Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Within 2020’s admittedly shaky music and arts scene, Kattimoni occupies a unique space. Blurring and bumping across genres and moods, this self-described “juicy soul queen” is offering up exactly the sort of vibes Melbourne’s music-lovers so desperately crave right now. With her new album Rise Up Radiate, Kattimoni generously pours out libations of candour, self-empowerment, and expression. As she watches with a knowing glee, Kattimoni’s followers cannot help but be sloshed in the rich nectars of truth and wonder.
Rise Up Radiate opens, appropriately, with a bold declaration of allegiance to a New Vibe, that privileges the unapologetic ambition that lies at the crux of Kattimoni’s quest towards feminine empowerment. A catchy electric guitar melody playfully dances amongst a chorus like a child in gently crashing waves, at once acknowledging rhythmic structure while also embracing the sort of liberation typified in regular forays into vocal theatrics; “ain’t holdin’ back,” indeed. However, on Go Around Come Around, Kattimoni expertly eases into a more funk-based sound, allowing her to showcase more of her stellar vocals and a highly capable horns section, reminiscent of Parliament and the Fort Knox Five. Here, Kattimoni confidently treads the boundaries of genre, as she deftly slides between spoken word poetry, reggae, funk and soul. Meanwhile, I Can enables Kattimoni to showcase her power-house vocals, excelling with sensual strains that are characterised as much by juicy jazz flare as they are liberated lyricism. Frankly, Rise Up Radiate drips like honey, and Kattimoni's tracks are crisp, golden, and ohh soo smooth.
Kattimoni’s journey of self-love then progresses through to the fast-paced Proper Good Love, which marks an energetic renaissance of rhythm, that suitably slows to the sultry reggae of Hot Desert Sun. As more and more ingredients of optimism are tossed into this brew of silky-smooth vocals and exuberant horns, Hot Desert Sun peers through this kaleidoscope of classification to find unity in diversity. Written in the crimson Kimberley region, this track celebrates the medicine of Mother Earth, and a surrender to our universal oneness; like broken shards born of the same pottery, we, like Kattimoni’s approach to genre, are all united under the Sun’s scorching rays.
Equally, Lazy Groove’s defiant percussion-work and soaring vocals celebrate the notion of presence, and music as a sensory experience. This track’s significance was also supplemented by a live online listening party, where Kattimoni explored music’s capacity to heal, as a tool for implementing rather timely change. This track is my personal favourite off of the album, and Kattimoni’s breathtaking vocals and thoughtful lyrics offer a unique insight into self-expression and the human condition.
The heavy percussion and funky electric guitar-work of Keep On form an unapologetically ostentatious bop, aided by subtle elements of 90s dance, in the vein of SNAP! and Corona. As is characteristic of Rise Up Radiate, this is a track that, with meaningful lyricism and expert arrangement, is able to twist any sense of scorn or disillusionment into feelings of hope, empowerment and aspiration.
In many ways, this track is emblematic of Kattimoni’s broader mission, illuminating life's perils and peccadillos in a gentle amber glow-- this record is simultaneously bold and gentle, wild yet cosmopolitan, and plays out as undaunted while controlled. There is an identity of collective unity to be found in Kattimoni’s music that, as she so eloquently explains, is as much universal as personal. And on these journeys we undertake, strange quests though they may be, Kattimoni is there with us the whole time with bop after bop. As we plumb the very depths of our self and soul, her music offers itself up as embodied affirmations, empowering us with that technicolor spark necessary to lead us through hardship and out the other side, emerging like a phoenix, swirling amongst the golden plumes of self-love and discovery to truly rise up and radiate.
Kattimoni’s Rise Up Radiate is out now, and is available to stream on BandCamp, iTunes and Spotify!