Zola Jesus - Conatus
In the three years leading to 'Conatus,' Nika Roza Danilova went from being an outsider, experimental, teenage noise-maker to a fully-fledged, internationally-celebrated, electronic-pop musician. It was a huge accomplishment, and, despite her age (young), her origins (mid-western, desolate), her accelerated scholastic achievements (high school and college were each completed in three years) and her diminutive physical size (4'11", 90 lbs), she has triumphed. She has emerged as a figurehead — a self-produced, self-designed, self-taught independent woman.
Conatus is a huge leap forward in production, instrumentation and song structure. The definition of the title says it all: the will to keep on, to move forward. From thumping ballads to electronic glitch, no sound goes unexplored on her new record. It is an icy exploration in refined chaos and controlled madness, an effort to break through capability and access a sonic world that crumbles as it shines.