EP 'In Waves' (release: 11.03.22)
The EP 'In Waves' deals with the topics grief & death. Each song stands for a stage of grief according to the model by Swiss psychologist Verena Kast. AYU likes to call them waves. She wrote the songs years ago when after a tremendous loss she was going trough her own grieving process. With the release of the songs now her attempt is to help breaking existing taboos concerning talking about grief & death. She offers a deep insight into what each stage of grief felt like for her. Also she wants to point out that grief is non-linear and that there is no right or wrong when it comes to it.
Listen to the EP here
Track By Track
1) Counting' (Wave I) (release: 07.01.22) ISRC: DEZC62144435
‚Counting‘ marks the first stage of grief - the one where you don't want to face up to death and the loss. The news about the death of someone lead to a shock: You deny the loss and you cannot realize it. The physical reactions can show all symptoms of a shock (rapid pulse, sweating, sickness, restlessness). 'Counting' stands for this state and also goes a little more back in time: For AYU that stage already began with the news that a loved one will definitely die now and that death is unstoppable at this point. While AYU understood that the person is dying she simultaneously was in complete shock and desperately wanted to fallout of time, just to outwit death. All she wanted in that moment was that the person stays alive with her because she could not imagine a life without this person. Because this person always had been in her life.
2) 'Stone' (Wave II) (release: 28.01.22) ISRC: DEZC62144448
'Stone' stands for the second stage of grief according to Verena Kast. It’s the point where u have understood that ur loved one is gone 4ever & this can plunge u into a chaos of powerful emotions like anger or guilt. AYU says about it: 'In my grieving process I had so much anger in me. I was angry at life for taking a loved one away from me way too early. I was angry with myself because I felt guilty somehow for not being able to protect this person. I was angry with the person because I felt left alone. I was angry at how the sun was still shining day by day. I was angry at time passing too fast & also too slow. I wanted time to jump back & freeze 4ever. And also to jump years forward because I hoped that maybe the heartache would be a little less. But also I wanted time not to move on because I was scared of the person fading away completely. I was overwhelmed by all the rituals in our society, before, while and after the funeral. The gravestone was the last step in this cycle of funeral rituals - each of those steps would make death more real and create a bigger distance between the person & me, I hated that. Society expectations were just too much & too fast for me. I remember starring at all the gravestones on the graveyard & thinking about how they can never ever represent the spirit & the life of anybody. And I wondered how other people felt about that. I just didn’t feel any connection to a stone & no connection between a stone & that person.'
3) 'Signs' (Wave III) (release: 18.02.22) ISRC: DEZC62144503
‚Signs‘ aka the third stage of grief by Verena Kast is characterized by searching & separating. You know that you are in this stage when you find yourself searching - for cherished rituals that you practised with the deceased, places you visited with them or habits of the deceased that you can take on. That gives you the opportunity to feel close to the deceased once again. You may als have the opportunity to engage in an inner dialogue with them to address things that were left unresolved during their lifetime. This can be very comforting, but at he same time extremely painful, because you will become even more aware that your loved one has left you. AYU says about 'Signs': 'It is a peaceful but also painful inner dialogue with my loved one - kind of a mixture between reality and a dream because of its surreal feeling. I visited places we both loved, and also tried to connect to the ‚Stone‘, was searching for signs from the universe and just hoped that the person was communicating with me somehow. At the same time I slowly started to let her go, because whenever I really needed an advice from her I just imagined what she would say or asked other people what they thought, what she would say and I started to realize that if I just listened closely I already knew the answers. ‚Still I feel you holding my hand / still I feel you my 4-ever friend‘. Even if I will miss her deeply until 4-ever: death ends a life, not a relationship.
4) 'In Waves' (Wave IV) (release: 11.03.22) ISRC: DEZC62250806
The forth stage of grief is expressed through ‚In Waves‘: the phase of a new reference to the self & the world. You start to recognize slowly that life goes on and that you are fully responsible for how you react to it & making your way through it. Even though the whole process of grief left some marks and your attitude towards life changed remarkably, you face the future. The decedent will 4ever be a part of this life and lives on through memories and thoughts about them. In 'In Waves' AYU understands that even though she went through the grieving process, grief will not just be gone now. She accepts that it can come back anytime - in waves. But she is ready to take those waves - and also not to only be in the dark grieving zone and be scared of those waves, but also to embrace and celebrate and live her life to the fullest.
AYU does her own thing. The Swiss songstress & producer delivers a mixture of contemporary Pop, future-thinking Electronics, catchy RnB tunes and sweet Indie. Her so-called Trip Pop is a deep push-pull dialogue in which heart-stoppingly honest lyrics meet rhythmic x dreamy vocals, and futuristic beats are combined with swirling guitar patterns. At the centre of her playful genre clash, the singers warm and soulful voice attracts everyone who listens to her right away. Her music was already compared to Massive Attack, MS MR, FKA twigs or Portishead.
In 2016 AYU participated as a „New Talent“ at Pop-Kultur Berlin and played some first live shows in Germany and Switzerland. In the summer of 2018 she released her debut single ‘Kings & Queens’, which made it into the Spotify Viral Charts and which is played on various radio stations in Switzerland and Germany - high rotations including. Moreover she played her first festival season in Germany, Switzerland & Italy, striking with her band and signature ayuanic dance moves at e.g. Gurtenfestival Bern (w/ Gorillaz, MØ, alt-J or Sofi Tukker) or Moon&Stars Locarno (w/ Rita Ora or Emeli Sandé) or L-Beach Festival, where after her gig on the newcomer stage she could jump in on the main stage for Joan As Police Woman, whose flight had been cancelled. Furthermore she was chosen as one of six upcoming German + Danish talents to be part of the c/o pop Festival x Spot Festival 'Aarhus Sessions' in Köln. In autumn 2018 she played support shows in Germany for Poliça x Stargaze or Eleanor Friedberger. At the beginning of 2019 AYU released her second single 'Another Mess, I' and in spring her 3rd single 'Throw Roses'. Both tracks went on air in Switzerland, Germany and Norway and were featured by international blogs. In 2019 AYU is playing a few chosen support shows e.g. as opening act for VÖK and festivals like Reeperbahn Festival. In March 2020 AYU released her debut EP 'I Changed My Mind' for which she was named 'Best Talent' by the Swiss radio station SRF 3. Since then AYU has been working on new music which she will be releasing in 2022. On January 7 her single 'Counting' will be out on all digital platforms.
«Ok, if this girl will do the right moves, she can reach the top...Although 'Another Mess, I' reminds me of different things (Banks, MS MR) she manages to be quite unique and create her own musical character. But this is not only about the voice. The compositions reveals all things that I like in a good song regarding this genre: dark yet seductive, beautiful melody but also strong trip hop rhythm, urban style but also with distinctive electronic touches. ALL in all this is what a music digger like me wants at the end of the day: a hidden gem that awaits to be discovered by the rest of the 'common people'.»
– Dazed By Sounds
«Here’s the very first 24 karat gold hit of 2019.
I’m not drunk and I’m not joking. ‘Another Mess, I‘ has all the right sonic ingredients. It’s soulfully trippy, emotionally atmospheric and charmingly poppy with a mid-tempo groove that reminds me of the introspective side of some of Massive Attack‘s dreamy soundscapes. This is a gorgeously arranged and tenderly composed mixed emotions musing with Ayu‘s characterful and heart-whole vox in the middle. I repeat: this is a hit, this is a winner.»
– Turn Up The Volume!
«Die paar Songs, die AYU bis jetzt digital und live präsentiert hat, sind cool, sind eine Wucht: Da ist moderner, emotionaler und komplexer Pop. Da ist diese Stimme: hitzig und doch entspannt, sanft und kraftvoll, vollmundig. Ein bisschen Pamela Méndez, ein bisschen Lana Del Rey. [...] sich den Namen mit wasserfestem Stift hinter die Ohren schreiben: A-Y-U.» – Berner Zeitung
«Swiss frontwoman brings the same brooding energy as Portishead to her latest lo-fi groove» – Mystic Sons
«AYU's vocals & arrangements make our skin virtually drip with anticipation. A feeling of empathy & understanding is embedded deep within her lyrics, and the honesty pours out, because of it. AYU is here and you should be listening to her» – Comeherefloyd
«Von ihr wird man noch hören. Mark my words.» – 20 Minuten
«Völlig befreit von Klischees und Konventionen macht AYU ihr eigenes Ding. Ein perfektes wie einfühlsames Arrangement von Gesang, Text, Melodie und Komposition verschmelzen somit zu einen modernen und überzeugenden Song. Da darf gerne schnell die nächste Single folgen, damit so viel Potential nicht lange brachliegen muss. Stay tuned!» – Soundkartell
“AYU zeigt sehr gut, wie schön Popmusik doch sein kann. Mit ihrer ausdrucksstarken und mal träumerischen Stimme erinnert sie mich an einigen Stellen an MS MR [...], aber immer mit ihrem eigenen Touch. Mir fällt dafür einfach immer wieder dieses Wort ein: zauberhaft! [... ] Ohrwurm garantiert!” – Schumyswelt
««Snowblind» wird umschlungen von einem minimalistischen Schleier an düsteren Bässen und Trommelschlägen, während sich «Astrophobia» ein bisschen mehr an die zeitgenössische Popästhetik von FKA Twigs und co. wagt.» – Orange Peel
«[...] lushly administered rays of hazy synth and icy cool electronic soul [...]» – Monolith Cocktail