Being a restless creative butterfly and a multi-instrumentalist, Merit Visser a.k.a LIJO and her music have proven to be difficult to put in a box - and as being labeled is what bothers her the most, she rather refers to her work simply as ‘songs and such’. Having been the driving force behind cinematic four-piece Ilen Mer and exploring the confines of solo piano work under the moniker AMIMEA, Visser is a songwriter first and foremost; though her music is always in motion, she never loses sight of her signature innovative melodies and her literate, colourful approach to lyrics. With the collection of songs on 'The Pleasures' ranging from gnarling synth-pop tracks to naked close to a capella songs, she seems to have made her peace with the idea that her songs reflect a temporary state of mind of an ever evolving artist.

Pic: Desirée Coumans

Debut album 'The Pleasures Of Self Deception' is a bold record without compromises. Having been compared to the likes Kate Bush, St Vincent and Goldfrapp, LIJO shines her light on the concept of identity and image. Are we all personas? On a small scale, we all are the main characters of our own little shows. On a bigger one we act like we are the main character in this world. The way we try to alter the perception other people have of us in order to feel a certain way about ourselves is a constant battle between reality and make-belief. Eccentric and literate songstress LIJO addresses this and its consequences, but then decorates it with a sense of lightheartedness and danceability, flowing melodies and feverish sounds.

‘The Pleasures’ sets a lush scene for LIJO to casually dance from cynical indifference to gnawing doubt and from distant observance to the longing for connection. Combining her innate love for the warm sound of acoustic instruments and her fascination for the directness of electronic drums and synths, her debut shows LIJO’s broadest picture and deepest soundscape so far - a result sprouting from her collaboration with producer Erwin Tuijl (Pocket Knife Army).

‘The Pleasures Of Self Deception’ has been ranked one of the best released albums in 2023 by Krenten uit de Pop and called ‘an impressive dream debut’ by Written in Music.

From 2019 on, LIJO has toured the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, England and Sweden. Recently she has been collaborating with her go-to cello player Mirthe de Jonge.

LIJO’s releases have been spinned (inter)nationally by the likes of Kink Radio, 3voor12, Pinguin Radio and WNRI, and shared by blogs like American Pancake (USA), When The Horn Blows (UK), Lluid (NL), Homecooking Share (FR), Tinnitus (CAN) and We Love That Sound (DE). Her latest single ‘Bee Suits’ was added to Spotify’s editorial playlist ‘karakter.’, the Dutch playlist for edgy music.

Pic: Lisanne Lentink