Existing somewhere in the strange in-betweens of jazz, indie rock, and post-punk, musical savants and occasional bringers of chaos Black MIDI have shared their latest sonic trek, the dynamic and skittish ‘Slow (Loud)’.
With guitars that sound like bebop horns and drum runs so fast that Buddy Rich would tell them to slow down, ‘Slow (Loud)’ is set to be the centrepiece for the band’s upcoming second studio album Cavalcade.
I’ve seen Black MIDI be described in a myriad of different ways: math rock, jazz fusion, progressive indie, experimental. It all comes up short of properly articulating the overwhelming intensity and absurdity of the group. Never has a band fit so many disparate ideas into a semi-cohesive song structure, but Black MIDI have made it their signature. Tempo shifts, dynamic shifts, meter changes, and pandemonium are to be expected from any and all tunes. The bizarre spoken-word vocals of Cavalcade‘s first cut ‘John L’ is punctuated with extended periods of silence and copious amounts of discordant guitar lines played next to seemingly random piano hits. It’s definitely not “put your feet up and relax” kind of music.
But great music should be challenging. If nothing else, Black MIDI have carved out a unique niche for themselves in the wider landscape of popular music. The closest artistic comparison I could make is to The Mars Volta, and since that band is currently defunct, Black MIDI are leading the charge for jazzy progressive noise rock.
Most notably, Black MIDI are a band that appear discontented with staying in one sonic space. The slow lurch of tracks like ‘953’ and ‘bmbmbm’ are now gone, replaced with frantic intensity and breakneck speed. That’s not to say it’s a completely different direction for the band: tracks like ‘Near DT, MI’ come at you at a frenetic pace, but that track is immediately followed by the spacey cowboy epic ‘Western’ on 2019’s Schlagenheim. The point is: the band has range.
Check out the video for ‘Slow (Loud)’ down below. Cavalcade is set for a May 28th release.