I first heard the name of Brooklyn-based piano trio Dawn of Midi when they opened a Nils Frahm gig in New York. I jotted down their name, however, it wasn’t until a month ago I could listen to their debut album “Dysnomia”, which immediately absorbed me. Dawn of Midi are comprised of Amino Belyamani on piano, Aakaash Israni on double bass and Qasim Naqvi on drums, all of whom come from different backgrounds – Pakistan, India, and Morocco respectively. According to the interviews that I read on the internet, “the band started sometime in late 2007, after an epic 4 am tennis doubles match.” Apart from that, of course, they knew each other well as they were also students at Calarts, however, they didn’t start playing together until they had been friends for about six months.
“Dysnomia” exhibits a hypnotic mix of rhythm, melody and beat, which is hard to describe but may be defined as a great territory surrounded by jazz, electronica, acoustic and dance music. In an interview Amino says that ” The focus is taste. If something tastes good, then you keep cooking it and keep eating it.” while trying to explain why there is not just one focal style. The album making process took them almost two years, which explains the precision and flow of the songs. In addition, they practised in pitch darkness which led them to draw heavily on their ears and intuition. Amino puts it very nicely in an interview saying that “The aesthetic comes from improv, but the content comes from dreams.” It is an album in which the rhythm is the defining element and the rest wraps around it. The musicians have chosen a path where patterns repeat and change continuously within some muted strings, a wide range of beats and grooves emerging from single note repercussions, all of which make it impossible to track improvisations, solos or melodic motifs. When I first listened to the album, I did not realize that it has a tracklist as for me it was like The Necks’ “Open”. The band supported my opinion with these words by Amino and Qasim from an interview “Amino: Starting from the first motif that would lead to Dysnomia, it only took a year to make and not a lot was scrapped or re-written, it was more of an additive process. Qasim: It was probably the most challenging and at times the most draining experience of my life. Taking an improvisors mind or a mind that feels most comfortable creating parts in the moment and completely reprogramming it to produce very precise, completely worked out music in the form of one continues 48 minute long piece is not an easy thing. It required a lot of rehearsals and moving past just counting all the time.”
In my opinion, Dysnomia is one of the most exciting albums of the year. Aakaash reveals the mystery by saying that ” The only hidden element in a magic act is labor.” It is a kind of exploration of genresphere through a tough trial period which finds its own way using only piano, contrabass, and drums to create a set of finely composed music that easily makes you move in a transcendental way. Cutting-edge and subtle, Dysnomia is a compelling album to listen.
The interview can be read here.