Album Review: Anika – Eat Liquid

The Breakdown

...a captivating stage performance from Anika...

EAT LIQUID is a commissioned work I, Annika Henderson, aka ANIKA composed for and performed at the Zeiss Planetarium, Berlin, in collaboration with their visuals team, who provided a suitably out of this world experience made up of fractals, maps to the stars and a birds-eye-view of Berlin. The composition is inspired by Timothy Leary’s THE PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCE, exploring the question: Can music be used to elevate the consciousness into psychedelic experiences?

Written in the context of cold, endless, relentless Berlin Winter, the rattling uncertainty of war edging ever closer, we all seek escape in moments like this, through drugs, alcohol, sex and film. Can music take us to a place of bliss, safety, just for one moment and without the nasty side effects?

I hope to offer a journey into another realm, a safe place, a-top a dreamy soundscape of whining synths, siren calls, long-tailed guitar, all over the grid, to re-find the centre of ourselves, a staycation, to unpick the stresses of modern life – a complete experiment with no sinister motives. Spoken word includes cut-ups from Timothy Leary’s ‘The Psychedelic Experience’ and ‘First Bardo Instructions’ during Climb On-Board: Annika Henderson

This simply is a masterclass of atmosphere, sounds, guitar and occasionally voice. Not an update on Velvet Underground, but how an interstellar travel with a VU soundtrack could sound like if it would be made in 2023. Well, here you go: Anika eats liquid stardust in a one-off performance at the Zeiss-Großplanetarium in Berlin. It is of course also a travel in your inner mind as much as it is the logical progression of some of the best Cosmic Music that came out of Berlin. Think Ash Ra Temple, Agitation Free, Harmonia to get the drift.

Think of the German OHR sublabel Kosmische Kuriere and their press mailings in 1972: “First we broadcast our music, later we expand into a more beautiful world.” As Anika’s live performance inhabits the style of Cosmic Music, which was often instrumental and characterized by “spacy”, ambient soundscapes. In a setting that involves travels to the stars in the Zeiss-Großplanetarium, it opens with layered synthesized sounds, interfered with occasional vocals and lots of Manuel Göttsching-like guitar strumming. And the addition of a bit of bass guitar by Sally Whitton on ‘Climb On-Board’.

It’s a real pity, you can’t dive into the amazing visuals at the planetarium, especially created for the concert series “Live Radiant”, but think Kubrick’s “2001 – A Space Odyssey’s” famous “Star Gate” sequence and you are not even halfway there. All the songs on “Eat Liquid” enhance an aural experience just as cosmic as it can get in your room with a record player, a set of loudspeakers, an amplifier, and this wonderful breathtaking live album by Anika on limited vinyl.

Verdict: Divided up into separately titled tracks ‘Eat liquid’ is essentially a 33 minute live session capturing a captivating stage performance from Anika. A structured set with an air of improvisation, the tracks flow into one another with each new direction holding remnants from its predecessor. A wonderfully delicate work, mainly combining of synths, guitar and spoken word, it creates a very moving visceral listening experience. With the absence of any percussive element throughout, the ethereal layers of sounds move freely, unencumbered, intertwining in an all encompassing serenely beautiful ambiance. One of the aims of the project was to answer a simple question, can music be used to elevate the consciousness into psychedelic experiences? well, ‘Eat Liquid’ may hold the answer.

Vinyl Tracklist:

A1 The Cliffs A2 Warm Rain A3 Choc-A-Bloc
A4 The Wolf is Hungry
A5 Wake Up
A6 Climb On-Board
A7 Water Cools

B1 Ticket Collection
B2 Lime Llama
B3 Jane Goes Gently
B4 Bye

Available @ Anika: Eat Liquid (Edition DUR 11) – – Dussmann – Das Kulturkaufhaus 09.06.23

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