Ultraista @ Le Poisson Rogue, 10/24/12
Shadows flickered and hums echoed across the stage as Ultraista made their NYC debut at Le Poisson Rouge. The British trio, comprised of synth, vocals, and drums, have developed a compelling form of electronica in the chill space. It’s music quite suited for spacing out in the darkness, and those moods can even translate well to the dance floor.
Ultraista has benefited well from the link of project lead and synth guru Nigel Godrich to Radiohead as producer and auxiliary member. It’s always excellent marketing for a band to have a link like that, and when a band stands on its own merit on top of that, it’s a recipe for quick success. Tonight’s show was a full house.
Supporting tonight was the enigmatic Zammuto. Formerly half of The Books, he now fronts a band that jams with similarly eclectic music. They’re pretty far out on the psychedelic side, with his vocoded voice and ample use of visuals reminding me a bit of a rock-oriented Tobacco. The videos used are pretty unique, as they are very warm in tone and humorous; they are definitely what set the pace for this group live. A surprisingly feel-good act.
Ultraista utilizes minimal and abstract projections compared to Zammuto’s content-driven videos. What makes them interesting is the additional dynamic of shadows at play. Singer Laura Bettinson’s silhouette is featured most prominently in what is normally an obstruction of projected visuals. Both Ultraista and Zammuto made their debuts this year with self titled albums.