black midi’s follow-up to Schlagenheim is a dynamic, hellacious, inventive success. Cavalcade, their second studio album for Rough Trade, scales beautiful new heights, reaching ever upwards from an already lofty base of early achievements.
Ground was broken on Cavalcade in those now weird seeming pre-pandemic days of 2019. Songs that had been brewing since the release of Schlagenheim in July began muscling their way onto set lists and finally became individual entities by October, getting refined in between an extensive world tour and a scorching turn at the UK’s Mercury Prize ceremony.
But then, just as they were gearing up to record the album, the pandemic hit. Eventually the band found themselves in the aptly named Hellfire Studios, a remote Irish facility in the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin, wherein you can hear all the planets align for this recording session.
Cavalcade is dynamic in its musical ambition above all else.
black midi listen widely and deeply not just to rock and jazz but to hip hop, electronic dance music, classical, ambient, prog, experimental... and they are quick to bat away any suggestion that it’s a risky strategy drawing from such a wide source of influences. Geordie says simply:“If you worry about that before you start you’re limiting yourself.You have to try because you could either end up with a madman’s breakfast or you could end up with a fantastic kaleidoscope and the only way to find out which one it’s going to be is to try. If you fail, so what? Try again.”
The armory of additional instruments on Cavalcade includes (just to name a few) cello, sax, grand piano, accordion, violin, trombone, two bouzoukis, a late 19th Century zither called a Marxophone, flute, lap steel, synths, and yes, a wok.
Spend some time with Cavalcade and you’ll acknowledge black midi are back with the biggest of bangs.
Hogwash and Balderdash