BLACK MIDI – ” Schlagenheim “

Posted: August 2, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , ,

Black Midi

What does the future of guitar music hold? The answer might very well lie with London band Black Midi and their bracing, unpredictable approach to rock.

 For those still hungry for prog complexity and art-rock innovation in their post-punk, seeing the debut LP from London’s black midi, Schlagenheim, appearing on more than a couple of year-end lists in guitar-starved 2019 should offer a glimmer of hope. Singer/guitarist Geordie Greep rips the mic like the reckless demon lovechild of Mike Patton and Grace Jones, while his mates (guitarist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, bassist/keyboardist Cameron Picton and eight-armed drummer Morgan Simpson) expand on time signatures straight out of Larks’ Tongues in Aspic for, like, tUnE-yArDs fans with a nostalgic affinity for Fugazi’s Steady Diet of Nothing. And this is just album one.

“Of Schlagenheim” showcases just how much Simpson captains this band’s every manoeuver from behind the kit. The quasi-title cut drives the descent into madness from Roxy Music cool to full-throttle Mr. Bungle chaos without hitting the brakes for over six minutes.

None of the group’s four members are of drinking age in the United States, and they’ve been an active unit for hardly two years. But they’ve already thrilled listeners across the globe with the sonic flag they’ve planted at the intersection of noise, post-punk, prog and krautrock. Freewheeling one moment and strapped into a monstrous groove the next, Black Midi have been known to set stages alight with incendiary performances. It’s no wonder they became the talk of the town thanks to live videos and gigs.

Could they be the best thing since the Klaxons or Bloc Party but the band have arrived. Black Midi! The student art rock band are bringing a new youthful energy and slight of malice back to the arena of post-indie inspired alternative guitar and synth music. They make this overtly known from the start with the supercharged opener that is “953”, introducing an album that is said to have laid down eight of the record’s nine tracks in just five days. Drums are fast and skittering, rhythms are dancey and guitars keep it Madchester jangley. “Speedway” (is that a wry Prodigy reference?) is among the album’s highlights alongside the punk-funky “bmbmbm” and the short but trippy “Years Ago”. With a 100 per cent backing by UK music institution Rough Trade: meet this generation’s newest sensation.

The energy of a Black Midi performance is impossible to capture in recording, vocalist/guitarist Geordie Greep says So, they don’t try. Last month, they released their debut album, Schlagenheim, which was produced by Dan Carey of indie label Speedy Wunderground. Its German title translates to something like “hitting home”, which is funny for a record that revels in zig-zagging between tempos, riffs and entire styles – but also an apt way to sum up the impact Black Midi have already made on the world of rock.

Black Midi managed to ascend to nigh-mythical status in their home country with barely any online presence and barely more recorded material. Then they hit Stateside, and it all made sense. Their live show is a spectacle to behold, a roiling mass of grooves and riffs and beats mutating and exploding off in a million different directions. And with their debut album Schlagenheim, they successfully managed to get that electric anything-is-possible feeling down on wax. No matter how many times you listen, their songs never fail to surprise.

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