Although singer-songwriter Nika Roza Danilova announced her solo project’s first full-length in five years by acknowledging that she had embraced an unfamiliar, collaborative spirit and “needed new blood,” her latest song is a sparse, completely internal quest for closure.
“‘Desire’ was written in one sitting at my piano at home. The song was an exorcism for my pain and lack of closure around heartbreak,” she shared in a statement. “Sometimes songs are written simply for the cathartic effect of playing them. This is one of those songs. Performing it feels like the most tangible way to experience that closure for myself.”
Danilova’s emotional release is palpable, as the classically trained vocalist twists and stretches the song’s single-word “Desire” refrain in a way that makes it seem like admitting to the feeling is resolution enough. The intimacy of the moment is also felt through the video, which is comprised of footage from her emotive, single-take studio recording. The clips are woven in with visual depictions selected by director A.F. Cortes that represent the suffocating feelings of confinement and despair that linger at the end of a relationship. Watch the full video below.
“I’ve seen Zola Jesus perform live many times in the past. Still, nothing prepared me to see the vulnerability of this piece unfolding as it was performed in front of my camera,” Cortes said. “From that first shoot day, I knew I wanted to complement the live performance with a parallel story: a tale of grief, loss, and the capacity of a cathartic metamorphosis to overcome personal trauma, all set in a minimal space, a transitional moment of learning how to let go of the baggage of a previous existence. In making this piece I wanted to capture a unique moment in time that reflects the vulnerability of the music.”
Arkhon will be released on May 20th via Sacred Bones Records. It follows Zola Jesus’ fourth record, 2017’s Okovi, the remix edition Okovi: Additions in 2018, and the live album Roadburn 2018 in 2020. Pre-orders are ongoing.