Lia Ices

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Lia Ices
Lia Ices, Eliot Kessel, Otto Hauser, Greg Chudzik
Record Label
BiographyA Sleuth Deduces Lia Ices’ Life Story
by Trinie Dalton

This was my initial hunch—

A woman gave birth to a creature of the twilight, all splotched and bristly-skinned, which no one could seem to identify. The angakok said, “The Earth will know.” So they killed the creature and buried it in the ground, to learn what kind of thing it was. The ghost came back: a pretty little girl.

But I couldn’t prove this. At next listening, I’m fairly certain that Lia Ices—the pretty girl—is a solid human being, of the flesh, the type of woman who eats food, drinks tea, and can dance something rare and refined, like ballroom. She has long hair, which I hope she braids into ropes to lasso around loved ones. Her hair is silky enough for a fine weave. And, let’s face it, there’s no need to tiptoe around the meaning of long hair—this lady has definitely done some communing with bears and snakes. Listen to “Medicine Wheel” —

And all the animals will tell us why, they’ll tell us why
We’re bears in winter and we think it through inside
We’re aging snakes and shed our skin to stay alive
They’ll change your life!

See? Lia is no shapeshifter. She simply lives from time to time with wild animals and acts as their spokesperson. Visualizing her slender fingers next, they tap piano keys with a natural confidence because, retracing her mystical roots, she sprouted out of the ground next to a baby grand and started playing it the second her bristly skin fell away. Her piano style—a theatrical pounding out of big chord progressions spattered with delicate single notes—belies her affinity for sonic symmetry, structure taming melodic tornadoes. I see Baroque rosettes formed out of an early adoration of Rowlf the Dog, that blues-stricken Muppet. Ices’ fingertips function best while hammering out patterns. Lia Ices may be an expert in Morse code.

Here’s what happened: I get this envelope in the mail, and inside there’s a disc that I shove into my stereo and replay a bunch until the songs are stuck in my head. Mailing her voice to me, quite a romantic package! I don’t know if this singer sent me stuff from the tundra or from next door. But I suspect she lives in an elegantly built bird of prey-style nest; she definitely has some avian relatives. She’s got Joni Mitchell, Chan Marshall, and Christie McVie genes as well. Her singing resembles certain tropical birds calls, but her notes bounce up-and-down through the octaves more like those of a red-winged blackbird. Feathers keep her young, she claims. Listen to “Many Moons” —

The feathers you keep in a vase in my home have made me a bird that’ll never grow old
Mix and match plumes for patchwork dove takes me off a-yearning for the age of my love

Lia Ices is a woman and a fierce musician, whether she was borne from the forest floor or from a mother in a hospital bed, who later bought her a piano and signed her up for lessons when she was a child. Let’s assume both are true. There’s both outright desire and intimacy in her sound, a no-pussyfooting approach to re-telling tales from the secret garden. And there is a positivism that is crucial to moving forward. Listen to “(Un)chosen One” —

Give up give up, I write it like a mantra
There’s been enough enough hopelessness and banter
I’m not alive to whine, it’s an honor just to be here
It’s an honor just to be here alive

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