Liz Aku Ankhor – out now. It’s the utmost honor for Sonar Kollektiv to be in the position to introduce “Ankhor”, the brand new album by Liz Aku. Having recorded all sorts of music with different outfits as well as solo projects over the last fifteen years the Belgian soul singer and highly gifted songwriter definitely earned her stripes and is anything but a newcomer to this game. She seems to have found her own, distinctive voice, after traveling to New Zealand and a far-reaching encounter with Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle.
With “Ankhor” (a combination of the Egyptian symbol for eternal life “Ankh” and “anchor”) Aku accomplished a masterpiece of Nu Soul, Jazz and Pop, which will make her join the upper league of the players on the scene. For this cause, several allies and befriended producers have helped her out. With Mara TK leading the way obviously, who co-produced three out of the album’s twelve songs. On “Breathing Underwater” and the sublime, for the whole album groove defining opening song “The Drum Major Instinct” the native New Zealander duets with Aku.
Further collaborators on “Ankhor” are for instance the Hip-hop rooted Canadian producer duo Potatohead People. Their 2015 track “Blue Charms” is purified by Liz Aku’s voice and becomes “Seasons Change”. Also built on a sample (“Waters” by Electric Wire Hustle) is the bass heavy and lasciviously lolling “Deceive The Mind”. The Rotterdam based beatsmith Maximoe is responsible for this co-production, as well as for the piano looping “Hunger”. For “Just What I Need”, one of the most sophisticated pieces of the album, Aku drummed up a whole band with the Belgian top drummer Lander Gyselinck, Jazz pianist Bram Weijters, bass player Juan Manssens and trumpet player Bart Maris. Bart Vincent and Serge Hertoge produced this song, as well as “Ashamed”. Both are two companions from Aku’s home country. Also at home in Belgium, in Ghent to be exact, is the female rapper Zulu Moon, who delivers on the title song “Ankhor” an outstanding rap that blends perfectly with Liz’s spoken word performance in the vein of Ursula Rucker or Me’Shell NdegéOcello.
The Brussel based producer Morshmellow adopts a quieter tone for this track and creates together with his two compatriots a mood which is present all over the whole album: A positive confidence, a brave outlook in times of unrest, an assertive statement to believe in oneself and of course lots of feeling, or more precisely, soul. And if soul music 2017 has to sound like something, then it should sound exactly like this. Thanks, Liz Aku.