On August 20, Sacred Bones Records will release Versions – an album of nine classic Zola Jesus songs and one new track arranged for string quartet by JG Thirlwell.
On the heels of her Conatus world tour, Nika Roza Danilova AKA Zola Jesus was offered an opportunity to perform at one of the most prestigious modern art museums in the world, New York’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 experimental 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 Manorexia, 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 realise 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.”
Removing the bulk of electronics from these songs gives them the space to breathe, thusly opening them up to exist beyond the restrictions of previously imposed genres.