Zola Jesus’ Okavi was somewhat of a return back home. Having swapped labels and un-muddied her production a little, Okavi saw her return back to her roots on all accounts. Additions gives us four new tracks and four remixes of album tracks.
Opening with the four new tracks, “Vacant” is industrial goth power drums at their finest. The pulverising each smack and having minimal but dramatic synths underneath, it’s a beautifully gothic and dramatic entrance. It’s all about the ambience created and the drama within. Zola’s backing vocals are superb here as a siren-like moan. Without a doubt “Bound” is the big single here. A rampaging groove, twisting rubber synths, and plenty of drone-like vocals interplaying with the elements around it – its grimy and techno-goth but exactly what Zola is perfect at. “Pilot Light” is a short piano and vocal moment in time that’s tense and reflective at the same time. The piano is metronomic like a clock and slowly transitions to buzzing electronics but refuses to explode into a fire. “Bitten Wool” swaps the piano for a warped tolling bell and a creepy melody. It’s a deliciously dark toned piece and showcases the quieter Zola Jesus with aplomb.
Remixes can always be hit or miss and these remixes sit in two camps. The remixes of “Soak” and “Ash to Bones” are quiet on the whole – focusing on the vocal and stripping down the tracks. The remixes of “Siphon” and “Exhumed” on the other hand go for anarchy industrial noise and harsh shoegaze-like heavy synths. I preferred the former to the latter but also preferred the originals easily over these.
For Zola Jesus fans, this EP is a no-brainer. The four new tracks here are some her finest work and continue to show how good she is at her craft. Newbies can start here too – her sound is like no other.
Recommended Track: Bound