Joshua Abrams developed his voice in the rich ferment of the 1990s Chicago music world, participating heavily across the city’s jazz, experimental & rock scenes. He co-founded the ‘back porch minimalist’ band Town & Country &, with Matana Roberts & Chad Taylor, the trio Sticks & Stones. In a very busy two decades Abrams recorded & toured with a remarkable range of artists including extended engagements with Fred Anderson, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Hamid Drake, Theaster Gates, Neil Michael Hagerty, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Mike Reed, Matana Roberts, & The Roots. Abrams appears on over one hundred recordings. A film composer, Abrams has scored the music for seven feature length films including the award-winning films Life Itself, The Interrupters and The Trials of Muhammad Ali.
Since 2010 Abrams has toured North America & Europe with a shifting-line up of musicians as ‘Natural Information Society’. The band's most recent album, Magnetoception, was selected by The Wire Magazine as the #3 record of 2015 & by Pitchfork as the #2 experimental record of 2015. Abrams assembled Natural Information Society around his interests in the Moroccan instrument the guimbri. The band uses traditional & conventional instrumentation to create long-form intricately psychedelic environments, composed & improvised, which join the hypnotic qualities of Gnawa guimbri music to a wide range of contemporary musics & methodologies including jazz, minimalism & krautrock. Current & former band members include Lisa Alvarado, Jason Adasiewicz, Mikel Avery, Ben Boye, Hamid Drake, Emmett Kelly, Jeff Parker, Frank Rosaly & Chad Taylor. Natural Information Society teamed up with Bitchin Bajas on the collaborative album ‘Automaginary,’ released by drag city in 2015.
-“it’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