Natural Information Society

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  • Chicago

Record Labels

Artist Biography

Since 2010, Joshua Abrams has composed, recorded & toured with a shifting ensemble of musicians known as Natural Information Society (NIS) .  Grounded in Abrams' interwoven mutilayered compositions,  the group's long-form environments have been described as ecstatic minimalism. NIS navigates forms that emphasize collective listening & simultaneous differences while building a space that is both meditative & propulsive.

Lisa Alvarado’s hanging paintings create a visual analog to the music & recontextualize performance space.  Her work appears on the covers of every NIS release including all of their six current Eremite Records & their 2015 collaboration with Bitchin Bajas on Drag City Records.

Current & former band members include Lisa Alvarado, Jason Adasiewicz, Mikel Avery, Ben Boye, Hamid Drake, Ben Lamar Gay, Emmett Kelly, Norberto Lobo, Artur Majewski, Nick Mazzarella, Jeff Parker, Frank Rosaly, Mai Sugimoto, Jason Stein, Kuba Suchar, Nori Tanaka, Chad Taylor & Michael Zerang.

Outside of NIS Abrams has played & recorded with a broad range of artists including Fred Anderson, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Nicole Mitchell & The Roots. He has composed scores to ten feature films including the Oscar nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.  Abrams was a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2018 Grants to Artists award.

Selected Press’s patient, layered music that’s always heading somewhere, sometimes spare and sometimes complex and shimmering.
Ben Ratliff, New York Times
Abrams discovers new levels of mood and tone; his pieces seem to escape time completely.
Marc Masters, Pitchfork
It feels startlingly new, in terms of how the music is extrapolated, how the players relate, even as it feels like an ur-music, primal, body-centered, essential.
David Keenan, The Wire
The first live recording of the NIS, this is a performance of extraordinary power and vision, its relationship to the music of John Coltrane almost always magical. Occasionally there will be direct quotations (as with A Love Supreme’s principal motif appearing at the end of part two), but this is not some kind of successful imitation. Rather, it’s genetic fraternity, Parker and Abrams, Stein, Alvarez, and Avery crossing boundaries, arriving in that special otherness, that same Interzone once called “India.”
Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure