Intriguing new electro-industrial sounds and expert remixes collide on Zola Jesus‘ Okovi: Additions, which is set to be released on April 6th via Sacred Bones. The record is a set of previously unheard tracks that fit together to provide an “experiential interpretation” of her 2017 critically acclaimed album, Okovi.
“These four new songs were intended to be on Okovi“, Zola Jesus (aka 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.”
It’s clear from opening track ‘Vacant’ these “snapshots” are as diverse and sharp as the tracks which originally made the cut. ‘Vacant’ is laced with penetrating vocals that ring out across a demanding soundscape, and it bleeds perfectly in to the captivating ‘Bound’ – with its hypnotic, off-kilter, heavy bouncing synths and driving percussion. Her blend of industrial and classical elements makes both tracks sound like tortured but tentative hymns.
The flickering keys on ‘Pilot Light’ briefly shift away from industrial tones, but they’re still steeped in Zola Jesus’ confident delivery. ‘Bitten Wool’ flows in the same vein, with its consuming, haunting vocals. This marks the end of the “new” tracks, and the four remixes that follow are all intricate and altruistic to their collaborators.
Johnny Jewel’s remix of ‘Ash to Bone’ doesn’t deviate too far from the original, but his introduction of sharper beats and heavy underscoring synths resurrects Zola Jesus’ lyrical lamentations about disconnection. ‘Siphon’ is transformed by Katie Gately’s anthemic, vocal layering, and Randall Dunn & Aaron Weaver’s remix of ‘Exhumed’ is warped and wonderful.
Joanne Pollock’s subtle re-working of ‘Soak’ closes Okovi: Additions on a powerful, definitive note. As Zola Jesus promises in her lyrics: “you should know I would never let you down” – and her ability to collaborate and explore her sound with others has proved this. Whether you’re new to Zola Jesus, or an avid Okovi fan, these Additions will have you hooked.
Photo Credit: Laura June Kirsch