Zola Jesus returns to an abandoned memory on Okovi

OkoviThe latest album release from Zola Jesus swells and sways in the apocalyptic glow of catharsis. The album, Okovi, moves with seamless instrumentation and haunting vocal melodies that echo long after the music ends. Before recording this album, Nika Roza Danilova moved back to the woods where she grew up in Wisconsin and built a house just steps away from her dilapidated childhood tree fort which is slowly recombining into earth. Laden with heavy, dark and exploratory sonic textures, the 11 electronic-driven songs that sprawl the album create an empowering portrayal of death, written in unfiltered conviction.

Danilova has been recording music as Zola Jesus for more than a decade. For the majority of that time, she’s been on Sacred Bones Records, and Okovi marks her reunion with the label. The album soaks into dark depths and seems to ease into the spaces in between the vibrations of consciousness. 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 the textural universe of these songs. The rich layering behind each melody melts into the next.

The theme of catharsis is incredibly prevalent and evident throughout each song. The opening track takes listeners on a shimmering ride through space and time, wound together with a dark angelic chorus of harmony. Song after song, the shadowy and dusky melody winds into each rhythm, chord, lyric and electronic quality. It's menacing and unforgiving while remaining confident and enchanting. At times, the melody even takes a turn into a tribal landscape. Album standout "Exhumed" takes that steady, almost existential drum beat and spreads it over an open flame. The beat is inviting and intoxicating through the peaks and troughs of Daniolva's voice.

The hypnotic qualities of Okovi are infectious. Those who have visited the Midwest of the United States will be surprised with the completely opposite landscape that the album creates. Those who have not, picture wide open roads, with miles of farm land and forest. Then take the first exit onto a dusty unmarked dirt road. Somewhere at the steps of an enchanted forest lies Zola Jesus. While the childhood memories that inspired the album are slowly reclaimed, this new collection of sounds takes root in the fertile soil.

Release: 8th September 2017, Sacred Bones Records

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