A little savagery is good for the soul. Maybe not a steady diet, but at least a healthy dose every now and again. Musical savagery: sounds that strike bluntly and forcefully, knock you off your center of gravity, knock you off your feet, on to your ass. A few bruises delivered via headphones. The thing is though, if music that does violence isn’t your main thing, not something that you take like regular medicine to get some sort of fix, then you may be discerning about what kind of blunt instrument you are being bludgeoned with. There is noise everywhere. Which noise is my noise? A question that has different answers at different times, different hours, different days. The discovery of a new kind of noise is never something to be taken lightly.
Mi Ami’s noise is vigilant noise, hammering and battering things and ears, hypnotically drawing the spectator/listener/victim down with an irresistible black gravity. How am I spacing out and being violated at the same time? A question that I ask myself in the midst of the barrage. The spectator watching the listener, closely monitoring his reaction and slipping away at the points when the spectator and the listener verge—where they both get lost in the music. Something primal; something pleasurably vertiginous. Is this a new form of water sport? There is the sensation of being crushed beneath the force of falling water, of looking up and seeing shards of liquid traversed by bands of blinding light.
Guitar noise: squeals, drones, waves, stabs. That much is clear from track one, single one, “Echonoecho”—a dubby bassline, subaqueous in the mix, some frantic mildly sociopathic vocals calling out into any-void-whatever, and explosions of maniacally orchestrated percussion. Banging on things and ears. No surprise that Awesome Tapes from Africa gets some love on their Myspace page, filed under influences. File under influences well incorporated and assimilated to a fierce new aesthetic. These songs have lyrics but, in all honesty, the ones that remain in mind after you’ve been blasted by this record a few times are “echo” and “I feel the pressure coming down on me,” the latter from a patiently building spasmodic twist neatly titled, “Pressure.”
Watersports comes on the heels of a couple singles—”African Rhythms” and “Ark of the Covenent”—and a Mi Ami mix also featured prominently on the remix 12-inch of Telepathe’s “Devil’s Trident.” Daniel Martin-McCormick’s voice is reminiscent of the screeching of a feral cat. If for a moment this grates, soon it becomes a happy part of the songs’ gradual accumulation of space, texture, and volume. “New Guitar” is the record’s most visceral, constant guitar freak-out before it spills over and rides a mesmerically pulsating bassline back into the desert emptiness. At moments, a lot of moments, things get heavy, paranoia prevails, but there’s always something hooky and grooving around the bend.
Mi Ami are doing something that needs to be done. No name for it. Just visceral and psychical responses, really. “Peace Talks/Downer” closes the record down on those terms. A straight beat and reverb-heavy guitars that drift across a narcotically lit space that just keeps extending into less and less defined territory, piles of percussion driving everything further, man, further. Then, the lights come on. You open your eyes. You’ve been through something.
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