Joshua Abrams (musician)

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Joshua Abrams
Joshua Abrams in Aarhus, Denmark, 2018
Joshua Abrams in Aarhus, Denmark, 2018
Background information
BornPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
GenresJazz, pop, rock
Instrument(s)Double bass, Guimbri
Years active1990–present
Member ofNatural Information Society
Formerly ofTown and Country

Joshua Abrams is an American composer and multi-instrumentalist who plays the double bass and guimbri.[1][2]


While living in Philadelphia in the late 1980s, Abrams was a member of Square Roots, a street music group that developed into The Roots. He moved to Chicago and played as a bassist with Tortoise, Town and Country, Hamid Drake, and Matana Roberts.[3] 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.[4] He was a member of Mike Reed's Loose Assembly and Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble.[5][6] In 2003, he played bass on Godspeed You! Black Emperor's album Yanqui U.X.O..[7] 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 musicians such as Joan of Arc, David Grubbs, and Sam Prekop.[8][9][10]

In the early 00's, Delmark released his acoustic quartet album Cipher and Lucky Kitchen released his solo soundscape albums.[4] He recorded albums under the name "Reminder" for Prefuse 73's Eastern Developments label and Easel.[4][11] In 2010, Abrams started the band Natural Information Society releasing albums by Eremite Records.[12][4] In 2018 he received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award.

As a film composer, Abrams has written music for director Steve James and for Life Itself, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, and the documentary series America to Me.[1][13][14] He performed and composed music for the play At Twilight by Simon Starling, with Theaster Gates at Documenta 13, and in exhibitions by Lisa Alvarado.[8][15][12]


As leader[edit]

  • Terminal 4 with Terminal 4 (Truckstop/Atavistic, 2001)
  • Busride Interview (Lucky Kitchen, 2002)
  • Sticks and Stones with Sticks and Stones (482 Music, 2002)
  • Cipher (Delmark, 2003)
  • After (Lucky Kitchen, 2003)
  • Shed Grace with Sticks and Stones (Thrill Jockey, 2004)
  • Bright Blue Galilee with DRMWPN (Captcha, 2008)
  • Bird Show Band with Bird Show Band (Amish, 2010)
  • Twyxt Wyrd with the Cairo Gang (Blackest Rainbow, 2010)
  • Stars Have Shapes with Exploding Star Orchestra (Delmark, 2010)
  • Natural Information (Eremite, 2010)
  • Represencing (Eremite, 2012)
  • New Myth/Old Science with Living by Lanterns (Cuneiform, 2012)
  • Unknown Known (RogueArt, 2013)
  • Goes Missing with the Cairo Gang (God? 2015)
  • Automaginary with Natural Information Society (Drag City, 2015)
  • Magnetoception with Natural Information Society (Eremite, 2015)
  • Simultonality with Natural Information Society (Eremite, 2017)
  • We Have Always Been Here with Galactic Unity Ensemble (JMY, 2017)
  • Excavations 1 (Feeding Tube, 2018)
  • Mandatory Reality with Natural Information Society (Eremite, 2019)
  • descension (Out of Our Constrictions) with Natural Information Society and Evan Parker (Eremite, 2021)
  • Since Time Is Gravity with Natural Information Society and Ari Brown (Eremite, 2023)

With Town & Country

  • Town and Country (BOXmedia, 1998)
  • Decoration Day (Thrill Jockey, 2000)
  • It All Has to Do With It (Thrill Jockey, 2000)
  • Up Above (Thrill Jockey, 2006)

As sideman[edit]

With Joan of Arc

  • Orchard Vale (Record Label, 2007)
  • Boo! Human (Polyvinyl, 2008)
  • Flowers (Polyvinyl, 2009)

With Nicole Mitchell

With Mike Reed

With Dave Rempis

  • Aphelion (Aerophonic, 2014)
  • Perihelion (Aerophonic, 2016)
  • Ithra (Aerophonic, 2018)
  • Apsis (Aerophonic, 2019)

With others


  1. ^ a b Schube, Will (16 May 2017). "Joshua Abrams is a Focused Force in Jazz and Film Scoring". Band Camp.
  2. ^ Masters, Marc. "Joshua Abrams: Natural Information Society Simultonality". Pitchfork.
  3. ^ Review, The Guardian
  4. ^ a b c d Broomer, Stuart. "Joshua Abrams' Natural Information Society: By Way of the Guimbri". Music Works Magazine.
  5. ^ Russonello, Giovanni (10 January 2018). "Nicole Mitchell, an Innovative Flutist With an Afrofuturist Vision". New York Times.
  6. ^ Adler, David R. (25 April 2019). "Mike Reed: Doubled Up". Jazz Times Magazine.
  7. ^ Khanna, Vish. "Godspeed You! Black Emperor: There's Only Hope". Exclaim.
  8. ^ a b "Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2018: Joshua Abrams". Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2018 Booklet.
  9. ^ Hughes, Josiah. "Joan of Arc Celebrate Their Collaborators with Don't Mind Control". Exclaim.
  10. ^ Downing, Andy (21 October 2005). "For Sam Prekop, going solo means enlisting old friends". Chicago Tribune.
  11. ^ Preski, Kenneth (19 February 2014). "Lunch with Joshua: Abrams on New Releases from Natural Information Society in 2014". New City Chicago.
  12. ^ a b Russonello, Giovanni (April 20, 2017). "Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Leitko, Aaron. "Joshua Abrams: Music for Life Itself & The Interrupters". Pitchfork.
  14. ^ Tobias, Scott (23 January 2018). "Oscars 2018: Where to Stream the Nominated Movies". New York Times.
  15. ^ Sharratt, Chris (14 September 2016). "Live: Simon Starling". Frieze (183).

External links[edit]