Three Beats: The WZRD DJ lockout grinds on | Three Beats | Chicago Reader

Three Beats: The WZRD DJ lockout grinds on 

Plus: Joshua Abrams goes full guimbri, and Emperor finally introduce their amp heads

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Page 2 of 3

click to enlarge Represencing
  • Represencing

JAZZ: Joshua Abrams goes full guimbri on the new Natural Information Society album

Bassist Joshua Abrams has just released Re­presencing (Eremite), the second album by his Natural Information Society. He's the sole constant member, and as he did on its 2010 debut, Natural Information, he references ritual trance music: most of the pieces churn hypnotically on a single chord. For the new album Abrams sticks to the twangy, three-stringed Moroccan guimbri, establishing his most explicit link yet to the spiritual music of that country's Gnawa people. "I feel sensitive about the connection to the Gnawa because of the guimbri, but I try to approach its spirit with sincerity," he says. "I surround it with different instruments so that it reads different."

The instrumentation varies from track to track, and includes contributions from reedists David Boykin and Jason Stein, guitarists Emmett Kelly and Jeff Parker, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and percussionists Chad Taylor, Michael Zerang, and Mikel Avery. Live performances rarely use the same lineup twice. "I wanted to make music where I could bring in many people, to have it be musically open, yet still have compositions and be focused," Abrams says. Represencing was recorded in Abrams's home studio during summer 2011 (in contrast to the group's debut, cut in four locations over a couple years), and despite its richer variety of tones and textures it feels more cohesive. The music no longer sounds like it's from a particular place—Abrams may have Gnawa traditions in his head, but they come out transformed.

Abrams will be joined by Kelly, autoharp player Ben Boye, keyboardist Jim Baker, harmonium player Lisa Alvarado, and drummer Frank Rosaly at the Empty Bottle on Thu 10/4 (part of Adventures in Modern Music), and that same lineup plus Boykin will play a record-release show at the Hideout on Wed 10/10.

Peter Margasak

Next: New amp heads from Emperor Music

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
March 19 1
Performing Arts
April 10

Popular Stories