Lucia Cadotsch returns with her newest musical guise, AKI

Berlin-based Swiss singer Lucia Cadotsch rose to prominence with her album Speak Low (2016), earning her the ECHO JAZZ Award for Singer of the Year. Since then, she has released two projects with Wanja Slavin as LIUN The Science Fiction Band and a second Speak Low album, and now she returns under the guise of AKI.

Their self-titled album AKI can be described in one word: haunting. The first track, I Won’t, does not tell a story but is clearly an outcry against draining relationships. She is joined on this song by BBC Jazz award-winning pianist and long-time collaborator Kit Downes. His technically demanding solos add depth and character to the track.

Bitter Long Lying Leisure builds upon I Won’t and addresses the struggles of losing loved ones. This track contains a particularly poignant section on unresolved conflicts and how they weigh down upon your soul:

“I am not the one to fight your war
Above the heavy clouds that wait for breaking
The bitter sand
The endless vast
And I fall to bits”

In addition to the members of AKI, Cadotsch is supported on Bitter Long Lying Leisure by legendary jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. He is also featured on the track Medusa’s Champagne. This song brings clarity to the aim of Cadotsch’s songwriting on this album. It is a celebration and expression of the perspectives of female icons. She selects Medusa, who is typically associated with terror, and attributes this fear to “an error in their brains”, reframing Medusa as a sensual figure instead.

The only cover on the album is Ballad of the Drowned Girl, a reinterpretation of Bertolt Brecht’s poem Drowned Girl, which was written as a tribute to the German activist Rosa Luxemburg. The vivid imagery and Cadotsch’s vocals chill you down to the bone. But the standout of this track is bassist Phil Donkin’s dissonant and disturbing performance, both in his solos and accompaniment.

An accomplished jazz bassist and Guildhall graduate, Donkin lends his talents as a songwriter on the album’s final track, Naked and Numb. This song explores feelings of despair and confusion following desertion. True to the theme of AKI, there are no characters, just a frank and powerful expression of emotion, exemplified by the verse:

“I wait night and day
For your call
Obey or walk away
Waking naked and numb”

The only member that has yet to be mentioned so far is their drummer, London-based artist James Maddren. His talents shine through on No Apology, where he maintains a steady groove throughout the song while accommodating multiple rhythmic changes.

AKI tugs at your heartstrings from beginning to end, drawing you deeper with its mystery and intrigue. It demonstrates Cadotsch’s maturity as a songwriter and the supporting musicians’ talents.

Gavin Senaratne

Writer with a passion for arts, culture and music. Also quizzing enthusiast | unhealthily attached to debating.

Leave a Reply