Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dawn of Midi - Live (Review)

EDIT: (Fix a few things, like that all the music is freely improvised and not composed, although their next album will be a larger through composed piece. Also changed some of the tune names, and added a little bit more to the post)

Dawn of Midi - LIVE (the album review!)

1 Fields

Great piano sounds, muted fast passages with spurts of drums and bass coming in and out of the texture. The drums have a groovy free feel, similar to the sound Tom Rainey gets in his freer ensembles. The bass player is starting to build a motif and become more active, while the piano is pursuing a melody. The music is improvised, but it’s built so organically that it could be composed, especially as the rhythm sections drops out and comes back in. It’s a dense groove that feels light and airy.

2. Surround

More muted piano string sounds, and quick spotty noises coming from everyone, that seems to slowly meld into a groove. The timbre of this group seems to be one of the first elements that separates this group from most piano/bass/drum trios. In a way this piece sounds like a ballad, but mixed with elements of Steve Reich and minimalist repetitive rhythmic structures. The sense of song and melody is more apparent in this live concert than in the studio album (which seemed more timbre and sound focused). These pieces are free, and they have a strong compositional element, and I believe could be transcribed and arranged into composed pieces. I really dig the interplay of this trio, and it seems like the connection is even stronger from their studio album. The tune winds down with a beautiful coda in the piano.

3. The Black Danger

Great improvisation from the start, freer than the first two pieces, repeating the same note on the piano hyper rhythmically, energetic drumming, and bass drones pseudo ala Charlie Haden. The low end rumble really makes this cut for me, just from the start. I really like how the trio as individuals starts with an idea, or quickly comes into an idea, and sticks with it for the duration of the tune. It is easy in free music to jump around from one idea to another, but the taste and aesthetic that they use is incredibly musical. The drums are accenting more of the phrases of the trio now, with crashes breaking up the landscape of the music. The end of the tune starts to change course almost as if it could go into a new direction (one that could last much longer). I would love to hear how that improvisation could have continued into new territory.

4. While

I like this from the start, sounds almost like electronic music, but isn’t, nice bass drones and fifths, metal noise, muted string piano playing, with a simple held out melody. Sounds both in time and out of time, free and composed, yet played always as a trio, as a unit of music. This could even be a pop tune if it wanted to be. I really like this piece, a lot, it would be meditative, but it’s almost too disjunctive to be so. Winds down like an old metronome.

5. Lapse

Timbre based soft punctuations, like a string of hyphens and commas. This is the sound of murky silver and tin waters. A heart beat like thump of the bass drum, the pulsation of the double bass pattern, the little sounds coming out from the edges. A few chords resound with prepared piano, a spot of melody, a low bass note, some arco bass, all integrated pieces in this complex aural mosaic. The music gradually transitions into a repeating piano figure, with light high pitch bass accompaniment, and little to no percussion, a very sustained texture. I really dig this piano player and the direction they are taking the music. There is always a sense listening to this trio of a composition (tune) rhythm (pulse) and timbre (the great cornucopia!). Seemingly diatonic phrases, that suddenly twist into another world, Paul Bley-ishness. More morphology, the bass takes up with a beautiful melody, with metal factory percussion and inside of the piano machinery and a solemn bass chord to end the journey with.

6. Gravity

Bass harmonics pulsed with an arpeggiated changing piano line that is reminiscent of Steve Reich or Philip Glass’ minimalist piano music. The sparse beginnings build with toms vamping, arco playing that sounds in a cello range, and a developed piano phrase coming out of the earlier start. If it’s free it’s incredible, and if it’s not it should be a composition! It has build ups going throughout giving it a triumphant feel and at the end almost seems to be going into a new direction, but fades out.

7. Leads

Looking at the title I wonder if it means lead as in, the band leads your ear in different direction, or as in a lead pipe, because either way works, the metallic sounds mixed in with the searching journey of the music. There is a sense of “buying the ticket and taking the ride.” Somehow again this sounds like electronic music, but with acoustic instruments. I can tell everyone is listening really intently to one another. Beautiful piano playing, complimentary bowed bass sounds, and subtle cymbal sounds. The punctuations sound like there is a war almost with trying to break out of the music into chaos, but the piano is determined to ride out with beauty. The bass is pulsating a drone in a high register pizz, while the piano goes into a low frequency post-romantic flourishes, building from the bottom up. Great ticks and tocks and ringing percussion give the piece a clock like sound. The piano plays a nice coda to fade out the piece, with the acoustic bass ending a great live record.

If you are interested in checking out this recording of this great band go to HERE for a free download. DO IT!!

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