'Westworld', Women & Sci-Fi : The Best of SXSW 2018
"There’s nothing quite like traveling over 1,500 miles to hear an artist you could’ve seen in Brooklyn. Still, ELSZ’s SXSW performance really did feel a world away from Bushwick, as the Brooklyn-based harpist serenaded the backyard at the Australia House BBQ. ELSZ, who has historically split her time between Australia and Sri Lanka, was the only and best harpist I saw perform at SXSW. She managed to transfix a crowd of rowdy Aussies with a hypnotic mix of pulsating beats, dreamy, expansive vocals and, of course, a very chic translucent harp. While I would recommend seeing ELSZ perform in person—she freestyles on the harp—she’s working on an album that is sure to make waves from Sydney to Austin to Williamsburg and beyond. "
Raised between Australia and Sri Lanka and currently based in New York City, producer, singer-songwriter and harpist ELSZ‘s new single defies the conventional structure of her previous R&B-pop efforts. “Dark Room” is a sensual, minimalist production that conjures up the likes of FKA twigs, Kelela and Kučka without any obvious references. ELSZ’s voice glides above the beat taut and graceful, like a snake calculating the best time to strike. The music video, co-directed by ELSZ, brings her metaphorical “Dark Room” to life, filling the gorgeously lit set with queer, POC, glittered-up bodies.
"Standing strong for abuse survivors and raising awareness for the cause, Australian/ Sri Lankan artist ELSZ delivers a powerful song and video on International Women’s Day"
New York Magazine
Following along the path that artists like KELELA and ABRA have forged, ELSZ offers up a unique twist on experimental RnB with her unique voice, affinity for avant pop production and her skills as a harpist. Her latest single, ‘Dark Room’ is accompanied by a fittingly dark and mysterious video clip that is both sensual and at times ominous as ELSZ invites you in – only if you dare... With music and lyrics that tackles the effects of colonialism on everyday living and gender-based violence, ELSZ opts to act as a healer rather than a narrator, creating a reflective and meditative mental space for black and brown bodied peoples, and that’s exactly what she’s done here with ‘Dark Room’. An immersive experience from start to finish, ELSZ commands your attention and what she’s saying needs to be heard. We can’t wait to hear more.
"Ribongia is equally at home working with vocalists, as made clear on the excellent “Holler,” featuring ELSZ. The track, which is one of the highlights of the EP, is reminiscent of M.I.A. at some moment with its catchy chanted hooks, and FKA twigs at others, with the twitchy percussion and breathy vocals."