Why you should care
Because you’ll want to get into this woman’s head.
If the least cool thing about Liesa Van der Aa is her totally great name, then the most cool thing — her genre-defying reach to recast a raft of modern music — is probably just as noteworthy. Which is just another way to say that the 29-year-old classically trained musician who feels as at home composing with a violin as she does with sequencers, loops and various acting gigs, is the shit. The good kind.
“Sure she’s drawing from a musical tradition that includes Delia Derbyshire, Laurie Anderson, Dan Lacksman and the like,” says former Time Out London’s Damian Bennett. “The fact that so few are there in that space now make her noisy and theatrical mix of rock, classical and experimental somewhat worthwhile.”
Somewhat. But when singly joined to the Flemish speaking Van der Aa’s theater and TV work, as an actress and a musician, from the noted Ghent music theater Muziek LOD to the opera at de Filmfabriek and TV series, she’s almost like a Belgian-version of maybe the much-less inspiring Zooey Deschanel. With a much larger scope.
Much more than readily apparent when at the end of 2014 she improved on her 2012 debut album Troops, by delving deep into ancient Egyptian death ceremonies in her Weighing of the Heart. The three-part musical production used more than 80 musicians, premiered as a live performance in December, and is now documented on three double CDs that weave classical instrumentation, vocals, loops in a meditation on God and judgment.
You know, easy listening.
“Her stuff with Boris Wilsdorf [sound engineer for German noise terrorists Einsturzende Neubauten] was the first sign that she was very interested in being interesting,” said Berlin-by-way-of-Switzerland music producer Manuel Liebeskind. “This new release makes it clear that she is indeed.” Interesting, that is.
Which makes it more than perfect that the trance-y, dark Weighing of the Heart is hitting the road with shows in Belgium and the Netherlands straight through April 15. Not with the 10 crowdsourced videos done by 10 artists for all of the 10 songs on Troops but with as many people as the budget will let her bring with.
“Making it alive, live, like it is in my head,” said Van der Aa from her home in Antwerp, “is my dream like it would be any artist’s.” And if this tour is as close as you can get? Then you should get as close as you can get to see it.