DAWN OF MIDI: SOUNDS AS DROPS TRANSFORMED INTO BREAKBEATS

12. December 2014
Giulia Oro

“Breathe, break, beat, thrill, swish, pause, rest, rhythm, silence, sigh, whisper”

Can music create sounds as syncopate fragments of the inner world in the same time and space? It can, or at least it can be felt when all instruments fit together into a rhythm and the rhythm transforms itself continuously and unexpectedly. 

 

During one of the last concerts in Jõulujazz Festival on December 10th 2014 at Tallinn Kumu Auditorium, the audience could experience these aspects of music, in the wake of a postmodern way to interpret composition. The Brooklyn-based trio Dawn of Midi performed a post-minimalist acoustic concert, presenting their last album Dysnomia. It was 46 continuous minutes of methodically composed music without any solos or melodic themes, but rather a continuous stream of repeating and changing patterns. Since the overture, as Aakaash began suggesting a tempo with two-note bass line, followed by monotones created by Amino on the piano and Oasim on the drums, the concert unfolded something different from a traditional jazz repertoire. It was something similar to these meticulous researches on construction and deconstruction of the rhythm, explored by composers as Debussy, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, just to quote some of the most famous. 

The young trio’s members were able to translate music while exploring the possibility of playing their instruments as deeply as possible. It seemed like they were disassembling and reassembling them like cubists do with shapes. The looped acoustic style, often using it as an effect to make the sound of all the instruments indistinguishable, created a narcotic, quite alienating rhythm that reminded of the disturbing atmospheres produced by some of the most famous contemporary electronic composers as Aphex Twin, Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Furthermore, the real abilities of the musicians were the constant and unexpected changes of the rhythms, realized by inverting free and bound jazz sounds with breakbeats and ambient textures. The result was a rhythmic flux, like an organism that grows and morphs amidst pulsations and reverberations. In this sense the beats of Dysnomia can not be just heard but also felt, as it was quite spontaneous to snap the fingers on the knees or nod the head at times. Despite the fractal precision of the execution, the live experience showed a hidden meditative aspect. At some points it was possible to hear melodies from the piano, similar to some Eastern banjo tunes, produced by Amino playing the keys with one hand while muffling the strings with the other. Surely, Pakistani, Indian and Moroccan origins among the trio have influenced their own way of playing and composing music, giving their compositions a unique style translated into a polyrhythmic ideas. 

However, it’s always difficult to talk about music when it’s performed as an experimentation made on the concept of music itself and I rather prefer to talk about it through images and sensations. That’s why I like to associate the sounds of Dawn of Midi to drops of colors, smells, beats, breaks, breathes, thrills – and all the feelings everyone can feel – that design space and time with different forms related into a certain momentum. 

 

Dawn Of Midi

December 10th 2014, Tallinn Kumu Auditorium

 

Aakaash Israni: contrabass

Amino Belyamani: piano

Qasim Naqvi: drums