‘Stridulum II’ (Souterrain Transmissions)
There’s an amazing quality to Nika Roza Danilova’s, aka Zola Jesus, voice. Shrouded in synthesiser, gothic slabs of reverb-heavy noise, is a
tone that transcends genre, equal parts haunting and comforting. ‘Stridulum II’ largely picks up from where previous Zola Jesus material left off, Danilova’s distinctive sound conveying the harsh Wisconsin winters in which she grew up, a landscape swathed in forest, isolated and remote. ‘Stridulum II’’s lyricism points to apocalypse and suffering, but is cradled gently in possibly the strongest vocal performance this year. In terms of variation and exploration, ‘Stridulum
II’ lacks somewhat, but Danilova’s template is so far-out, there really isn’t any need to delve further into the unknown. She’s comfortable in the dark, and on this evidence, it’s an inspiring place.