Sam Prekop – Sam Prekop

Featuring Jim O’Rourke, Josh Abrams, Rob Mazurek, Chad Taylor, John McEntire, Julie Pomerleau, & Archer Prewitt

Style: Chamber Pop, Jazz Pop, Lounge Music

Influences: Bossa Nova, Math Rock, Post-Rock

Vibe: Gentle, Breezy, Intricate, Summer, Intertwined, Mellow, Bright, Smooth

Musical Qualities: Lush, Soft, Polished, Melodic

Deep Rotations: 2021 — 50+ Essential Records

a collection of 50+ essential releases from 2021

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Beware

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Loner Folk, Slowcore-Country

Vibes: Contemplative, Bittersweet, Warm, Loner, Mellow, Uplifting, Love, Break-up, Intimate, Heartfelt, Playful, Soothing, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Lyrical, Vocal Harmonies

Mind Maintenance – Mind Maintenance

Joshua Abrams – Guimbri
Chad Taylor – Mbira

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Percussive, Repetitive, Sparse, Acoustic, Minimalist

Natural Information Society with Evan Parker – descension (Out of Our Constrictions

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Ecstatic Post-Minimalism, Psychedelic Trance Music, Gnawa-Influenced

Vibe: Hypnotic, Meditative, Psychedelic, Ecstatic, Spiritual, Cathartic, Mosaic,

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Live, Minimalistic, Acoustic, Instrumental, Polyphonic, Polyrhythmic, Repetitive

Instrumentation: Guimbri, Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Harmonium, Drums

Joshua Abrams – Natural Information

Style: Psychedelic Trance Music, Avant-Jazz, Creative Music, Post-Minimalism

Influences: Gnawa, Spiritual Jazz, Raga, Kosmische Musik

Vibe: Earthy, Hypnotic, Meditative, Cosmic, Psychedelic, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Tribal

Musical Attributes: Polyrhythmic, Acoustic, Minimalistic, Improvisation, Percussive, Instrumental

Josh Abrams & Natural Information Society

Style: Psychedelic Jazz, Creative Music, Post-Minimalism

Influences: Gnawa, Kosmische Music, Spiritual Jazz, Minimalism

Vibe: Earthy, Hypnotic, Exploratory, Mysterious, Ritualistic, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Improvisation, Minimalistic, Percussive, Polyrhythmic

Deep Rotations: 2019 — 40+ Essential Records + Mixtape

40+ album released in 2019 worthy of some deep listening, plus an accompanying mixtape recorded straight from these records

David Grubbs – The Thicket

On experimental musician David Grubb’s first dedicated songwriter outing, he synthesizes technical bluegrass banjo and fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing with imaginative arrangements, abrupt stylistic shifts, philosophical questioning lyrics, improvisation, and drones. Featured musicians include drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), bassist Josh Abrams (Natural Information Society), and drone violinist Tony Conrad.

Brokeback – Field Recordings from the Cook County Water Table

Doug McComb’s first album as Brokeback is imbued with pastoral Impressionism, experimentalism, and a sense of Zen contentment. The record is mostly centered around his Bass VI, a short-scale bass with six strings that is trebly enough to function in both guitar and bass roles. This versatile instrument is usually wet with chorus and reverb that sculpt a fluid, aquatic tone to complement the slow, tranquil melodies. Outside of some solo pieces Doug is joined by a variety of accompaniment including lap steel guitar, synth, upright bass, Rhodes, vocals from Mary Hansen, and light percussion provided by producer/Tortoise bandmate John McEntire. This is a record that can be appreciated from a passive impressionistic standpoint, as well as under the microscopic attention of an engaged ear. (Follow link for full review)

Recommended for fans of Tortoise or Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western soundtracks

Natural Information Society & Bitchin Bajas – Automaginary

On Automaginary, the Gnawa-inspired cosmic jazz of Natural Information Society is augmented by the flowing textures of Chicago new age trio Bitchin Bajas to create an album of enveloping drones and trance-inducing rhythms. (Follow link for full Review)

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – Simultonality

Over the past decade, Josh Abrams has been using his guimbri to create music inspired by the ceremonial music of the Gnawa in North Africa, infusing it with a wide variety of influences from kosmische to minimalism to the avant-garde jazz of his local scene in Chicago. On this album, the focus is on “pure motion” driven by double drummers hypnotically interlocking with guimbri, guitar, keys and harmonium. Each individual plays unique rhythmic figures that push and pull against each other like polyrhythmic tectonic plates, creating constantly changing, yet circular grooves.

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – Magnetoception

Meditative jazz explorations of space, rhythm and textures inspired by Miles Davis’ ambient jazz pieces, Gnawa ceremonial music of North Africa, the spiritual jazz of Pharoah Sanders and Don Cherry, and the mutating minimalism of Steve Reich.

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