Posts Tagged ‘Merrill’

For over a decade, Nika Roza Danilova has been recording music as Zola Jesus. She’s been on Sacred Bones Records for most of that time, and “Okovi” marks her reunion with the label.

Fittingly, the 11 electronics-driven songs on Okovi share musical DNA with her early work on Sacred Bones. The music was written in pure catharsis, and as a result, the sonics are heavy, dark, and exploratory. In addition to the contributions of Danilova’s longtime live bandmate Alex DeGroot, producer/musician Wife, cellist/noise-maker Shannon Kennedy from Pedestrian Deposit, and percussionist Ted Byrnes all helped build Okovi’s textural universe.

With Okovi, Zola Jesus has crafted a profound meditation on loss and reconciliation that stands tall alongside the major works of its genre. The album speaks of tragedy with great wisdom and clarity. Its songs plumb dark depths, but they reflect light as well. Nika Roza says Last year, I moved back to the woods in Wisconsin where I was raised. I built a little house just steps away from where my dilapidated childhood tree fort is slowly recombining into earth.  Okovi was fed by this return to roots and several very personal traumas.

While writing Okovi, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to. Meanwhile, I was fighting through a haze so thick I wasn’t sure I’d find my way to the other side. Death, in all of its masks, has been encircling everyone I love, and with it the questions of legacy, worth, and will. Okovi is a Slavic word for shackles. We’re all shackled to something—to life, to death, to bodies, to minds, to illness, to people, to birthright, to duty. Each of us born with a unique debt, and we have until we die to pay it back.  Without this cost, what gives us the right to live? And moreover, what gives us the right to die? Are we really even free to choose?

http://

This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature. To bring it to life, I decided to enlist the help of Alex DeGroot, who has been the only constant in my live band and helped mix the Stridulum EP back in 2010. It will be released on Sacred Bones, the closest group of people I’ll ever have to blood-bound family. Zola Jesus signed to Sacred Bones in 2008. In the seven years that followed, we released eight albums together (three LPstwo EPs, two 7”s, a CD-R, and even a DVD). We discovered her via Myspace, which was the common A&R vehicle of the early- to mid-Aughts. Nika is the sole member of Zola Jesus.

Originally released September 8th, 2017

Zola Jesus signed to Sacred Bones Reords in 2008. In the seven years that followed, She has released eight albums together (three LPstwo EPs, two 7”s, a CD-R, and even a DVD).  Discovered by her via Myspace, which was the common A&R vehicle of the early- to mid-Aughts. Nika is the sole member of Zola Jesus.

Sacred Bones is proud to present “The Spoils” from Zola Jesus. Hailing from the unsuspecting locale of Madison, WI, Zola Jesus—the alter ego of Nika Roza Danilova—occupy a sphere of sparse industrial rhythms, no-fi drones, and ethereal femme vocals. Those who have seen her handful of live shows, heard her WFMU set, or caught any of the acclaimed, sought after, and now mostly out of print releases on Die Stasi or Troubleman Unlimited already know. For those uninitiated The Spoils may be the most fully realized representation of her sound. Zola Jesus have two previous releases on Sared Bones, the Souer Sewer single and a limited CD of a live performance from WNYU. The CD contains the entire “Soeur Sewer” 7-inch as well as the three songs from the Die Stasi single.
Released June 21, 2009

Zola Jesus signed to Sacred Bones in 2008. In the seven years that followed, she has released eight albums together (three LPstwo EPs, two 7”s, a CD-R, and even a DVD).  Zola Jesus’ Okovi: Additions LP offers a new angle on her 2017 album, Okovi. The collection pairs four previously unreleased songs from the Okovi sessions with four remixes by a diverse cast of artists.

Johnny Jewel turns “Ash to Bone” into a late-night cinematic torch song, Tri Angle composer Katie Gately’s “Siphon” is a dark choir of warping angels, black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room turn “Exhumed” makes the pounding industrial anthem even denser and heavier, and Toronto producer Joanne Pollock (formerly one half of Poemss with Venetian Snares’ Aaron Funk) makes “Soak” feel like an aching classical standard— until it starts warping in on itself and goes somewhere else entirely.

“The songs on Additions traverse a vast amount of sonic ground, but taken together, they cohere remarkably well as an album, all while serving to enrich the experience of Okovi.”

“These four new songs were intended to be on Okovi,” Nika Roza Danilova explains. “Each of them represents a snapshot of my journey in making the record, and are just as precious to me as the songs that made it onto the final track listing. The remixes are beloved in their own way, as most were born from organic circumstances, and have drawn the original songs into completely new atmospheres.”

Released April 6th, 2018

http://

Zola Jesus’ Okovi was forged from a depressive episode, the kind that forces you to reckon with your small place in this great, big universe and wonder whether or not your presence in it is needed. On the towering single “Siphon” Nika Roza Danilova wills a friend lost to suicide back to life, while “Remains” untangles the moments after someone dies over a skittering backbeat. That beat is impossibly heavy, as is all of the production on Okovi, and Danilova’s voice barrels forth with an unparalleled strength that dominates your brainspace and makes it near-impossible to do anything other than listen.

Zola Jesus signed to Sacred Bones in 2008. In the seven years that followed, we released eight albums together (three LPstwo EPs, two 7”s, a CD-R, and even a DVD). We discovered her via Myspace, which was the common A&R vehicle of the early- to mid-Aughts. Nika is the sole member of Zola Jesus. 

From ‘Okovi,’ out now on Sacred Bones Records.