In my woods I form a part
to be spoken both must start
ask for all your wisdom here
give me space to disappear
After nearly five years since the release of her last full-length LP Okovi Zola Jesus (aka Nika Roza Danilova) returns with the gorgeously atmospheric single “Lost”, and has announced a new record, her sixth to date, called Arkhon. The record is set for release on 20 May via Sacred Bones.
Zola Jesus collaborated with musician Randall Dunn on this echoing dirge, known for his work with Sunn O))) and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson. Drummer and percussionist Matt Chamberlain (Fiona Apple, David Bowie) also lent his artistry. “Lost” reflects upon the difficulties of modernity, exploring a labyrinth of sound and phantasmagorical vocals echoing through the ether, as primal breathing punctuates the layers. We are all lost, we all feel sombre, we have no idea what the future holds. This new track reflects upon this glitched sense of hope and wonder; a return to long-forgotten roots, closer to Mother Earth.
“Lost hope, lost future, lost present, lost planet,” she says. “There is a collective disillusionment of our burning potential. As we stray further from nature, we drift from ourselves. ‘Lost’ is a sigil to re-discover our coordinates and claim a new path.”
The haunting video, directed by Mu Tunç, was shot on location in the Cappadocia area of Turkey. The location serves as the perfect metaphor for a desire to reconnect with the wisdom of antiquity, tap into human endurance, and to illustrate the overwhelming mazes we scurry through to collectively remember.
“I wanted to shoot the video in a place that carried a lot of energy, with someone that I felt understood the spiritual backbone of the song,” she says. “It was a surprisingly natural process…I put my faith in him and in Cappadocia, a labyrinthine city built within 60 million-year-old caves. Throughout human history these caves have served as a citadel for so many different groups of people who went there to get lost. It is a testament to the resilience of humanity, and the durability of our earth.”
“The story of Lost is a visual litany of devotion,” adds Tunç. “Reflects the exodus of the true self through the mystical environments of Cappadocia. Zola Jesus is for me like an outcast philosopher of today’s confused society.”
Watch the spellbinding video for ‘Lost” below:
Arkhon, the ancient Greek word for “power” or “ruler,” has a specific valence within Gnosticism. “Arkons are a Gnostic idea of power wielded through a flawed god,” Danilova explains. “They taint and tarnish humanity, keeping them corrupted instead of letting them find their harmonious selves. I do feel like we are living in an arkhonic time; these negative influences are weighing extremely heavy on all of us. We’re in a time of arkhons. There’s power in naming that.”
The ten-track album comes from a period of writer’s block. For the first time, Danilova allowed other musicians into her creative process in order to navigate those murky waters.
“When I look back at my work, I see there’s a theme where I fixate on my fear of the unknown,” she says. “That really came into fruition for this record, because I had to let go of so much control. I had to surrender to whatever the outcome would be. That used to be really hard for me, and now I had no other choice.”
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