Black MIDI: an electronic music genre that uses MIDI files to create a song (or remix) containing a large number of notes. Although black midi do not make music to wholly fit this definition, they have made noise rock mainstream, whilst embedding . Their sophomore album Cavalcade was scheduled to be released on the 28th of May, but luckily for everyone, the wait and anticipation was killed when the album was released 24 hours earlier than announced.
The previously released singles John L, Slow (Loud) and Chrondromalacia Patella (runner’s knee) prepared us for Schlagenheim part two. With elements of more carefully composed phrases mixed with ‘black MIDI’, the trio of singles publicly demonstrated the natural progression of black midi into a more uniform, hard math-rock outfit. With Cavalcade, we are treated to the genuinely mind-blowing performance of black midi once again, with layers of guitars and drums playing faster than we all thought was humanly possible, in combination with other genres in the five brand new tracks on this album.
Marlene Dietrich, the first new track from black midi (courtesy of Cavalcade), composition has not only spanned new genres, but a strings section has been added. black midi are slowly but (more reassuringly) surely, drifting away from what their definitive name suggests with these tracks. Diamond Stuff tags onto Marlene Dietrich musically; a (relatively) slow piece, with no Geordie Greep outbursts or Morgan Simpson eruptions. Audibly, black midi seem to be writing music for a film – tension fills left to right and chimes are the central layer for almost half the six minute long Diamond Stuff. Tension is composed into multiple glistening ways throughout Diamond Stuff, but not the way we would expect from black midi.
Dethroned smoothly transitions over from Diamond Stuff, with almost an instant change in pace. Picton drives Dethroned with the inhumanly fast riff, accompanied by that black midi tension, that builds towards an outburst like no other band. Older tracks like bmbmbm and Near DT, MI were so well received from their incredible drops into pure guitar-chaos, and Dethroned follows suit, with multiple teases until the very centre of the song, with jagged, delayed guitars exploding.
To add to black midi’s never-ending inclusions of genres, indie-folk is yet another genre winding itself into a film music/black MIDI hybrid score. Ascending Forth is an epically long track, telling another tale of Greep’s, with the best, most dramatic soundtrack possible. The final track is shared between an orchestral wind and tuned-percussion section, and black midi‘s outbursts (as we previously knew them). The London-band have clearly expanded their instrumentation for good with Ascending Forth, Diamond Stuff, and Marlene Dietrich.
You can listen to ‘Cavalcade’ here.