“Political Journalist” isn’t a credential we usually have in musician’s bios, but this is exactly what Anika was doing while living between Berlin and Bristol earlier this year when she met Geoff Barrow. The producer was looking for a new singer to work with his band Beak>, and it was immediately clear they shared the same musical vision, including a love of punk, dub and 60s girl groups.
Just a week later Anika and Beak> (Barrow, Billy Fuller and Matt Williams) went into the studio to begin recording material. The resulting album was recorded in twelve days, live, with the four together in one room. Dub with no overdubs. The collaboration is political, trashy, dub, punk, funk … a cohesive sound, and and experience in uneasy listening.
In the tradition of short-lived but deeply influential 99 Records and the NYC’s 80s No Wave nexus, the nine songs on Anika run the gamut from experimental rock (“Yang Yang”, “Officer Officer”) to covers of folk (“Masters of War”) and pop songs (“Terry”, “I Go to Sleep”), while showcasing reverb-drenched ancient drum machine rhythms.
Self-titled debut, Anika, produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead, out now on Stones Throw Records.
Antwon is one of the most promising artists to rise out of the Internet-oriented “cloud rap” pseudo-scene that’s gotten a lot of online attention in the past few years. His trick is to make music that often feels inward-facing and borderline-myopic into a socially open, even joyous experience. In other words: His shit is just that much more fun than everybody else’s.
There’s retro-rap, and then there’s rap that captures the exuberant spirit of the early ’90s. Antwon differentiates himself by adopting a lo-fi m.o. On standout “Living Every Dream,” it sounds as if De La and Q-Tip’s “Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays” was disintegrating. His rap style is casual, and not the most versatile or dexterous, but that’s much to its benefit; he communicates his ideas in funny, punchy lines, which is more than enough.
Anika + Antwon LIVE
Saturday, 8th April 2015 | 20:00 CET
Griessmühle | Sonnenallee 221 | 12059 Berlin/Neukölln