SINCE 2003 SWEDISH BORN SINGER AND SONGWRITER LESLI has been writing, recording and performing his particular brand of acoustic music. While being a primarily selftaught electric guitarplayer, it was perhaps not the most obvious choice to start recording all acoustic albums. However it is not by any dogmatic principles that electric instruments
are excluded. Lesli claims "â€¦these songs just sounds better that way".
"Imagine yourself being very small and finding yourself trapped inside a steelstring guitar. While you struggle to get out you're suddenly emerged in a wall of guitarsound, angelic yet desperate voices, and the faint sound of violins getting stronger. In this enviroment you can not help but to get drawn into what you're hearingâ€¦" says Lesli. This metafor is of course only a small part of what Leslis music is all about, there are many facets to his creativity and expression.
Sleepwalkers Lament is Leslis second full-length effort, following the critically acclaimed, but widely overlooked, Summer Winter & Blood that was released in Scandinavia 2005 and worldwide in 2006. This time Lesli produced and mixed the entire album, in his own studio and label headquarters Wildfire Mill, situated in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden.
"The idea on my first album, and this new one as well, was to record something that sounded live and direct. But when I listened to my first album, I was dissapointed to realize that it sounded overly processed. My main goal while recording my new album was to achieve something clean and pure in sound, with a much more spontaneous sense of performance. I think I achieved that. But that's all subjective. In a few years I might prefer something quite differentâ€¦"
Although there are many traceable influences in Leslis music, such as early folky stuff like Donovan, Nick Drake and Crosby Stills & Nash, it's surprising to hear that Lesli was born a metalhead.
"When I was at about eleven years old I got my first CD-player and the first records I got were Painkiller by Judas Priest and Rust In Peace by Megadeth. I have listened more to those records, than I will probably listen to anything else. I still listen to alot of metal like Tool and Mastodon. I guess that shaped my early music style alot, and it is still that kind of energy I'm after, although I'm writing and performing music that's completely differentâ€¦"
Sleepwalkers Lament starts of with the instrumental track The Big Sleep which can be regarded as an intro or a short song. The song features swedish cello extraordinaire Svante Henryson who appears on four songs throughout the album. Track two, which is the titletrack, features the same stringsection as found on Leslis debutalbum. Lisa Rydberg on the violin and Ylvali Zilliacus on the viola, both well established musicians within traditional folkmusic and classical music. All string and horn arrangements are written by longtime collaborator Jonas NystrÃ¶m.
Further we find The Boy, a slower, dreamy, romantic yet somewhat sorrowful offering.
"The Boy was the first the song I wrote after releasing Summer, Winter & Blood. It is about that time early in our childhood when we realize our life is not necessarily going to be easy. You realize that life is not going to be all play and everlasting summerholiday. Once I regressed to this childhood mindset, on a particularly hot summerday, I probably wrote this song in five minutes. The lyrics are really simple, as if I wrote them as I child, but they're still some of the most emotional words I've writtenâ€¦"
The track Half A Wing, which is also the first single off of the album, features a duet with Frida Ã–hrn, well known as a member of the band Oh Laura and the bluegrass band Cookies 'n Beans. The track also features the horn section from Swedish indiepop phenomenon Florence Valentin.
"Frida is a good friend of mine since highschool, and when I wrote the duet I always had her voice in mind. As for the horn section, I used to be the lead guitarplayer in Florence Valentin, long ago when they where called Smoking Fish, so it was only natural to ask them. This is an album full of beloved friendsâ€¦"
And so it continuesâ€¦ Sleepwalkers Lament is the first album that's has been produced in its entirety by Lesli and released on the Wildfire Mill label. Look out for some more great music from this label in the future.