Record Label: Sacred Bones Records
Ice-colored vinyl limited to 500 units. Collects the early Zola Jesus EPs Stridulum and Valusia in a single volume for the first time.
“Seven years ago, it was winter break at university in Madison, Wisconsin. There was a snowstorm that covered the city with a still white haze. Not a single person in the streets. I was sitting on my bed with a cheap keyboard and a computer, screaming into the void.
I barely remember writing the songs. It was a chaotic point in my life. I had no time to think about process or intent. It was a purge. I do remember taking a break from recording, bundling up, and walking through the barren streets while listening to the demos I’d made. The world, at once, felt clear.
After writing and producing what would become the Stridulum EP, I contacted a new friend, Alex DeGroot, to come over and record my vocals. He was studying audio engineering and had more knowledge and gear than I could dream of. He helped mix Stridulum, too, because all I had was a pair of headphones. (Since then, Alex has stuck by me, as a live bandmate, technical director, co-producer, mixer, and engineer.)
These songs were a huge leap of faith back then. It was my first time singing without layers of distortion, echo, and reverb. It was the first time I peeled back the layers to find out what was at the core. I’m still on that path today, seeing how far I can push myself into unknown places, whether through clarification or destruction. It’s like Stridulum’s still here with me, underneath it all.
Still, it’s surreal to think that this record, made by a 19-year-old girl sitting on a bed in a freezing old house in Madison, would make its way into strangers’ ears seven years later.”
-Nika Roza Danilova, June 2017
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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