Tuesday 9 July 2019, 7.30pm
“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
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 five feature length films including the award-winning films Life Itself, The Interrupters and The Trials of Muhammad Ali.
Since 2011 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.
Joshua Abrams / guimbri and double bass
Lisa Alvarado / harmonium and gong
Jason Stein / bass clarinet
Mikel Avery / drums
"If you've ever been tempted by free improvisation, Parker is your gateway drug." - Stewart Lee
Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s. Parker played with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation and held a long-standing partnership with guitarist Derek Bailey. The two formed the Music Improvisation Company and later Incus Records. He also has tight associations with European free improvisations - playing on Peter Brötzmann's legendary 'Machine Gun' session (1968), with Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens (A trio that continues to this day), Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO).
Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance-state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time.