Friday, December 2, 2011

Zola Jesus - "Conatus" CD

At only 22 years of age, operatically-trained rural Wisconsinite Nika Roza Danilova has already released 3 albums and several EPs of her darkly-shrouded ethereal rock. "Conatus" unveils some richer, less monochromatic textures, and even some (almost) dance beats into the mix. "Vessel" is a crushing assault of industrial-style percussion alongside Danilova's haunting vocals. "In Your Nature" is both stark and anthemic, like a female-fronted Joy Division. The closer, "Collapse", is a dramatic and moving lament, with Danilova backed only by an electronic drone. Imagine a cross between prime Siouxsie, Kate Bush, and Fever Ray, and you'd still be underestimating the wonder of Zola Jesus. Superb work from an artist who's matured well beyond her years. (Sacred Bones)

Zola Jesus website

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Justin Vanderberg - "Synthetic Memories" CD

Composer Vanderberg's second album is a delightful and wistful collection of deep ambient electronic sounds that gently ebb and flow in a relaxing manner. It's an ambient album with depth and clarity, combining the best of modern electronics with a timeless, Eno-esque quality that works equally as well as background listening or immersive contemplation.

"When I Walk" is a droning, meditational piece with celestial inclinations, while the title track brings a gorgeous collage of serene strings alongside percolating sequencers, like classic Vidna Obmana meeting Vangelis somehow. This is a standout, being simultaneously majestic and mysterious. "The Path" ushers in a heavy rolling rhythm of an almost trip-hop or industrial nature, which works well alongside the crystalline strings."Dusk" shows a hint of darkness around the edges, but remains true to the album's gentle overall vibe. "Synthetic Memories" is a superb work from a composer I'll be curious to hear more from. (Spotted Peccary)