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Under the moniker Zola Jesus, the experimental singer-songwriter Nika Roza Danilova has cut a harrowing figure in indie rock. Cloaked in mood and mystique, her songs beat with a dark heart and straddle the fringes of industrial and electronic music.
It was surprising, then, to hear Zola Jesus’ new album, “Versions,” which reinterprets her earlier work in a classical context resonant with strings and softer shades of her voice.
The album is a revelation, notably for the ways it forced Danilova to stretch as a singer. Ahead of her performance at the Institute of Contemporary Art this weekend, we asked her to reflect on five songs from “Versions” that challenged her as a vocalist.