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VERSIONS

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 July 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Republic of Music
  • ASIN: B00DI29OHC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,682 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

On the heels of her "Conatus" world tour, Nika Roza Danilova was offered an opportunity to perform at one of the most prestigious modern art museums in the world, NY's Guggenheim. Rather than doing her standard Zola Jesus electronic set she decided she wanted to work with a classical composer who could arrange her songs for a quartet. She recruited legendary industrial pioneer JG Thirlwell (Foetus) to do the arrangements. Since his work as Foetus in the early 80's New York no-wave scene, JG has been scoring and composing symphonic arrangements for his own project Manoerxia, in addition to currently scoring Adult Swim's Venture Brothers series. If there is a common thread to Thirlwell's varied musical styles, it is dramatic intensity and evocative, cinematic quality. Thirlwell's oeuvre runs the gamut from orchestrations, big band, and cathartic noise-rock to abstract electronics, sound sculpture, and chamber music, thus making him the perfect collaborator to help realize Danilova's vision. Danilova explains her intentions with this album, 'Versions is about the bone of the music; taking approximations from past records and turning them inside out. With all framework exposed, the songs are given a new medium in which to evolve and bloom into their own tiny worlds.' The show went over amazingly well with the Village Voice proclaiming that Zola Jesus 'conquered the Guggenheim' and eMusic writing, 'Nika Roza Danilova's performance was not confined by the normal genres and subgenres we affix to music, it was truly art.' Removing the bulk of electronics from these songs gives them the space to breath, thusly opening them up to be received by a much wider audience who perhaps don't normally venture into the techno-pop/ industrial arena. Look for select Zola Jesus dates this fall with JG and quartet in Berlin, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Seattle, New York and Paris, including a stop at Asheville's Mountain Oasis Festival.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Jan. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Vinyl
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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