(Credit: Anthrox Studio)

Black Midi announce second album and share new song 'John L'

Black Midi have announced details of the follow up to their Mercury-nominated debut album, Schlagenheim, and shared brand new single, ‘John L’.

Cavalcade will be released on May 28 via Rough Trade. A press release states that the album is designed to be a conveyer of larger-than-life figures such as a cult leader, an ancient corpse found in a diamond mine, and cabaret singer Marlene Dietrich. “When you’re listening, you can imagine all the characters form a sort of cavalcade. Each tells their story one by one and as each track ends they overtake you, replaced by the next in line,” comments Cameron Picton.

The new track, ‘John L’, is Black Midi at their most wild, which arrives with a video they describe as “a jet black comedy about what happens to cult leaders when their followers turn on them.”

For this record, Black Midi wanted to refine their sound and not be afraid to abandon their previous improvisation mantra. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the improvisation myth of divine intervention, that if a song doesn’t happen in the room naturally without it being guided by someone specifically, when we’re all just feeling the vibe, then it’s not proper and it’s not pure,” says Geordie Greep. 

“That’s kind of a dangerous thing because you end up never trying something different, or you just abandon an idea if it doesn’t work at first because you’re always waiting for that thing to arrive perfect,” he added.

Black Mid wrote half of Cavalcade individually at home and brought to the table in rehearsal, which drummer Morgan Simpson believed helped the group: “The experience this time round was completely the flipside to Schlagenheim. A lot of the material was really fresh but that was something that played into our hands and we relished it.”

The album was recorded at Hellfire Studios in Dublin with John ‘Spud’ Murphy. Geordie notes: “It worked really well with John. We wanted a natural, open sound combined with fourth wall breaks – for lack of a better expression. Do you know on record when you can hear the tape screeching, the things that make you aware that you’re listening to a recording?

“[With a lot of records] it feels like either you’re listening to the ECM, high-fidelity, 25 mic amazing sound or you have the lo-fi album full of crazy effects. And I thought, ‘Why not have an album where you combine the two?’ That was one of the main ideas going into it and John was very keen on that idea.” 

Check out the video for ‘John L’, below.