D Nova and Adi Ulmansky at Birthdays
Infamous Dalston hangout Birthdays played host to two up-and-coming electro talents. Beginning the proceedings was D Nova, complete with his band wearing Game Boy heads – a nod to the group’s 80s Pacman style, 8-bit sound. Citing “pop, game, blend, toy and digital” as his inspiration, D Nova offers lurid soundscapes blending electro, dance and club beats with a retro vibe. Using a range of tones from high falsetto to acid rap, D Nova’s oscillating vocals guide us through his songs, from the gaudy video-game style intros to the addictive chorus lines. Life Is My Videogame and Genius-Crazy go down particularly well with the animated crowd, although a clumsy set with staging mistakes and sound errors damped the atmosphere a little.
Adi Ulmansky takes to the stage as tonight’s headliner in a flurry of neon hair and acid-washed prints. Already tipped for success with endorsements from Vice’s Noisey magazine, Jay-Z’s Life + Times blog and NME, 2014 is set to be her break through year as she embarks on a North American and European tour this summer – including a stop at Glastonbury Festival. After success with the band Lorena B, the Israeli singer, producer and rapper began her solo career in 2012 with her debut mixtape, Shit Just Got Real, released in 2013.
Describing her music as “electronic – postdubstep” Ulmansky fits snugly into the niche carved out by other female electronic acts such as Grimes, M.I.A and Angel Haze – her sonorous vocal souring over a curdled mesh of heavy bass, acidic synth and thundering drum beats. Adroit and multi-talented she moves serenely from synth to keyboard to microphone and drums, emitting deafening sound from her finger tips.
Tracks Hurricane Girl and Work It display Ulmansky in full grunge mode as she spits out raps in filthily low registers with jolting staccato, while buzzing bass and blistering synth rise up beneath her venomous outpourings. A.D.I cleverly uses ethnic drum undertones from her native Israel subverting them with klaxons and reverb. It’s in tracks Was It You? and Falling that Ulamnsky is at her best using her beguilingly angelic voice with Middle-eastern lilt to ease us into songs full of slow, prickling electro drones and laid back drums.
Photos: Filippo L‘Astorina
Watch the video for D Nova’s Life Is My Videogame here:
Watch the video for Adi Ulmansky’s Falling here: