Abrams, Joshua: Mandatory Reality LP
LPs pressed on premium audiophile-quality vinyl at RTI from Kevin Gray Lacquers; Presented in a textured gatefold Stoughton "laserdisc" jacket with a cover painting by Lisa Alvarado. Jackets, retro-audiophile sleeves and record labels hand-screen printed by Alan Sherry at Siwa Studios, Northern New Mexico. Mandatory Reality, the new album by Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society, is here. Setting aside (for the moment) the electric instrumentation of Simultonality (GB 048CD/MTE 068LP, 2017) and Magnetoception (MTE 063-64LP, 2015), Joshua Abrams conceived Mandatory Reality for an eight-piece acoustic manifestation of NIS, consisting of himself on guimbri, Lisa Alvarado on harmonium and gongs, Mikel Avery on tam-tam and gongs, Ben Boye on autoharp and piano, Hamid Drake on tabla and tar, Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, Nick Mazzarella on alto saxophone, and Jason Stein on bass clarinet. A double album, Mandatory Reality is comprised largely of two performances, both Joshua Abrams compositions, 24- and 40-minutes in length. While new to the band's records, long duration pieces are familiar to those who've heard Joshua Abram and NIS in concert in recent years, where elaboration on a single composition for an hour or more is not unusual. Gradual tempos dominate Mandatory Reality. Recorded two months before the 2017 solar eclipse, Mandatory Reality is the sound of Joshua Abrams and NIS taking its time. Merging methodical compositions with sonically voluptuous orchestration, Abrams heightens the immersive and hypnotic qualities Abram and NIS music is known for, taking the band and the listener deep into a collective meditative space. A grand realization of long-form psychedelic music, Mandatory Reality is a dispatch from a sound world that is increasingly unique to itself. All performances on Mandatory Reality are full takes recorded live to tape by the full ensemble, magnificently captured by Greg Norman at electrical audio, Chicago -- the first true "audiophile" recording of Joshua Abrams and NIS. Mastered by Helge Sten at Audio Virus, Oslo.