Album Review

Abrams, Joshua – “Magnetoception” – [Eremite]

Thurston Hunger   5/7/2015   12-inch, Jazz

So psych’d when I first heard about this from Michael
of Eremite. The follow-up to the stellar “Repreesncing”
is another guimbri jamboree! And a double disk whammy at
that, wow! Whereas Abrams’ previous album juxtaposed his
gourd goodness in smaller songs often with one or two
guests, here the pieces are stretched out and an emphasis
is placed on tranquility, with an expanding band for
our expanding minds. Things percolate the most on
“Translucent”, with a prog rock riff chasing itself and
Jeff Parker and Emmett Kelly burrowing on electric
guitars. Abrams driving force on the guimbri, especially
when locked in with the always amazing Hamid Drake,
is fluid and strong. The tone of the guimbri’s strings
has a slappy percussion built in, check out “Broom” for
a example of its power. Is that tital track how pigeons
hear the pull of the Earth’s poles? Or maybe it is just
Ben Boye on the chromatic electric autoharp? It’s a strikingly
cute little section on an often more pensive album. I’m
going to file this in KFJC’s “jazz” library to be near the
Jprevious release, but like that LP, this is a genre-bending
beauty, “The Ladder” is a sorta country and western number with
a new age vibe conceived somewhere in northern Africa.
“Spiral Up” launches with a slow and strong solo from Abrams
which eventually connects to some great guitar chords off
kilter and then on, sliding off and on over the course
of the song. The first disk though was the winner to
me, “By Way of Odessa” is a series of opening doors
with subtle shadows all over it. The band moves as one
and is relentless on that. On “Lore” Abrams let’s his mates
shimmer a mood into space and then loops his bassline into
a groove with Drake doing the hand-thrive jive on top,
it concludes to be rejoined by Abrams on a clarinet prayer.
Before “Broom” takes us to the ancient heart of this
release. While Abrams may draw inspiration from an
instrument and melodies older than our country, he’s got
it right at the forefont of ongoing Chicago creativity.
Feels like this project is on its way to more and more
mighty music, Eremite induced. Do not miss!
-Thurston Hunger

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