First Listen

First Listen: Zola Jesus, 'Conatus'

fromKEXP

Zola Jesus' new album, Conatus, comes out Oct. 4. i i

hide captionZola Jesus' new album, Conatus, comes out Oct. 4.

Angel Ceballos
Zola Jesus' new album, Conatus, comes out Oct. 4.

Zola Jesus' new album, Conatus, comes out Oct. 4.

Angel Ceballos

Conatus finds Nika Danilova, a.k.a. Zola Jesus, pushing the boundaries of her previous work to create an album filled with hauntingly beautiful songs. It also shows her taking a giant leap forward in production, with big arrangements in songs both fierce and fragile — and, for the first time, live string instruments.

As before, Danilova's operatic vocals remain front and center. Her classically trained voice is commanding, rich and silky. Each song overflows with emotion: dark and moody, yet buoyant. As dark as they may seem, the songs have the capacity to induce comfort, even jubilation.

Perhaps that's a product of the raw beauty and passion encapsulated in each track. "Vessels" starts and closes with a stuttering vocal effect; it ebbs and flows with surges of intoxicating intensity, riding above a bass-heavy drumbeat and reaching a crescendo of crashing sound by song's end. Violins add an eerie, otherworldly quality to "Hikikomori," while "Ixode" slowly builds in intensity, like a roller coaster climbing slowly, only to come barreling down the other side in an exhilarating rush. But every song on Conatus, out Oct. 4, shows this young artist carving out a fresh and formidable place for herself.

First Listen: Zola Jesus, 'Conatus'

Zola Jesus album cover

Swords

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Swords"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Avalanche

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Avalanche"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Vessel

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Vessel"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Hikikomori

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Hikikomori"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Ixode

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Ixode"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Seekir

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Seekir"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

In Your Nature

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "In Your Nature "
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake "
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Shivers

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Shivers"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Skin

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Skin"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

Collapse

  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Album: Conatus
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  • "Collapse"
  • Album: Conatus
  • Artist: Zola Jesus
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • Released: 2011
 

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First Listen