Black Midi

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black midi
Black Midi performing in Helsinki in 2019. From left to right: Cameron Picton, Geordie Greep, Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, and Morgan Simpson.
Black Midi performing in Helsinki in 2019. From left to right: Cameron Picton, Geordie Greep, Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, and Morgan Simpson.
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Years active2017 (2017)–present
Labels
Associated actsDamo Suzuki
Websitehttps://bmblackmidi.com/
Members
  • Geordie Greep
  • Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin
  • Cameron Picton
  • Morgan Simpson

Black Midi (stylised as black midi) are an English rock band from London, formed in 2017. The band consists of Geordie Greep (vocals, guitar), Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin (vocals, guitar), Cameron Picton (vocals, bass, synths) and Morgan Simpson (drums). Their name is derived from the Japanese music genre Black MIDI. Their sound has been described as experimental rock,[1] math rock,[2] noise rock,[3] and post-punk.[4]

The band began on producer Dan Carey's record label Speedy Wunderground, through which they released their debut single "bmbmbm" in 2018. They released their debut studio album, Schlagenheim, which was produced by Carey, on 21 June 2019, through Rough Trade Records. It received critical acclaim,[5] entered the top-50 of the UK Albums Chart, and was nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize.

History[edit]

Formation and first singles (2015–2019)[edit]

Prior to the formation of the band, Geordie Greep had separate jam sessions with Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin and Morgan Simpson, all of whom (alongside Cameron Picton) were attending BRIT School.[3]. Simpson was an accomplished drummer, winning the "Young Drummer Of The Year" award in 2014. In 2016 Greep and Kwasniewski-Kelvin enlisted Simpson to form a band, with Greep and Kelvin on guitar and vocals, and with Simpson on drums. Picton joined later, on bass guitar, to complete the line-up.[6]. The band played their first gig at Brixton's venue 'The Windmill', in june 2017. They would go on to earn a "residence" on the venue and perform there regularly, developing their live performance skills.

On 8 June 2018, the group released their debut single titled "Bmbmbm" released on producer Dan Carey's record label Speedy Wunderground.[7] On 26 September 2018, a cassette was released featuring segments of a performance with Damo Suzuki which took place on 5 May 2018 at 'The Windmill', where by this time they were regular performers . On 9 November 2018, Black Midi performed five songs from their then untitled upcoming album, live at Kex Hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the music festival Iceland Airwaves.[8] The eccentric performance, which was recorded for the Seattle radio station KEXP, was praised online and became popular on YouTube, exposing the band to listeners internationally.[9][10] On 23 January 2019, the group released their second single, "Speedway". A 12" vinyl record was released featuring remixes by Proc Fiskal, Kwake Bass, and Blanck Mass.[11]

Schlagenheim (2019–present)[edit]

In January 2019 the group announced that they had signed to Rough Trade Records. The group released two singles on the label in March and April 2019, "Crows Perch" and "Talking Heads" respectively. On 14 May, the group announced their debut album titled Schlagenheim, which was released 21 June 2019. The album was recorded in 2018 with producer Dan Carey, who became impressed by the band at an early live show.[12] Instead of merely recreating their live show, they chose to augment their sound with piano, accordion, synthesisers, banjo, and drum machines. "The idea was to do stuff that's impossible to do live," frontman Greep explained. "If the album and the gig are just the same, it's a bit sad."[13] The majority of the album was recorded in just five days.[14] At Metacritic, a website that assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, Schlagenheim received a score of 82, based on 20 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[15] The album was later nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize.[16]

On 5 June 2020, the band released a jam and spoken word album via Bandcamp entitled The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge, consisting of four short stories read by the members of the band over jam instrumentals as well as three instrumental mixes mostly taken from the same recordings as the spoken word tracks.[17][18]

Members[edit]

Current Members[edit]

  • Geordie Greep – vocals, guitar
  • Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin – vocals, guitar
  • Cameron Picton – vocals, bass, synths, samples
  • Morgan Simpson – drums


Black Midi performing at Rough Trade, London, 25th June 2019.

Touring Members[edit]

  • Seth Evans - keyboards, synths (February-March 2020)[19]
  • Kaidi Akinnibi - saxophone (February-March 2020)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[20]
BEL
(FL)

[21]
SCO
[22]
US
Indie

[23]
Schlagenheim 43 113 40 41

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays
Title Album details
Live at KEXP
  • Released: 21 June 2019
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Format: CD
Live on Canal St, NYC
  • Released: 29 November 2019
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Format: LP
The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge
  • Released: 5 June 2020
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Download

Live albums[edit]

List of extended plays
Title Album details
Damo Suzuki Live at the Windmill Brixton with 'Sound Carriers' black midi
(with Damo Suzuki)
  • Released: 28 September 2018
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CD
Black Midi Live in the USA
  • Released: 21 March 2020
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Download

Singles[edit]

Title Year Album
"bmbmbm" 2018 Schlagenheim
"Speedway" 2019
"Crow's Perch" N/A
"Talking Heads"[24] N/A
"Ducter"[25] Schlagenheim
"7-Eleven"
"Sweater" 2020 N/A

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cubbison, Jeff. "Review: Black Midi at Zebulon". Impose. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Black Midi Share New Track 'Talking Heads' | Gigwise". Gigwise.com. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b Leas, Ryan. "Band To Watch: Black Midi". Stereogum.com. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Black Midi – "Talking Heads"". Spin. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Schlagenheim by Black Midi Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  6. ^ Connick, Tom. "Inside the buzz of Black Midi". Crackmagazine.net. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  7. ^ Renshaw, David. "Get ready for Black Midi to blow you away with "bmbmbm"". Thefader.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  8. ^ "black midi – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)". 28 January 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  9. ^ "KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2018, Day 4: Black Midi". Kexp.com. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Get to Know black midi, a New Type of British Guitar Band". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  11. ^ Connick, Tom. "Black Midi are back with 'Speedway' – and the UK's weirdest band are only getting weirder". NME. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Get to Know black midi, a New Type of British Guitar Band". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Get to Know black midi, a New Type of British Guitar Band". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Black Midi Announce Debut Album Schlagenheim". Paste. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Schlagenheim by Black Midi Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  16. ^ Bloom, Madison; Monroe, Jazz. "Mercury Prize 2019 Shortlist: The 1975, slowthai, Black Midi, More". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  17. ^ Martin, Josh (6 June 2020). "Black Midi share jam spoken word album 'The Black Midi Anthology Vol. 1: Tales of Suspense and Revenge'". NME. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  18. ^ Kaye, Ben (5 June 2020). "black midi Read Classic Short Stories on New Album Tales of Suspense and Revenge: Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  19. ^ "black midi 2020 tour". black midi. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Black Midi | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Discografie Black Midi". Ultratop. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100 | 28 June 2019 - 04 July 2019". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Black Midi Independent Albums Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  24. ^ "black midi Announce New Album Schlagenheim". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  25. ^ "black midi – Ducter". Retrieved 23 August 2019 – via YouTube.