical content will make you want to tune in to what’s coming from her S U U. Islaja has been part of the contemporary music scene for several years, already producing wonderfully-arranged surreal pop tracks in her solo work, as on 2010’s Keraaminen Pää (FR 072CD/LP) as well as in collaboration with other musicians as on the Hertta Lussu Ässä project in 2011, or recently as a contributor to AGF’s Kuuntele compilation in 2013.

In total, she has previously had four full-length albums on Finnish label Fonal plus one on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! Records. Still, so far it has mainly been insiders of the underground music scene that have been familiar with her work. Her music is strongly associated with the D.I.Y. scene, and so represents a prime example of a female musician who has developed a singular musical and aesthetic expression.


Somehow Islaja fits in with these new modern female acts such as Anika, Nite Jewel and Yula – even if their styles are all quite distinct. Now with her fifth album appearing on Gudrun Gut’s Monika Enterprise, the latest activities of Berlin-based Finnish pop musician Islaja have shown a surprising change in style and sound. S U U was coproduced and mixed by fellow Berlin resident Heidi Mortenson.

Liima + Islaja

Thursday, 21st April 2016 | 20:00 CET
Berghain | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin/Friedrichshain | |


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