Zola Jesus – Exhumed
Zola Jesus announces her new album Okovi set for release Sept 8th via Sacred Bones Records, and shares the first single ‘Exhumed’. Zola Jesus is set to play a London show on Nov 7th at Village Underground with more European dates to be announced soon.
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?
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.
Nika Roza 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.
Fittingly, the 11 electronics-driven songs on Okovi share musical DNA with her early work on Sacred Bones. The music on this record was written in pure catharsis, and as a result, the sonics are heavier, darker, and more 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 the textural universe of these songs.
With Okovi, Zola Jesus has crafted a profound meditation on loss and reconciliation that stands tall alongside the great 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.
4. Ash to Bone
11. Half Life