London-based, German singer songwriter announces debut EP 'The Eye Against The Ashen Sky' & shares first single and video "Desiring Machines".
London-based, Brandenburg-born artist Atka has announced her debut EP 'The Eye Against The Ashen Sky' is set for release Nov 3rd and is sharing the first glimpse of her moving electronic art-pop with the first single & video from the record, "Desiring Machines".
The single "Desiring Machines", a reference to the philosophers Deleuze and Guattari's books Anti Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, explores how one's own body is experienced as an object under the (male) gaze. Here Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of the rhizome is explored musically with a soundscape that grows and grows like the root-system that the two philosophers describe. A rhizome does not start from anywhere or end anywhere; it grows from everywhere and is the same at any point. As such, a rhizome has no center, which makes it difficult to uproot or destroy. Atka understands herself in that way. Also referred to as the ‘body without organs’, Atka sings about this constant state of "meaningless" non-linear, unstructured, non-hierarchical flux of forming, deforming and reforming. In this understanding of the self, desire is not lack, which suggests negativity. It is affirmative in its state of movement and change – desire here, is always a desire of becoming. Inspired by the sculptures and installations of the French American artist Louise Bourgeois, Atka also describes the rhizomatic structure of the self as one that carries trauma experienced in the domestic realm. Lyrics like “There was a woven child spinning threads around the room” directly speak of Luis Bourgeois’ horrifying but eerie portrayal of domestic abuse and try to make sense of the female experience in the domestic realm and beyond. This is a story of her own experience and that of the women in her life.
Although Atka has been writing, producing and recording her own music for years, she has so far remained in the background of the music industry. Growing up in a tiny village in Germany, she moved to the beaches of the Gold Coast in Australia at the age of 15 and later to the snowy mountains in Squamish, Canada, until she found a home in London. Initially pursuing a career in sustainability research and politics, Atka quickly became disillusioned by the bureaucracy of the political system and instead considered going into filmmaking. A few self-directed short films, runner- and costume assistant jobs later, she however returned to music as a journalist for Rolling Stone, Groove and Musikexpress and others.
With her own sound however, she has only been tinkering in private – whether on her walks through St. James Park to procrastinate writing her master’s thesis, on the tube on the way to Soho or in her improvised home studio in East London. Atka comes up with ideas mostly when she is on the move. Incorporating that constant movement into her music she wants her songs to create a cinematic feel – or how she describes it: to be “journey-esque”.
A versatile musician who cites Joy Division and Kraftwerk as her most formative influences, she wrote her first song at the age of ten and later gained the attention of big names in the music scene for her poetic lyrics and unique flair for music production and composition.
Atka interweaves the folklore of her native village in the woods of Brandenburg with the industrial, electronic sounds of London and Berlin, where she previously lived, to create a mystical sound. The artist, whose real name is Sarah Neumann, wrote her debut EP The Eye Against The Ashen Sky last year in London parallel to completing her master's degree in philosophy, in which she intensively studied the French philosopher’s, Jean-Paul Sartre's, theory of the gaze. On the EP, the musician now processes this academic debate through storytelling in a close, tangible manner. Here, intellectual interests and personal experiences blur into an autobiographical work about shame and paranoia. Track after track, The Eye Against The Ashen Sky meanders deeper and deeper through various manifestations of these emotional worlds to their origin in the overwhelming gaze of the Other. The tracks were produced primarily with modular and analogue synthesizers and guitars in the South-London home studio of Jung Kim, the lead guitarist of the band Gang of Youths and Stephen Sedgwick, the trusted mixer/sound engineer of the Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Blur mixed the record.
'The Eye Against The Ashen Sky' tracklist:
1. Eye In The Sky
2. Desiring Machines
4. Child of Rage