London quartet Black Midi's debut album tries to push the limits of experimental rock. Info
Black MIDI is a term for music that uses irrationally dense sets of digital information to push into a realm of “impossible” music that surpasses the capacity of individual human performance. It's also the name of a London-based math-rock quartet that operates in a similar spirit of disorientation and overload. From the outset of “953,” the opening track from their debut LP, Schlagenheim, Black Midi plays like the unfettered offspring of Captain Beefheart and prog rock outfit An Endless Sporadic.
To describe Black Midi merely as “post-” anything feels inadequate. While the frantic “Near DT, MI” does nod to Slint’s Spiderland, Black Midi tends to deconstruct genres rather than adhere to familiar patterns. For example, “Speedway” walks a line between krautrock and Afrobeat, whereas “bmbmbm” wanders into Yoko Ono territory. With such a far out vibe, one would expect Black Midi's live presence to be equal parts absurd jaw-dropping, and it will be just as interesting to see what kind of crowd the group will draw. In Schlagenheim, one finds difficult music verging on the impossible; however, Black Midi's metallic, avant-garde jazz for stoners, punx, and goofs somehow remains accessible without compromising its spirit. —Shaun Soman