Constellation hasn’t hosted a New Year’s Eve bash since the Sun Ra Arkestra’s legendary fete in 2017. This year, the intimate venue ushers in 2023 with homegrown talents who could be considered Constellation all-stars. The evening is headlined by Natural Information Society, led by multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams; the five-piece ensemble realizes his teeming compositions (often […]
Last month, local darkwave band Kill Scenes dropped “Acid Black Window,” the first single from the upcoming full-length album Masque. The five-piece group, anchored by songwriters Meghan Lamb (vocals) and Sean Whittaker (guitar, electronics), lace their tracks with swirling six-string textures and driving synth melodies—Gossip Wolf doesn’t doubt for a second that “Acid Black Window” […]
Foday Musa Suso absorbed centuries of tradition growing up in Gambia. As part of the griot caste, his family had performed a centuries-long role in Gambian society, narrating historical epics and singing praise songs while playing the kora, a harplike 21-string instrument his distant ancestors invented. Suso dreamed of bringing his music to places far […]
In 2019, Chicago event producer and teacher Alejandro Ayala, who DJs as King Hippo, received a grant from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to produce a two-night concert series called the Preservation of Fire. The concerts, hosted by Co-Prosperity in Bridgeport and broadcast live on Worldwide FM and Lumpen Radio, […]
Burr Oak debuts with a long-gestating album of dreamy folk-pop, Experimental Sound Studio hosts an all-star fundraiser in its backyard, and more.
For the past decade, local trio Bitchin Bajas have exemplified the virtues of patience and versatility. All three members play synthesizers, Cooper Crain and Daniel Quinlivan play organ, and Rob Frye plays woodwinds and percussion. They create plush, pulsing instrumentals with melodies that evolve at such a leisurely pace that you might not notice the […]
While it’s impossible to pinpoint a single peak in John Coltrane’s vast discography, Ascension is one of his most intense expressions of transcendental intent. Local musician Joshua Abrams knows his Coltrane, so it’s no accident that he’s given the name Descension to this summit between his group Natural Information Society and English saxophonist (and fellow […]
The only time I’ve seen wild jazz pianist Dave Burrell play live was in an odd setting for him—he joined free-jazz bass titan William Parker for a program called “The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield” at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2009. The ensemble also included drummer and musical polymath Hamid Drake and writer Amiri […]
Joshua Abrams and Lisa Alvarado of Natural Information Society help give the Chicago collective’s transcendent minimalism a family feeling.
Chicago jazz and improvised-music linchpin Joshua Abrams could continue to explore the outer reaches of minimalism with his Natural Information Society ensemble for decades and have no trouble maintaining a hypnotic atmosphere. The eight-piece band’s upcoming fifth album, Mandatory Reality (Eremite), opens with two sprawling tracks. The group is so successful at casting spells that […]
The power of Joshua Abrams’s Natural Information Society is in large measure derived from a singular sense of purpose: to lock in on a single chord and with subtle, kaleidoscopic modality cast a spell at the nexus of a hypnotic groove. That intent is carried forth on the Chicago band’s fourth and best album, Simultonality […]
What’s on the Reader‘s Agenda for Thursday, July 3.
Current musical obsessions of MCA curator Dieter Roelstraete, painter Lisa Alvarado, and more
White/Light’s Face the Strange concerts return to the MCA, and more
This year’s Adventures in Modern Music festival includes black metal, juke, experimental R&B, sound art, spiritual jazz, and ambient electronics