Zola Jesus - Taiga

I recently found this record while making some other purchases.  I had not bought it when it came out about a year ago, and somehow it had slipped my mind.  It didn't seem to get as much attention as some of her other albums, at least not on the boards I follow.  I am not really sure why - it is an excellent record.  She has a lovely voice in a deeper register than most female singers.  I think this record is a bit more "commercial" than her prior albums, but not to ill effect.  It is still dark and aggressive, full of brooding electronics and has a haunting, tormented aura.  Her voice sounds like it originates from pain but soars above it and triumphs over it.

My copy of the record is the "limited edition, marble colored vinyl" and it is gorgeous.  There is also poster of the singer and the backside is a lyric sheet.  I didn't find her lyrics read very well - but they serve the music nicely.

This record has progressed Zola Jesus' sound from experimental to polished.  Interesting sound and musical elements still prevail, but are more contained and shaped into a more accessible structure.  I think she was attempting to make a collection of songs that would serve as individual statements (singles), but I still find this album works better as a whole.  Of course, I tend to gravitate to listening to whole albums rather than singles, but most records still have a few standout tracks that work well alone.  I didn't really find any tracks that made me want to separate them out - or make a mix tape (playlist) with them.

A1 Taiga
A2 Dangerous Days
A3 Dust
A4 Hunger
A5 Go (Blank Sea)
A6 Ego
B1 Lawless
B2 Nail
B3 Long Way Down
B4 Hollow
B5 It's Not Over

I think Zola Jesus makes amazing videos for her songs.  It is evident that she has a visual concept for her songs and they come alive in her videos.  They really capture the mood of the music.  There is a surrounding coldness, but you feel blanketed by her message.  There is a sparseness counterbalanced by her euphonious rhythms.  You feel challenged and suppressed but also triumphant and heroic. She might not be singing opera, but her music feels as grand and majestic.

I would love to see a double headliner concert with Zola Jesus and Chelsea Wolfe.  They sound much like two sides of the same coin.  One more electronic and wintry (Zola Jesus) and the other more organic and caustic (Chelsea Wolfe).  I can even imagine that a collaborative set with their sounds and vocals merging could be awe inspiring.


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