Clarissa Connelly, An Embroidery

Rebecca Varidel
14th Feb 2024

Scottish-born, Copenhagen-based producer, composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Clarissa Connelly has announced her debut album on Warp Records World of Work to be released on 12 April 2024. With this announcement, she shares a new single from the album An Embroidery with a brilliantly playful music video.

An Embroidery is an image of growth, building one sonic element at a time to reach a great cacophony. Within this cacophony, Connelly brings together incongruous sounds of clanging church bells with heavy distorted bass guitars, a patchwork quilt of her evolving sound. The single is perfectly exemplary of Connelly’s penchant for bringing together the ancient with the modern.

"An Embroidery was one of the first songs I wrote for World of Work. It truly is about gathering all the threads and making an embroidery; making an album" Clarissa Connelly says on the new release.

This sentiment returns in the mysterious music video, in which Clarissa hurries through a dark stone tower, where reality shapeshifts into a Looney Tune-esque world. The piano keys morphing into a sleazy, toothy cartoon grin, its tongue snapping at the lid. If Wee Rosebud, the delicate lament and first release on Warp, displayed the wild extent of Clarissa’s impressive vocal aptitude in solitude, 'An Embroidery' exhibits the full force of her and her band.

It's our first time exploring her work from Sydney. And World of Work comes together as a dream-like synthesis of Nordic folk song, Celtic myth, medieval grimoires, modern pop music, as well as experimental composition and studio practices. It explores the sacred and the profane with the guidance of 20th-century French philosopher Georges Bataille. Join us and listen in too.

The influences for this album span centuries: French philosophers, 12th-century letters, visions from Catholic Saints, and William Blake’s poetry. Each reference hinging on the inclusion of ecstasy in our daily lives. The title itself is plucked from, L'érotisme, "Man has come to know the exterior world [of work], but he remains ignorant of his own nature. [Yet] if he had not first awoken to awareness through work, he would know nothing at all." Connelly notes the two main ‘characters’ of the album are Work and Desire, where Work reflects the profane, the quotidien, mundanity, and Desire exists as exaltation, the body pushed to physical limits, art, ecstasy. The two exist simultaneously, giving us the human experience. Clarissa equates the idea of a “world of work” with succumbing to the brute force of the world in the face of trauma, rather than seeking empowerment. Her own World of Work actively revitalizes us from within.

Born in Scotland, Clarissa Connelly relocated as a child to Denmark, where the cultural landscape has fuelled her creativity, through exploring the sacred sites, mythology, and music of Nordic culture. She first gained international attention with Tech Duinn (2018), a hypnotic album named after a spiritual gateway in Celtic myth. For her most recent album, The Voyager (2021), Clarissa physically walked the Scandinavian landscape, channelling melodies from ancient pre-Christian sites. To allow others to join virtually, Connelly developed an app called Vandringen that responds sonically to these sites. The album received global acclaim and was awarded the prestigious Nordic Music Prize which is a testament to her studious dedication to composition as a master's student at the prestigious Rhythmic Music Conservatory (CPH).

Other impressive accolades include opening for Jenny Hval across the UK & EU last year as well as taking part in Laurie Anderson’s choir. It’s also worth noting her recent premiere of Canons at Roskilde Festival, a choir piece that included Erika de Casier, Astrid Sonne, Henriette Motzfeldt (Smerz) and others. Stay tuned for more music from Clarissa Connelly.

Photo credit Amy Gwatkin