One of my top picks for 2023, Oropendola is the project of New York City-based musician, Joanna Schubert, who has previously performed with the likes of Half Waif and Barrie. This Friday, Joanna will team up with Spirit House Records and Wilbur & Moore Records to release the debut Oropendola album, Waiting For The Sky To Speak. Ahead of that release today she is premiering the latest single from the record, Rorschach Sky.
A song of surrealism and serenity, Joanna recalls the track’s origins, “I paused Twin Peaks to watch the kitchen clock. It was moving backwards. A slow, disorienting, luxuriously surreal countdown. April 7th, 2020, which I only knew because I grabbed my phone to type a bunch of exclamation points in my notepad”. The resultant track seeks to reflect on the missed opportunity of spending your life waiting for something when life is happening all around you, as Joanna puts it, “if you’re waiting for some kind of answer from the sky, you’re not seeing the beauty and the motion in every passing moment”.
The musical setting for the track is as playful as its origin story, a world of stop-start percussion, exuberant rhythmic vocal deliveries and layered flourishes of woodwind, keyboard and seemingly pretty much anything Joanna (with co-producer Zubin Hensler) could find to throw into her technicolour melting pot of ideas. As with so much of Oropendola’s music, Rorschach Sky seems to play out on the borders of art and pop, skipping off into the Dadaist avant-garde, before slipping instantly back into an accessible pop-hook, as showcased by the exuberant outro, as Joanna repeatedly sings, “are we finally off the hook, tell me are we off the hook”.
As you await the fabulous full album arriving this Friday, check out Rorschach Sky, and the pleasingly dancing pigeon-heavy video below.
Waiting For The Sky To Speak is out March 17th via Spirit House Records and Wilbur & Moore Records. For more information on Oropendola visit https://www.joannaschubert.com/