Joshua Abrams And Natural Information Society Live in Italy


I often find myself drawn to music that defies easy categorization. I’m not sure how I would describe them to someone who had never heard them. “Long-form, minimalist global drone jazz?” Wikipedia gives it a go by quoting them being called “ecstatic minimalism”.[1]

Like the Necks (previously featured here), the group specializes in long-form, minimalist pieces with unfolding and unraveling melodies that trace themselves insight out. The more I think about it, the more I like the descriptor ““ecstatic minimalism”. There is not not only a sense of introspection to these pieces, but there is also certainly ecstasy to be found for those with ears to hear.

The band’s website says:

“Joshua Abrams formed Natural Information Society (NIS) in 2010. With Abrams' orchestration of traditional & contemporary instrumentation, NIS creates long-form psychedelic environments informed by jazz, minimalism & traditional musics.”

The band’s most recent release, the sprawling 81-minute (with none of them wasted) Mandatory Reality is one of the best releases of 2019 and well worth your time. Pitchfork says the album is a “a minimalist mountain of an album, one whose slow pace and gradual changes prove unusually mesmerizing, even sublime.”

Here is the band performing an amazing set earlier this year Dobialab in Italy. Enjoy.

This lineup features:

  • Joshua Abrams - guimbri, contrabbasso

  • Lisa Alvarado - harmonium, gong

  • Jason Stein - clarinetto basso

  • Mikel Avery - batteria