Every time an artist manages to successfully combine acoustic instrumentation with electronic wizardry, I feel like a peace treaty gets signed between the warring factions of “real music” VS “just pushing some buttons”.
Who is Birthday Girl? Is she a superhero, is it the codename for a now defunct sleeper soldier programme or is it simply a conduit delivering a most sinister musical gift? Obviously it is just a bunch of dudes from Cape Town making some sweet jams. But more than that, these guys are weaving some intricate and enthralling sonic tapestries. Daniel Breiter, Dean Berger and Glenn Stein have forged a new formation on the terra firma of live electronica in South Africa, capably following in the footsteps of Bateleur and Fever Trails.
Their “Rituals” EP is intriguing, with the tracks experiencing changes in rhythm or subtle additions of new sounds at the most unexpected moments. I feel anxious at times, then suddenly nostalgic as I pinpoint the exact moment in my life that ‘Getting Mortal’ could have soundtracked. Or how ‘Zexy Dreamer’ could be interlaced with Bjork-esque vocals, but is also completely perfect without any accompaniment. The first single, ‘Swimsuit’, has been greeted with rampant fervour, setting the bar high for the public’s expectation of rest of the tracks.
My appreciation for this release has become ritualistic. I want to have this on repeat, as part of my day, as part of my breathing if possible. There is a heartbeat and a journey in these songs. You’re afforded a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ experience as each time you listen to the tracks you hear a new element and depending on your mood, each track makes you feel different at each listening.
Birthday Girl has succeeded in translating raw human emotion into sonic poetry and you will feel something when you listen to “Rituals” – whether you want to or not.
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Listen to ‘Rituals’ below.