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Just when I thought I knew and loved everything I needed to know
about Zola Jesus, High Priestess Of Shadows, along comes this
collaboration with J G Thirwell and The Mivos Quartet. 'Versions'
presents us with some revealing and exciting new transcriptions
of Nika Roza Danilova's past sonic inventions and what it shows us
beyond all else is what a remarkably good voice she has when stripped
of the stark electronic bombast and vocal distortions to which we have
become accustomed in the dark territories which are her usual domain.

Jump straight to the new take on 'Night' from the 2010 album 'Stridulum II'
for an uplifting glimpse of just how soulful Ms Danilova can be when she
is released from the constraints of her basic-black Gothic script. So
too with the glorious re-imagining of 'Avalanche' from 2011's 'Conatus'!
Out with the quasi-Siouxsie Sioux antics - in with a heartfelt performance of
great warmth and clarity framed by a wonderfully luminous string arrangement.

Elsewhere, 'Hikikomori' springs light-footed and fancy free into bright new
life and the simply beautiful final track 'Collapse' proves beyond doubt that
Ms Danilova is both a writer and singer of idiosyncratically remarkable caliber.

If you have the earlier recordings don't let that stop you hearing these too.

Highly Recommended.
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on 10 October 2013
If, like me, you have all of the previous albums then you may initially be disappointed to see that this is not new material but listen and hear a beautiful reinterpretation of great songs.
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on 18 March 2014
Zola Jesus is the stage name of Nika Roza Danilova, who has released in quick succession a number of albums, the most recent before this one being 2011's "Conatus". Now comes this reimagination of her earlier work

"Versions" (10 tracks; 41 min. ) was recorded at the tail end of her tour in support of "Conatus". The Guggenheim Museum in New York approached her to perform, and Danilova chose to radically reinvent the arrangements of her catalog by bringing in the Mivos Quartet. The result is this album, which stands in contrast to her earlier albums, not only because the outright classical nature of the album, but also as it spotlights Danilova's voice and lyrics more than ever before, check out the opener "Avalanche (Slow)", one of six tracks on here which first appeared on "Conatus". It is followed by "Fall Back", a brand new song, in which she croons "In the dark/I feel you around me/In this clouded mess/You surround me", wow. The only track that ventures out from the strict "chamber music" format is the album's closer "Vessel", which rocks more or less. In all this is quite the album. To be clear: if you don't like classical (chamber) music, do yourself a favor and stay away from this. I found this album to be quite the eye-opener, and heard Zola Jesus in a way I had never heard her before.

I had the good fortune of seeing Zola Jesus in concert here in Cincinnati in early 2012 when she was touring in support of "Conatus", and what an incredible show that was. Backed by a keyboard player, an electronic viola player and a percussionist, Danilova put on a fabulous show, being a woman possessed it seemed. Great, great show. Meanwhile, for something very different yet equally intriguing, I readily recommend "Versions" to you.
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First impressions - she has one of those Factor type vocal deliveries based on an expression of non emotion whilst appearing to be soulful - a type of modern malaise - it is a bland pastiche of soul and lacks the spittle, cackle and whirl of a Diamanda, Lydia, Jarboe or Siouxsie.

Jim Foetus plays a backing role with the music playing the conductor to the strings as Zola Jesus intones on top. I found it all non stimulating. I will play it again to see if any magic appears, but.....
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on 28 September 2014
You might think an album with no new material would be disappointing but these reinterpretations of existing Zola Jesus songs really are stunning. I'm a fan of the experimental electronica and dark wonder she has become known for but hearing crystal clear vocals over gorgeous strings is a joy and gives new beauty to the songs.

Whether a fan of previous work or new to this artist, I'd say Versions is well worth your time; this classical/pop infusion may well be my favourite album from Zola Jesus yet and I hope to see more of this side of her talent in the future.
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on 9 May 2014
I think this is thebest work so far by Zola Jesus,,, and I've already loved the twoprevious albums,but this one...hum!!
Definitely a must have!
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on 20 July 2015
Listening to this album at the moment. Good vocals and overall very enjoyable. I think its much better than Spoils.
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on 6 July 2015
Great " versions" and bonus track
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on 31 October 2014
Needless to say Nika delivers another masterpiece. However ensure you get the 2 disc limited version featuring the live performance on DVD as this perfectly compliments the audio.
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