What goes on within the walls of the BRIT School? It cannot be by chance: a school attended by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Adele, King Krule, Loyle Carner and Rex Orange County is not just any school. It just can’t be. The latest link in the apparently infinite chain of young talent to come out of that London performing arts school is called black midi.
Suddenly in these days of the selfie, a band; a band like the bands of yesteryear. Now that all the sounds in the world can be found on a mobile app, now that the new boy/girl bands only have one member, maybe the real transgression is these four kids carrying their guitars, bass and drum kit. Geordie Greep, Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin, Cameron Picton and Morgan Simpson became black midi after meeting in the classrooms of the BRIT School while studying music, but you could probably do what they do with practice but it is definitely outside the curriculum. The perfectly ordered chaos (or perfectly chaotic order, whatever) that is lurking in their recently released debut album, Schlagenheim, seems to come more out of intuition than out of tuition: that absolutely free bringing up to date of math rock seems to come naturally to them.
What happens in the songs that make up Schlagenheim, is exactly what happens to any kid the same age as the members of black midi: they don’t really know what direction to go in nor what they want to be and that is precisely their greatest asset. They speed up, slow down, start moving forwards again; do a u-turn, leap; go one way… then change their minds and swerve the other way in a skid. It is not easy to keep up with them but it is worth trying: it always ends up being very exciting.
El Sol, Madrid (Tuesday / 24-9-2019)