Born as Olivia Anna Schniztler, the German bass playing punk poet, who has spent time residing in New York, Poland, London, and the United Arab Emirates, writes, records and performs under the monikers of Olivia Anna Livki (Livki is childhood nickname for Olivia) and LiVKi. And under the monikers of Olivia Anna Livki and as LiVki, the German artist may quickly develop a reputation for not shying away from controversy and controversial thematic material in her work. In fact, as the press release for Schnitzler’s latest single “Dark Blonde Rises” notes, her current work as LiVKi explores the dark and twisted psyche of a serial killer – and she does so in a way that humanizes its narrator in a way that many may find extremely disturbing. In fact, the narrator of the song lives in a world in which she’s not even the hero of her own life and the only moments in which she feels as though she wields any power or influence is in her bloody, comic book and action movie styled fantasies.
Loosely inspired by the deranged and horrifying actions of the 2012 Aurora, CO movie theater shooting, the song reflects a particular zeitgeist which may be all too familiar – a generation of men and women who live deeply isolated, lonely lives fueled by megalomania, narcissism, and a disturbing lack of empathy. And in the song, the narrator’s violent fantasies become a terrifying reality when she sings, “Bullets on film crash through the big screen.” But interestingly enough, the song points a finger not just at the individual actor but at the society and zeitgeist that created her, suggesting that we’re all responsible for those who commit unspeakable acts.
Based on Schnitzler’s delivery, the throbbing bass line, insistently buzzing guitars and menacing industrial clinking and clanking, the song manages to have a hip-hop swagger and a dark seductiveness. And somehow, I can picture the song being part of movie soundtrack, in which the deranged killer at the heart of the movie, begins to slowly lose their grasp on reality. Thematically and sonically, the song is challenging in a way that’s incredibly rare in contemporary music.
This is a song that’s burrowed its way into my head and has left a visceral and lingering fucked up sensation that has made me reconsider several things about myself, and certainly that’s the sign of an exceptionally provocative artist.