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Abrams, Joshua Natural Information Society: Simultonality (Tak:Til/Glitterbeat Records)

Chicago bassist and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams follows up his incredible "Simultonality" album with this faster-paced album recorded with his Natural Information Society, joining traditional music, American minimalism & jazz with the gnawa ceremonial instrument the guimbri.

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product information:

UPC: 4030433604823

Label: Tak:Til/Glitterbeat Records
Catalog ID: GB 048CD
Squidco Product Code: 23859

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in Chicago & Montreal, in 2014 & 2015.


Joshua Abrams-guimbri, bass, small harp, bells

Lisa Alvarado-harmonium, Leslie, percussion

Michael Avery-drums, percussion

Ben Boye-chromatic electric autoharp, piano, Wurlitzer

Ari Brown-tenor saxophone

Emmett Kelly-electric guitar

Frank Rosaly-drums, percussion, resonator bells

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Artist Biographies:

"Bassist, Composer Joshua Abrams has been in the thick of chicago's vibrant music scene for fifteen years, playing & recording as leader & sideman in projects across the genres. he co-founded the "back porch minimalist" band town & country (thrill jockey/box media) & with Matana Roberts & Chad Taylor the trio sticks & stones (thrill jockety/482 music). He has released four records under his own name as well as two under the moniker "reminder" that navigate the realms of jazz & improvisation, electro-acoustic composition, beatmaking, minimalism and field recordings (eremite/delmark/eastern developments/lucky kitchen). He has appeared on over 50 recordings including records by Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake & Bindu, Bonny "prince" Billy, Nicole Mitchell Black Earth Ensemble and Black Earth Strings, Sam Prekop, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, Ernest Dawkins Chicago 12, Savath & Savalis, Prefuse 73, Rhys Chatham, Rob Mazurek, Tortoise, the Roots, Edith Frost, Mia Doi Todd, Diverse, Joan of Arc, Lorren Mazzacane Connors, David Grubbs, David Boykin, Chris Conelly, & the Cairo Gang. He has performed with Roscoe Mitchell, Bill Dixon, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson trio, John Tchicai, the Exploding Star Orchestra, Henry Grimes, Axel Dorner, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Peter Evans, Damo Suzuki, Wilbert de Joode, Jandek, Walter Wierbos, Tony Conrad, Bobby Broom, Sean Bergin, Nate Wooley, Craig Taborn, David Stakenas, Fred Hopkins, Rhys Chatham, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Neil Michael Hagerty, Lin Halliday, Raymond Strid, Douglas Ewart, Toumani Diabate, the Chicago Underground Orchestra, Ron Dewar, Baby d, Kevin Drumm, Terry x, Frederick Lvunquist, Jim o'Rourke, Kurt Vonnegut, & Earle Brown. When in chicago he plays weekly with Jeff Parker and John Herndon."

-Nicole Mitchell Website (

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"Lisa Alvarado is a member of the music ensemble Natural Information Society, playing harmonium + percussion and staging her painted backdrops in performances.

Lisa has recently exhibited and performed in The Freedom principle : Experiments in Art and Music 1965 to Now, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago & Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Material Issue, KMAC Museum, Louisville; Serralves em Festa, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto; FIMAV Victoriaville Festival; Fylkingen, Stockholm; Issue Project Room, New York; Mona Bismarck Center, Paris; Cafe Oto, London + others.

She has performed in works by artists such as Simon Starling's At Twilight: A play for two actors, three musicians, one dancer, eight masks (and a donkey costume), The Common Guild, Glasgow & Japan Society, New York; with Theaster Gates and The Black Monks of Mississippi in The Black Monastic residency, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto; 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, Documenta 13, Kassel; The Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge and in Doug Aitken's Station to Station Films.

Her work has been included in Art Record Covers, Taschen books, Cologne and The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, MCA Chicago and the University of Chicago Press. Natural Information Society music can be found on Eremite Records, Drag City Records, Tak:til Records, itunes and booking with Filho Unico."

-Lisa Alvarado Website (

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"Ben Boye is a Chicago-based improvisational keyboard/autoharp player who has worked with numerous jazz, indie rock, and folk musicians."

-All Music (

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"Ari Brown (born February 1, 1944) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist and pianist.

Brown grew up in Chicago and attended Wilson College, where he met musicians such as Jack DeJohnette, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, and Joseph Jarman. He played piano in R&B and soul outfits into the 1960s, then switched to saxophone in 1965. He joined the AACM in 1971, and also played with The Awakening in the early 1970s. In 1974 he lost several teeth in a car crash, and temporarily switched to piano again until he recovered. He played sax later in the 1970s with McCoy Tyner, Don Patterson, and Sonny Stitt. In the 1980s, he worked with Lester Bowie, Von Freeman, Bobby Watson, and Anthony Braxton, and in 1989 he became a member of Kahil El'Zabar's trio."

-Wikipedia (

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"Emmett Kelly is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist from Van Nuys, California. He is the primary songwriter and recording artist of The Cairo Gang, and has contributed vocal and instrumental work to a variety of international musical projects, appearing on recordings by the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Azita, Joan of Arc, Angel Olsen, Edith Frost, Women and Children, John Webster Johns, Jeff Harms, Chicago poet/singer Marvin Tate, Matteah Baim, Japanese musician Takuma Watanabe, and Joshua Abrams. Kelly has toured in several of the aforementioned acts in addition to with Sonny Smith, Baby Dee, Beth Orton, and Terry Reid; and in other instances, performed live with Scott Tuma, Joan of Arc, and Pillars and Tongues. He is also one half of the band The Surf, The Sundried, and a founding member of Chicago's Psychojail.

In 2016, Kelly was a member of garage rock musician Ty Segall's backing band The Muggers, formed following the release of the studio album, Emotional Mugger. Continuing to work with Segall, Kelly contributed to the recording of his ninth studio album, Ty Segall (2017), and is currently a member of his backing band, The Freedom Band.

Emmett's primary focus is his band, The Cairo Gang, which released its self-titled debut album on Narnack Records in 2006. The Disneyland Reform Party, a label started by Kelly and New York artist, Stasiu Tokarski, released 2008's Twyxt Wyrd, which was subsequently released as a limited edition LP by Sheffield, UK's The Blackest Rainbow. Following Twyxt Wyrd, Kelly released the home recorded Holy Clover EP on San Francisco's Empty Cellar Records and Coventry, UK's Tin Angel.

The Cairo Gang has toured with notable acts such as The Fall, OCS, Baby Dee, and Pillars and Tongues.

Kelly has been a frequent collaborator of Will Oldham's (A.K.A. Bonnie "Prince" Billy), and has lent his vocals and guitar to his recordings and performances since Oldham's 2006 album, The Letting Go. In 2010 Drag City released the critically acclaimed album, The Wonder Show of the World, which featured compositional work by Kelly as The Cairo Gang, along with the single, Midday/You Win, and the 10'', Island Brothers/New Wonder."

-Wikipedia (

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"Frank Rosaly (Francisco Javier Rosaly Amoros Rosello - b. 5/30/74 Phoenix, AZ) is a drummer and composer living in Chicago. He has been involved in the improvised and experimental music community since 2001 where he has become an integral part of Chicago's musical fabric, navigating a fine line between the vibrant improvised music, experimental, rock and jazz communities. He contributes much of his time to performing, composing, teaching, as well as organizing musical events, while also touring regularly domestically and internationally.

Frank is currently active in many projects throughout Chicago as well as New York and in Europe. Some groups include Bobby Bradford/Frode Gjerstad Quartet, Matana Robert's Chicago Project, Rob Mazurek's Mandarin Movie, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten Quintet, Scorch Trio, Nicole Mitchell Ice Crystal Quartet, Jason Stein Quartet, Jeff Parker/Nels Cline Quartet, Josh Abrams' Natural Information Society, Fred Lonberg-Holm's Valentine Trio, Keefe Jackson's Project Project, The Fast Citizens, The Jeb Bishop Trio, Jason Adasievicz's Rolldown, Jorrit Dijkstra's Flatlands Collective, Chicago Lucern Exchange, Hearts and Minds, Slow Cycle, Outskirts, Darren Johnston's Chicago Quintet, Anchor and others."

-Frank Rosaly Website (

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track listing:

1. Maroon Dune 9:05

2. Ophiuchus 7:24

3. St. Cloud 4:20

4. Sideways Fall 12:11

5. 2128.5 9:03
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The follow-up to Joshua Abrams's critically acclaimed 2015 album Magnetoception. Simultonality, credited to Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society (NIS), is the first recording in the project's nine year, four album history made by a regularly gigging manifestation rather than a special assembly of friends. Recorded in 2014 & 2015 in single takes by the full ensemble during & after tours of the U.S. & Canada, Simultonality sets out new pathways for Abrams & the NIS to reach the next summit, & once more affirms the project's unique approach to joining traditional musics, American minimalism & jazz with the gnawa ceremonial instrument the guimbri.

Stasis, continuity & repetition, central qualities of abrams language, defined Magnetoception, a double album of beautifully spacious & unhurried music that rated high on both Pitchfork "the out door" & the Wire's lists of the best records of 2015. These same qualities form the heart of Abrams's music on Simultonality. But where abrams once said Magnetoception is about "winter & death," Simultonality -in Abrams's words- is an album of "pure motion." Without sounding frenetic it is the most explosive NIS music on record, & without sounding over-determined it is Abrams's most structured & thru-composed music yet. Much of it is also fast ("the last record was slow"), a mass of densely patterned elements swiftly orbiting constantly reconfiguring centers that are variously harmonic & rhythmic, clearly stated or implied. While so teeming & tightly packed as to sometimes seem impossible to parse, the music is at no time any more disorderly than a colony of bees pollinating a vast garden. Its many moving parts function in mutualistic relationship toward fulfilling abrams's long stated intention for the project: To help listener's achieve a meditative center & to consciously use music as a gateway to living. Abrams credits the great bassist & composer William Parker as an inspiration for this intention.

The musicians on simultonality date back to the nascency of NIS. Along with Hamid Drake, Mikel Avery & Frank Rosaly are Abrams first-call drummers for the project. Abrams prefers two or more drummers in NIS whenever possible. On Simultonality, Avery is in the left channel, Rosaly the right. The metallic shaker sound sometimes heard in the center of the stereo image is the rattle attached to Abrams's guimbri. Astute heads may recognize the rhythm in "sideways fall" as Jaki Leibezeit's drum break in Can's "Vitamin C." at Abrams behest the two drummers divided the beat into separate parts. According to Hamid Drake the rhythm was popularized, if not originated, by John "Jabo" Starks & Clyde Stubblefield of the J.B.'s. Nearly ten years into its existence, Abrams & the NIS wear their influences with creativity & ease.

Long standing NIS members Ben Boye & Emmett Kelly were previously together with Abrams, or not, in Bonnie Prince Billy's band, & Abrams & Boye have at different times played in Kelly's band the Cairo Gang (Boye & Kelly are presently in Ty Segall's Freedom Band). Harmonium player Lisa Alvarado also contributes the large format pattern paintings used by NIS at concerts & for its album covers.

A note on Simultonality's Closer, "2128½ South Indiana". Abrams is back on bass, as he was in the 1990s when serving as house bassist for the weekly session at Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge (address 2128½ South Indiana Ave, Chicago). At the end of the night Anderson often played Alice Coltrane's Journey in Satchidananda as he re-stocked the bar & the musicians packed up their instruments. The open-form group improv that starts the piece makes explicit Abrams & NIS's roots in free music culture, until the journey to the spirit of Fred Anderson & back to the glory of the Velvet Lounge begins. Guest artist Ari Brown's gently wheeling, prayerful solo comes from way deep inside Chicago's heavyweight tenor saxophone history."-Eremite

Also available on vinyl LP.
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Septet recordings
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