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Natural Information Society, 'Stigmergy'

Since 2010, the Chicago-based Joshua Abrams has led Natural Information Society, underpinning original compositions through his undeniable skills on the double bass and guimbri, a North African three-stringed bass lute. From the forthcoming Since Time is Gravity, out April 14, "Stigmergy" finds Abrams and the sympathetic gathering of assembled players improvise a spiraling motif into sheer jazz animism; a slow crackle of each instrument and soloist in an unhurried acknowledgment of the life-force of the actual performance.

Cursory touch points include the moodiest galaxies of Sun Ra, the malleable pieces of Henry Threadgill and the still-underheralded compositions of Horace Tapscott, along with Abrams' long association with Nicole Mitchell, make "Stigmergy" masterful stuff on the level of jazz. Yet the kinetic theme of the song's rewarding 13-minute stroll also pings Abrams' involvement with mercurial post-rock bands Tortoise and Town & Country. Abrams and band don't improvise as much as they coalesce, calibrating "Stigmergy" through an ongoing, call-and-response of tasteful solos, shimmering drones and micro-adjustments of Abrams' ostinato guimbri riff.

Copyright 2023 WJCT News 89.9

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Daniel A. Brown