This special bundle collects both the Joshua Abrams LPs reissued by Aguirre, namely the following:
Natural Information (2010)
Since his emergence on the Chicago scene during the 1990s, the bassist and composer, Joshua Abrams, has woven a quiet and incongruous path. He is one of those rare talents who seems to place himself entirely in the service of music. Remarkably prolific, creatively ambitious, and seemingly indifferent to categorization or genre, it is as likely to encounter him working in joint collaboration or helping realize the work of others, as it is to find him pursuing his own singular vision. While never lacking for a devoted following, it wasn’t until Abrams’ 2010 LP, Natural Information, and its follow up, 2012’s Represencing - the beginnings of a new phase in his work - that wider audiences began to stand up and take note. Originally issued by Eremite Records in tiny editions, both vinyl pressings sold out almost immediately and have remained out of print ever since, frustrating fans far and wide. Now, thankfully, Aguirre has taken up the call and reissued both of these absolutely essential, stunning gems. Writhing with rhythmic joy and sublime artistry, neither can be missed.
Natural Information (2010)
Joshua Abrams began turning heads shortly after his arrival in Chicago, playing with Tortoise, Hamid Drake, Sam Prekop, David Grubbs, Brokeback, and within the groundbreaking ensemble, Town & Country, with Ben Vida, Liz Payne, Jim Dorling, as well as filling the slot as the house bass player at Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge, arguably the most distinguished free jazz venue in the city. With a practice rooted in experimentation and improvisation, like many of his generation - particular those on the Chicago scene - Abrams has paid little mind to the lines that distinguish musical genres, applying his skills across numerous idioms and approaches, constantly adapting, evolving, and allowing the diversity of his collaborators to push his sounds into an endless series of new territories.
When faced with his work within Town & Country, his endeavors as a leader, and the remarkable array of jointly billed ensembles he’s recorded with over the last 25 years, Abrams has covered a remarkable amount of territory, all of which is worthy of distinction, but it would be hard to point to any as intoxicating as the body of work that began with Natural Information in 2010, now, a decade on, extending across 5 critically acclaimed LPs and a jointly billed collaboration with Bitchin Bajas. Recorded with Frank Rosaly, Noritaka Tanaka, Emmett Kelly, Jason Adasiewicz, and encountering Abrams on a startling array of instrumentation - Bass, Bells, Dulcimer, Guimbri, Sampler, Percussion, Harmonium, Kora, and Synthesizer - Natural Information’s distinctive sound is rooted in the Guimbri - a North African three-stringed bass lute, which Abrams started to play following a visit to Morocco during the late '90s - that lays the beating heart at the root of the album’s two sides.
While very much belonging to the larger body of work that can roughly be aligned with Abrams’ ensemble, the Natural Information Society - a music of intricate hybridity with an irresistible groove, rooted in the sinuous rhythms of the human body - as an album, Natural Information does stand slightly apart from what followed. It is an album rooted somewhere between explicate experimentation, the temperaments of jazz and free jazz, and a musical transnationalism that nods to many traditions while being entirely its own thing. Structure, form, and deep, rhythmic grooves flirt in and out of view, between passages of acoustic, tonal ambience, repetitive minimalism, and heavy jams, forming a totality that has very few equivalents in its diversity and joyous musical expressiveness, beyond, perhaps, the work of Don Cherry. A music that challenges the mind and brings the body to ecstatic states, it’s impossible to recommend Abrams’ Natural Information enough. We’ve been waiting to see it come back since it first dropped, so we’re incredibly crateful to Aguirre for taking up the task. Absolutely incredible and essential on every possible account. Released in an edition of 999 copies on 180gr. vinyl, we can’t imagine it’s going to sit around for long.
By the time Joshua Abrams’ follow up to Natural Information, Represencing, dropped in 2012, things had really started to gel. Recorded in Chicago in the summer of 2011, enlisting saxophonist David Boykin, drummer Chad Taylor and guitarists Jeff Parker and Emmett Kelly, and Lisa Alvarado on harmonium into the ensemble, once again Abrams gives a key role to the guimbri into a kaleidoscopic interplay of rhythm and tone.
Represencing can be regarded as an unfolding bridge toward what has since become the signature sound of Abrams’ ensemble, the Natural Information Society, which began to coalesce during the album’s recording and subsequent tours. This is the sound of an adventure unfolding, hybridizing a near countless number of musical traditions and approaches into a single form - jazz, motoric rock, and minimalism, reconsidered through echoes of African musics and beyond. Nearly a decade later, it remains a strikingly visionary body of creativity and sound, as well as a singular statement by an artist rapidly finding his own distinct voice beyond the territories that he had previously forged.
Raging from minimal, meditative passages and hypnotic metronome, to outright ecstatic jams, Represencing is as intricate as it is intuitively direct, feeling entirely of the present, forward-thinking, and yet somehow like a music that has been with us all along. A truly visionary statement by Abrams that lays the groundwork for so much incredible music that has come since, and will continue to come and melt minds as it goes. Like its predecessor, we’ve been waiting a long time to see this one come back and can’t thank Aguirre enough for making it happen. Absolutely incredible and essential on every possible account. Released in an edition of 999 copies on 180gr. vinyl, we can’t imagine it’s going to sit around for long.