Thursday, May 10
Better than: Dancing about architecture.
One had to assume that Nika Roza Danilova would make it into a museum sooner or later. A classically trained opera singer, she released her first album under the moniker Zola Jesus while studying French philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her songs pair soaring, direct vocals with drum machines and ominous vibes. 2011's Conatus is mysterious while offering a direct line to a powerful emotional core. And at the Guggenheim last night, she showed up wearing a boa made out of swirling lights, glowing around her neck.
Zola Jesus was here as the third and final act in "Divine Ricochet," a series of live music meant to accompany the abstract expressionist sculpture of John Chamberlain. Made out of American cars in the '50s and '60s, Chamberlain's sculptures are metallic clashes, violent re-arrangements of things regularly taken for granted, so it made sense that for performance, Zola Jesus would combine a variety of sounds. "Gimmick" isn't quite the right word, but shows at nontraditional venues, like the Guggenheim, have a tendency to bring out the experimental side in everyone, which is probably what made her want to collaborate with industrial composer J.G Thirlwell and the Mivos Quartet.More »