black midi present a new single/video, “Slow,” from their forthcoming album, Cavalcade, out May 28th on Rough Trade. The band is a bit like Marmite; you either love them or spit them out like a weird yeast-based black goo. Now, I can’t stand Marmite, but I do love a bit of black midi. Who in their right mind doesn’t love a bit of jazz-breakcore-Zappaunicorn-mathrockwonderland-microtonal-King-Crimson-noise-rock?
In conjunction, they announce a fall North American tour, plus a new KEXP interview and performance. A full-circle moment for black midi, their first KEXP performance (live from Iceland Airwaves in 2019), is how many first experienced the band. Following lead single “John L,” “a zoomed-out optical illusion, making you question what you’re witnessing at every turn,” (Pitchfork, “Best New Track”), “Slow” is one of two Cavalcade songs fronted by bassist Cameron Picton. The music for “Slow” was written just before black midi’s February 2020 UK tour, with the lyrics finalised when demos were recorded in June 2020. They tell the story of a young and idealistic revolutionary dreaming of a better world who ends up being shot in the national stadium after a coup d’état.
“The ‘Slow’ video was made to fit the oscillating dynamics of the song. Going from calm to chaos over and over again,” says director and animator Gustaf Holtenäs. “The video tells the story of a character who creates AI-generated worlds. To emphasize this, I let real AI’s generate a lot of the backgrounds in these worlds. So they are partly AI-generated, but It isn’t long before an AI could create the whole deal and create endless iterations of fantasy worlds. It can already create a random beautiful landscape painting in 1 second.” The result is Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, meets Adventure Time, meets Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Cavalcade is a dynamic, hellacious, and inventive follow-up to black midi’s debut, Schlagenheim, one of 2019’s most widely-praised albums. Cavalcade scales beautiful new heights, pulling widely from a plethora of genres and influences, reaching ever upwards from an already lofty base of early achievements. black midi — Geordie Greep (guitar, primary vocals), Cameron Picton (bass, vocals), and Morgan Simpson (drums) — picture Cavalcade as a line of larger than life figures, from a cult leader fallen on hard times and an ancient corpse found in a diamond mine to legendary cabaret singer Marlene Dietrich, strolling seductively past them.
Mon. Oct. 4 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Thu. Oct. 7 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
Fri. Oct. 8 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
Sat. Oct. 9 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s
Mon. Oct. 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe
Tue. Oct. 12 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
Thu. Oct. 14 – Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s
Fri. Oct. 15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
Sat. Oct. 15 – Kingston, NY @ Tubby’s
Mon. Oct. 18 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Tue. Oct. 19 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Thu. Oct. 21 – Baltimore, MD @ Union Brewery
Sat. Oct. 23 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle Tavern
Tue. Oct. 26 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
Wed. Oct. 27 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic
Fri. Oct. 29 – Austin, TX @ ??????????
Sat. Oct. 30 – Houston, TX @ The Secret Group