I’m fairly sure I started my last Art As Catharsis premiere by lauding those magnificent bastards down under, but let me tell you, they’ve done it again. We’re pleased to present the video premiere for one of their new signings, Jessica O’Donoghue, and her exceptional single “Rise Up”. Needless to say, since being introduced to her work, I’ve played her whole back catalogue, such is the allure of her post-baroque art pop style.
“Rise Up” is both beautiful and haunting. Combining lyricism from the traditional Greek song “Dance of Zalongo” with her own lyrics and incredibly rich, complex instrumentation, the track is both empowering and morbid. The original lyrics tell of the Souli women and their mass suicide in the face of the Ottoman empire, and O’Donoghue has woven passages of that song around her own haunting vocals. The tragedy of the song can be felt through the anthemic and varied vocal ranges, with the group of ladies who sang the chant channelling folky influences that play off well against the very modern synth and drum work embedded into the track. The stunning contrast when the synths drop away and you’re left with the chants is sure to give you chills.
The composition and production of the track are truly stunning, with new blood brought into realise Jessica’s vision to the fullest; the music video that accompanies the track certainly had a lot of focus paid to it as well. Fittingly for the music, it is dark and bleak, with exceptional dance performances and editing used to create a trippy and dark journey for the viewer. The tone and pacing fit the music perfectly, and I particularly loved the choreography of the three dancers.
“Rise Up” is the first single from O’Donoghue’s upcoming album which will of course be released on Art As Catharsis. On the record, Jessica had this to say:
‘This album is really about a woman’s journey,” begins O’Donoghue. “It goes from hopes, dreams and promises to dark times, challenges, sacrifices and doubting/questioning to acceptance, nurturing and healing, to celebrating and honouring the feminine story and experience.‘
Considering the powerful story behind the lyrics from this first single, I’m intrigued to find out more about how her genre-defying music will shape up around these powerful themes and what influences and stories she’ll bring to the table in future tracks. Needless to say, I’m going to be following her career with great interest from this point.
Time for the video! Check it out below and make sure to follow O’Donoghue on her socials further down the page.