Zhala breaks her extended hiatus with dazzlingly meandering track “Holes”

Swedish alt-pop artist Zhala breaks her five-year silence with “Holes”, out now on Konichiwa Records.

After a deafening five year silence, Robyn’s protégée and only signee to her record label Konichiwa Records is back. Despite appearing on Robyn’s most recent masterpiece Honey, Zhala was quiet on the solo front. However, her eagerly awaited single “Holes” has broken that silence to great effect.

“Holes” is a war cry, a declarative statement that screams “I’m back”. It’s both controlled and excitingly wild and free in its energy. The track snakes around itself, unfurling to the listener in a gorgeous cacophony of experimental sounds.

With its tropical sounding beat that derives from the steel drum effects mixed with what sounds like a koto or a kalimba, “Holes” is transportative. Mixed with some synths for good measure, it’s a transgressive futuristic song. It’s a track anchored around a journey, like a ship leading us into the depths of a jungle in space with Zhala sitting at the helm of this vessel.

Produced by The Knife‘s Olof Dreijer, this undefinable yet absurdly pleasing song makes more sense when placed in the context of its inspiration; it started as a reworking of a performance called “DEAD by Beauty and the Beast” by Stockholm-based performer/choreographer Amanda Apetrea, a piece that is self-described as a “pornographic and dystopian dance performance that merges dance, poetry, music, the beauty of darkness and the in between”.

Whilst the track is darkly intricate and indescribably catchy, perhaps Zhala’s mentor of sorts Robyn can explain it best: “Zhala carves out her freedom with her voice, I love it so much. When I heard Zhala’s voice the first time it was like getting a message from the future, a signal from an alien Rosie Gaines. I’m so proud to be releasing Zhala’s new single “Holes” on Konichiwa Records. “Holes” is beautiful and light to dance to even though it talks about the darker parts of our existence. Zhala takes my hand and shows me the way.”