September 2013 National Music Reviews

Reviews: Zola Jesus and JG Thirlwell featuring Milvox Quartet

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Zola Jesus and JG Thirlwell featuring Mivos Quartet
Versions
Sacred Bones
Street: 08.20
Zola Jesus = Austra x (Final Fantasy + Andrew Bird)
Versions is existing Zola Jesus material reimagined with string arrangements by No Wave icon JG Thirlwell. After performing with Thirlwell and a string quartet inside the iconic foyer of New York’s Guggenheim Museum last year, ZJ’s Nika Roza Danilov was interested in furthering the collaboration using her songs as buds of reinterpretation. If you’ve found yourself comforted (or disappointed) by the cold goth-operas of Conatus or Stridulum, Versions might just grip you tighter than ever before. Reimagining the formal sculpture of her electronic songs reveals tender flesh beneath generic artifice. Where one might find Danilova’s originals driven by anxiety, these tracks are reflective and linger around the subtleties of Danilova’s massive voice. Of these ten tracks we’ve heard nine before. “Fall Back” is the lone new composition, driven by dramatic teakettle strings and typical Zola fanfare. Album bookends “Avalanche” and “Collapse” are slowed with gorgeous extended string flourishes that perfectly frame the project in beautiful clarity. –Christian Schultz
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