CHRISTINA MARIA IS RYKKA
Long before she was known as Rykka, the Vancouver-born singer-guitarist was a staple in clubs and cafés around the world, where she performed acoustic sets and honed a quirky folk sound.
But as she began to write her latest set of songs, her music took on a new form. The electric guitars became jagged and distorted, the synthesizers danceable, the vocals simultaneously tuneful and hollering. Bursting with hard-hitting rock arrangements and hook-laden pop melodies (interspersed with the occasional down-tempo number), this is music that carries a slap-you-across-the-face immediacy.
"For the last year, I've been writing in seclusion, really far away," she says of her exploratory creative burst. "The music has evolved so much from where it was."
The 12 songs that make up Rykka's debut album, Kodiak, were penned in the European farmhouse where she composed for much of 2011. Sessions subsequently took place in Vancouver's Mushroom Studios and District Four Recordings with input from engineer Sean Penner (You Say Party! We Say Die!), mixer Warne Livesey (Matthew Good Band, 54:40), and producer Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas).
"Ryan has a really strong vision," Rykka notes. "I wanted to work with him because I knew that we would clash. He fights for his idea and I fight for mine, and what we come away with is the right thing to do."
All of Kodiak's tracks are sung from the perspective of different animals — "Blackie" a murder of crows, "Down in the Depths" deep sea fish — but they carry unquestionably human themes and concerns. Listening to Rykka's cryptic yet relatable poetry, fans might never realize that the protagonists are not people.
With an album complete and various video projects underway, there's no mistaking this as the same artist who once recorded under her given name of Christina Maria. Now that's she discovered the hedonistic thrill of dance floor-friendly rock, she'll never go back.
Aus der Verborgenheit heraus nahm sie Gestalt an: Christina Maria wird zu Rykka. Zuvor lebte die in Vancouver geborene Schweizerin in Partnerschaft mit Akustikgitarre, heimisch in Clubs und Cafés auf vielen Orten dieser Welt, die sie mit ihrer spitzfindigen Folk-Musik beschallte.
Die Schreibfeder führte ihre Handschrift jedoch auf neue Wege und manifestierte zuletzt ein neues, progressives Alter Ego: Sie riss die Gitarre in Fetzen und erlaubte den Beitritt von zerklüfteten aber tanzbaren Synthesizern in den Kreis ihrer Musik. Ihre Stimme lässt sich gehen, tanzt gleichzietig schmetternd auf den Wogen der popgetränkten Rock-Arrangements, die sie lüstern in die Knie zwingt.
Mit dem Release des Debüts und weiteren ergeizigen Plänen ist die Metamorphose so gut wie vollzogen. Einmal hedonistisch Blut geleckt, wird Rykka ihre neue Gestalt nicht mehr wieder hergeben.