Joshua Abrams (musician)
While living in Philadelphia in the late 1980s, Abrams was a member of Square Roots, a street music group that eventually developed into The Roots. He moved to Chicago and became active in the jazz scene there, playing as a bassist with Tortoise, Town and Country, Hamid Drake, and Matana Roberts. Abrams was the house bass player at Fred Anderson’s Velvet Lounge and for several years he played a weekly club date with Tortoise’s John Herndon and Jeff Parker. He was a member of Mike Reed's Loose Assembly and Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble. In 2003, he played bass on Godspeed You! Black Emperor's album Yanqui U.X.O.. He has worked as a studio musician on recordings made in Chicago, such as Jandek's Chicago Wednesday; Bonnie “Prince” Billy's Beware and albums from Chicago musical artists Joan of Arc, David Grubbs, and Sam Prekop.
In the early 00’s, Abrams released his acoustic quartet album Cipher on Delmark and his solo soundscape albums on Lucky Kitchen. Abrams released beat albums using the moniker Reminder for Prefuse 73’s Eastern Developments label and Easel. In 2010, Abrams formed he's layered minimalist ensemble Natural Information Society, releasing albums on Eremite Records. He received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2018).
As a film composer, Abrams has scored music for director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) in seven feature-length films including the award-winning Life Itself, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, the 90th Academy Awards nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail and the 10-part documentary series America to Me. Abrams has also composed and performed in works by visual artists including the play “At Twilight” by Simon Starling, with Theaster Gates at Documenta 13, and in exhibitions by Lisa Alvarado.
As a leader
- Busride Interview (Lucky Kitchen LK-015, 2002)
- Cipher (Delmark Records DG-546, 2003), with Axel Dörner, Guillermo Gregorio, Jeff Parker
- After (Lucky Kitchen LK-023, 2004)
- Continuum (Eastern Developments EDM-13, 2006), as Reminder
- West Side Cabin (Easel EASLI-0009, 2007), as Reminder
- Unknown Known (Rogue Art, 2013), Joshua Abrams Quartet
- Natural Information (Eremite Records MTE-53, 2010; MTE-61, 2014), Natural Information Society
- Representing (Eremite Records MTE-58, 2012; MTE-62, 2014), Natural Information Society
- Magnetoception (Eremite Records MTE-63/64, 2015), Natural Information Society
- Music for Life Itself & The Interrupters (Eremite Records MTE-67, 2015)
- Simultonality (Eremite Records MTE-68, 2017), Natural Information Society
- Excavations 1 (Feeding Tube Records, 2018), Joshua Abrams solo
- Town & Country (Box Media, 1998), Town and Country
- It All Has to Do With It (Thrill Jockey, 2000), Town and Country
- C'mon (Thrill Jockey, 2002), Town and Country
- 5 (Thrill Jockey, 2003), Town and Country
- Up Above (Thrill Jockey, 2006), Town and Country
- Automaginary, (Drag City, 2015), Natural Information Society and Bitchin Bajas
- Aphelion (Areophonic Records, 2014) with Avreeayl Ra, Dave Rempis
- Perihelion (Areophonic Records, 2016) with Avreeayl Ra, Dave Rempis, Jim Baker
- Organix (Remedy, 1992), The Roots
- Gamera (Duophonic,1995), Tortoise
- The Thicket (Drag City, 1998), David Grubbs
- Hoffman Estates (Drag City, 1998), Loren Mazzacane Connors and Alan Licht
- Sam Prekop (Thrill Jockey, 1999), Sam Prekop
- Yanqui U.X.O. (Constellation, 2002), Godspeed You! Black Emperor
- Apropa't (Warp, 2004), Savath and Savalas
- Surrounded by Silence (Warp, 2005), Prefuse 73
- Who's Your New Professor? (Thrill Jockey, 2005), Sam Prekop
- The Episodes (Dutro, 2007), Chris Connelly
- Golden Pollen (Anti, 2007), Savath and Savalas
- From the River to the Ocean (Thrill Jockey, 2007), Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake
- Guitar Trio is My Life (Radium, 2008), Rhys Chatham
- Beware (Drag City, 2008), Bonnie “Prince” Billy
- Boo Human (Polyvinyl, 2008), Joan of Arc
- Forgiveness and Exile (Dutro, 2008), Chris Connelly
- Plays Susanna 7" (Drag City, 2009), Bonnie “Prince” Billy
- Sound Is (Delmark, 2009), Rob Mazurek
- Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey, 2009), Tortoise
- Blissful (RogueArt, 2009), Hamid Drake
- Reggaeology (Rogue Art, 2010), Hamid Drake
- Chicago Wednesday (Corwood Industries, 2010), Jandek
- Three Compositions (RogueArt, 2012), Roscoe Mitchell and Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble
- The Hildreth Tapes (Golden Lab Records, 2013), Neil Michael Hagerty
- Goes Missing (Gurger and God?, 2015), The Cairo Gang
- Schube, Will. "Joshua Abrams is a Focused Force in Jazz and Film Scoring". Band Camp.
- Masters, Marc. "Joshua Abrams: Natural Information Society Simultonality". Pitchfork Magazine.
- Review, The Guardian
- BROOMER, STUART. "Joshua Abrams' Natural Information Society: BY WAY OF THE GUIMBRI". Music Works Magazine.
- Russonello, Giovanni. "Nicole Mitchell, an Innovative Flutist With an Afrofuturist Vision". New York Times.
- Adler, David R. "Mike Reed: Doubled Up". Jazz Times Magazine.
- Khanna, Vish. "Godspeed You! Black Emperor: There's Only Hope". Exclaim.
- "Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2018 : JOSHUA ABRAMS". Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2018 Booklet.
- Hughes, Josiah. "Joan of Arc Celebrate Their Collaborators with Don't Mind Control". Exclaim.
- Downing, Andy. "For Sam Prekop, going solo means enlisting old friends". Chicago Tribune.
- Preski, Kenneth. "Lunch with Joshua: Abrams on New Releases from Natural Information Society in 2014". New City Chicago.
- RUSSONELLO, GIOVANNI (April 20, 2017). "JOSHUA ABRAMS AND NATURAL INFORMATION SOCIETY". The New York Times.
- Leitko, Aaron. "Joshua Abrams: Music for Life Itself & The Interrupters". Pitchfork Magazine.
- Tobias, Scott. "Oscars 2018: Where to Stream the Nominated Movies". New York Times.
- SHARRATT, CHRIS. "Live: Simon Starling". Frieze Magazine.