Anika — the project of Berlin-based musician Annika Henderson — shares the new single/video, “Rights,” from Change, her first new album in over a decade, out July 23rd on Sacred Bones and Invada. Following “Change” and “Finger Pies,” “Rights” drones with Anika’s beautifully plaintive voice and oscillating percussion.
In her words, the song is about “turning the tables, giving power to those who normally feel disempowered. This song is about unification, not division. This song is about female (/queer/non-binary/marginalised communities) empowerment – the joining of forces, not pitted against each other. This song is about wanting to escape reality, but then we can never truly escape it. It will always be there to collect its dues. We can only ever achieve temporary escape. The better option is to bring whatever we want into reality.” During the song’s peak, Anika chants encouragingly: “Feel the power // feel the power // show me power.”
The accompanying video, directed by Anika and Sabrina Labis, features Anika and Mueran Humanos’s Carmen Burguess. The video toggles between the virtual and real worlds, playing with the ideas of dreams and displacement and seeking places of empowerment. Anika elaborates: “At the end of the video, the memory of the feelings, the knowledge that it was possible, remained, that is enough to start bringing it into our own life. We all have rights.” Co-director Sabrina Labis adds: “Making videos is my way to feel power. The power of changing perspectives, escaping conservative structures and landing on a very close and free power-planet where everything is possible. Press play, take off and enjoy.”
The follow-up to cult favourite Anika (2010), Change is beautifully fraught. The intimacy of its creation and a palpable sense of global anxiety are seemingly baked into the album’s DNA. Spread across nine tracks, the central feeling of the record is one of heightened frustration buoyed by guarded optimism. The songs offer skittering, austere electronic backdrops reminiscent of classic Broadcast records or Hi Scores-era Boards of Canada, playing them against Anika’s remarkable voice —Nico-esque and — in regards to the record’s subject matter — totally resolute.
Having worked collaboratively in the past with the likes of BEAK> and Exploded View, Change was ultimately the product of necessity. After recording the initial ideas by herself at Berlin’s Klangbild Studios, Anika was joined by Exploded View’s Martin Thulin, who co-produced the album and played some live drums and bass.
Recorded at a time when literally everyone in the world was being forced to take stock, rethink, and reimagine their own place in the cosmos of things, Anika provides the wisened perspective of an outsider. It’s a perspective that is not lost on the British ex-pat and former political journalist, and despite the subject matter and the circumstances around its creation, Change itself is ultimately a treatise on optimism.