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Album Review: Dawn of Midi – Dysnomia

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Germany’s Can was comprised of the finest jazz musicians trained under Stockhausen before standing at the helm of a rock revolution. It’s said that founder Irmin Schmidt was “corrupted” after hearing The Velvet Underground, and thus Can began their now infamous foray into psychedelic hums and monotone squeals. The last vestige of jazz remains in Can’s percussion, utilizing steady thumps to create an almost cyclical listening experience.

Much like Can, Brooklyn’s Dawn of Midi – comprised of bassist Aakaash Israni, pianist Amino Belyamani, and percussionist Qasim Naqvi – is a trio with an innate gift for stringing together spectacular arrangements, ones that release tension as easily as they withhold. The band’s newest LP, Dysnomia, is a sharp return to studying movement through acoustic strums and hums. The arrangements are so utterly precise and the rhythms so fluid that they feel like involuntary movements. These songs defy what we think of space, and release tension at will.

The piano-driven “Moon” may recall a virtuoso like Keith Jarrett for a second, but the masterful percussion from Naqvi jolts you with its quiet resonance. Dawn of Midi don’t produce jazz, as the rhythmic swells are more akin to what you might feel at an electronic show. The album’s care shows through the band’s discipline — they recorded Dysnomia and then, dissatisfied with its caliber, took a year and a half to rerecord everything.

Very rarely does an album seem to adopt a skin of its own, breathing life outside of computer speakers and headphones. It almost becomes a confidante, thinking and listening to you intently instead of the other way around. Dawn of Midi’s Dysnomia, in that way, is intensely human, despite having no discernible flaws.

Essential Tracks: “Ymir”, “Algol”, and “Atlas”

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