Sacred Bones Records
In the last three years Nika Roza Danilova has gone from being an outsider experimental teenage noise-maker to a full fledged internationally celebrated electronic pop musician. It was a huge feat to accomplish, and despite her age (young), her geography (mid-western, desolate), her accelerated scholastic requirements (high school and college were completed in three years each) and her diminutive physical size (4”11, 90 lbs) she has triumphed. She has emerged as a figurehead-- a self-produced, self-designed, self-taught independent woman. Read More...
In the last three years Nika Roza Danilova has gone from being an outsider experimental teenage noise-maker to a full fledged internationally celebrated electronic pop musician. It was a huge feat to accomplish, and despite her age (young), her geography (mid-western, desolate), her accelerated scholastic requirements (high school and college were completed in three years each) and her diminutive physical size (4”11, 90 lbs) she has triumphed. She has emerged as a figurehead—a self-produced, self-designed, self-taught independent woman.
Zola Jesus is not a singer; she is a musician. Zola Jesus is not a band; it is a solo project. That is not to say the people who have helped her along the way were not deeply important. Her irreplaceable live band, who’s drummer Nick Johnson lends a hand on several tracks here, and her friend Brian Foote who co-produced this album in addition to the live string players (Sean McCann, Ryan York) who contribute here were all crucial in the process. Nika however, is a woman who can command a room, any room, without needing a band, a stage, or even a microphone. Her voice is unmistakable; it cuts right to the core.
Conatus is a huge leap forward in production, instrumentation and song structure. It says it all in the definition of the title: the will to keep on, to move forward. From thumping ballads to electronic glitch, no sound goes unexplored on her new record. It is an icy exploration in refined chaos and controlled madness, an effort to break through capability and access a sonic world that crumbles as it shines.
On the heels of her Conatus world tour, Nika Roza Danilova was offered an opportunity to perform at one of the most prestigious modern art museums in the world, NY’s Guggenheim. Rather than doing her standard Zola Jesus electronic set she decided she wanted to work with a classical composer who could arrange her songs for a quartet. She recruited legendary industrial pioneer JG Thirlwell (Foetus) to do the arrangements. Since his work as Foetus in the early 80’s New York no-wave scene, JG has been scoring and composing symphonic arrangements for his own project Manoerxia, in addition to currently scoring Adult Swim’s Venture Brothers series. If there is a common thread to Thirlwell’s varied musical styles, it is dramatic intensity and evocative, cinematic quality. Thirlwell’s oeuvre runs the gamut from orchestrations, big band, and cathartic noise-rock to abstract electronics, sound sculpture, and chamber music, thus making him the perfect collaborator to help realize Danilova’s vision. Danilova explains her intentions with this album, “Versions is about the bone of the music; taking approximations from past records and turning them inside out. With all framework exposed, the songs are given a new medium in which to evolve and bloom into their own tiny worlds.”
The show went over amazingly well with the Village Voice proclaiming that Zola Jesus “conquered the Guggenheim” and eMusic writing, “Nika Roza Danilova’s performance was not confined by the normal genres and subgenres we affix to music, it was truly art.” Removing the bulk of electronics from these songs gives them the space to breathe, thusly opening them up to exist beyond the restrictions of previously imposed genres.
- Zola Jesus' "Fall Back" off Versions named Pitchfork's Best New Track
- Zola Jesus has two songs featured in the wide theatrical film trailers for the Matt Damon/Jodie Foster film Elysium
- Zola Jesus music in Teen Wolf, Gossip Girl + Grey's Anatomy
- Zola Jesus' Guggenheim performance on Pitchfork TV's +1 Series
- Zola Jesus performs live on Conan with EL-P
- Zola Jesus' "Conatus" debuts at #6 on the Electronic Billboard Album Charts
- Zola Jesus featured on the cover of The Fader Oct/Nov 2011 Issue
- Zola Jesus' "Vessel" video debuts on MTV's 120 Minutes
- Zola Jesus' music and fashion featured on Vogue
- Zola Jesus' "Stridulum" receives 8.1 review from Pitchfork