Listenable and insane, that’s the sound Dawn of Midi spent years shaping, culminating in their most mesmerizing work yet: Dysnomia. In many ways, it’s the first record that truly reflects the trio’s critically acclaimed live show, a test of endurance and trust that involves bassist Aakaash Israni, pianist Amino Belyamani and percussionist Qasim Naqvi performing their compositions note-for-note without ever appearing the least bit predictable.
If anything, Dawn of Midi’s sets are as red-blooded and rhythmic as a seamlessly mixed DJ set, casting spells on crowds in the same way the group’s favorite experimental and electronic acts have for decades. Which explains why The New Yorker‘s music critic, Sasha Frere-Jones, wrote “an hour flew by in what seems like minutes” after witnessing their high-wire act last year, and Radiolab host Jad Abumrad added “[I’ve] seriously never seen anything like these guys.”
Dawn Of Midi | Prancercise Mashup
Belyamani is quick to say that Dawn of Midi have followed their own internal logic since day one, largely thanks to the fact that they were friends first—playing late-night tennis matches in dimly lit parking lots well before they stepped into a studio or rehearsal space. As such, Belyamani admits its taken quite some time to shift from early improv sessions to the well-oiled machine that makes Dysnomia both a dizzying dance record and a deeply immersive living room listen.
“Playing a locked groove like we do on this record involves a lot of discipline and hard work,” he explains. “You don’t start out that way unless you’re a group of folk musicians from the same village.” Forget being from the same village; Dawn of Midi’s respective families aren’t even from the same country. Belyamani was born in Morocco, where he “grew up in a culture where people do polyrhythms in their sleep.” A stateside move didn’t happen until he turned 18 and decided to study abroad at CalArts. Meanwhile, Israni relocated from India to Southern California when he was just four months old, and Naqvi’s parents left Pakistan before he was born in Connecticut.
Dawn Of Midi | Dysnomia
“Both my parents are major music fans,” says Naqvi. “They love old Hindi songs from the black and white film era, and different kinds of traditional music from the South Asian subcontinent. So that stuff has definitely filtered through me somehow, but scales and rhythms from that part of the world are not something that are central to my musical thinking. At least not yet.”
That’s the thing about Dawn of Midi now that they’re based in Brooklyn and touring open-minded markets worldwide: As carefully cultivated as their aesthetic is, it’s also been known to incorporate, willfully and otherwise, such wildly divergent influences and interests as Aphex Twin, the Police, Can and Ms. Pac-Man. And when they really fall for a record—like they did with Dr. K. Gyasi after hearing his highlife hooks in Berlin—it quickly raises the bar of what they want from their own music.
Circuit Diagram | Amanar
Originating from the gloriously inter-tangled scene between Hamburg and Berlin, Circuit Diagram are a live act and production duo fusing hypnotic psychedelic and krautrock tendencies with live drums and electronics.
Circuit Diagram’s 2013 debut on Pudel Produkte/ Staatsakt was a pair of motorik kraut-rock dance instrumentals. A-side is ‘Amanar”s winning mix of “cellphone from sahara”-like chant with swinging, organic rhythms and sweeter modular synth curves progressing with the vision of a classic Villalobos, but sounding more like Can gone to modern day Africa.
In much the same manner – minus the chants – ‘Iklig’ locks into another loose but driving rhythm relying on mean-hipped bassline and steppin’ drums to give flight to flurries of jazz keys and sparing vocal stabs with a wonderfully limber psych-band feel.
Circuit Diagram | Motown
Their new release ‘Motown’ on No Counter Records is the follow-up to the ‘Pudel Produkte 20’ EP released in 2013 on ‘Staatsakt’ (a record label formed by the owners of the Golden Pudel club in Hamburg).
Inspired by a 6 hour jam with Circuit members Nicholas and Chris at the Kraniche Klub in Hamburg, Davenport transforms ‘Motown‘ into a rolling epic – building layers of atmospheric vocals, using a gritty, loopy bass line to drive the track forward. Combined with the drums of the original, the track retains its live feel, giving it a disco touch; much like an old Giorgio Moroder number.
Presented by Digital in Berlin. Check out our facebook page to win tickets.
Unterholz #2 w/ Dawn of Midi & Circuit Diagram
Thursday, 15th May 2014 | 20:00 CET
Berghain Kantine | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin/Friedrichshain