Qasim Naqvi plays drums in the band Dawn of MIDI, but here he strikes out solo for a release on the generally excellent NNA Tapes. Preamble shows off a more compositional side, using plenty more than just percussion. And apparently, NNA are issuing CDs now as well, for those of you who scorn the cassette.
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 20 January 2016
This one here is that man that is responsible for the mechanical drumming on Dawn of Midi’s debut record Dysnomia out last year. If you haven’t heard it already, open a new tab and have a good ol’ listen, because that’s one polyrhythmic vortex that is not worth missing. His drumming in that is so precise, so hypnotic that it’s a surprise to hear gently undulating woodwinds and strings on the opening track of Preamble.
But Qasim Naqvi isn’t as one-dimensional as that; in fact, so far, I’ve not encountered a single regular rhythm. The aforementioned undulations disappear into a cloud of pizzicato before the piano opens with some chords that more than tread into dissonant wastes, then the pizzicato cloud becomes a voyage through a pizzicato vista; it’s a good thing that plucking strings sounds amazing, particularly with the quality recording on here, in a church no less. The record inherits quite a lot from 20th century classical, with sparse, cautious figures that just about stay in key, but with more than a few dark notes. I’d say it combines the surreal haze of Debussy with Xenakis’ less intense works such as Pithoprakta, but I’m no music scholar.
It’s no surprise that this is the soundtrack to a film installation, called ‘City and the City’. And it’s also perhaps not unexpected for a member of Dawn of Midi to make this; their sound does have the air of classical musicians gone modern/mad, and Naqvi simply applies his abstract approach to rhythm to the melodies of a small chamber group instead. Easy, really. Well, for those that can handle modern classical stuff that doesn’t sound like it was composed by Satan himself (yeah, I’m looking at you Stravinsky), then delve right in to this one’s gentle folds.
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- Preamble by Qasim Naqvi
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