After years and years of listening to a wide variety of music, sometimes you feel like you’ve heard it all, until something like Dawn of Midi’s “Dysnomia” comes along. This is probably the most unique record to come out so far this year, and also one of the most enjoyable. Usually Dawn of Midi is a modern jazz piano trio with avant-garde and nu jazz leanings, but on “Dysomia”, they put their jazz improvisations aside and perfectly create the sound of a long ambient techno track while using only their chosen acoustic instruments; piano, double bass and drums.
To a lot of jazz fans, the word “techno” probably conjures up images of pulsing dance music that is short on subtleties and big on bludgeoning volume, but like any other musical genre, there is a wide variety in the world of techno music. Some of the most interesting and artistic techno comes from the sub-genres of Detroit techno and ambient techno. In these styles, the available electronics are used to create complex layered poly-rhythms that have more in common with African music or minimalist composers than an all-keyboard 80s new wave band with bad haircuts. Its within this fascinating world of Detroit influenced ambient techno that Dawn of Midi have chosen to make this new CD.
Its truly impressive how these guys use their acoustic instruments to create a minimalist techno effect, and they do it without any cheezy gimmicks. The other impressive fact about “Dysnomia” is that it is entirely through composed and then played live. Although the CD cover lists eight different tracks, they all play straight through without any break and are all connected. The amount of concentration and discipline at work here is incredible. Most of this CD is about rhythm, minimalist figures are introduced which then slowly morph and change while new motifs are introduced, the overall effect is somewhat similar to Steve Reich’s classic “Music for 18 Musicians”.
Overall “Dysnomia” may be a better fit for modern techno fans than jazz fans, I played this for a friend who is into ambient electronica and he not only thought it was an excellent track, but was also surprised it was played live with acoustic instruments. Aside from techno and minimalist fans, anyone interested in something truly new and modern may want to check this out too. One big plus about this album is the musician's skills with precise complicated poly-rhythms, Aakaash Israni, Amino Belyamani and Qasim Naqvi can easily play patterns that are both tricky to pull off and fascinating to listen to. The other big plus on “Dysnomia” is that this is an excellent composition played with clock like precision and framed with perfect icy cool production. I really can’t say enough good things about this CD, its a very impressive and original work.