Credit: Charlie Gross

Chicago’s Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society are back with their new full-length album, Mandatory Reality

Slated to release April 12 on 2CD, 2LP, and digital formats with Massachusetts-based label Eremite Records, Mandatory Reality consists of Joshua Abrams (guimbri, flute), Lisa Alvarado (gongs, harmonium, flute), Mikel Patrick Avery (gongs, tam-tam, flute), Ben Boye (electric autoharp, piano, flute), Hamid Drake (tabla, tar, flute), Ben Lamar Gay (cornet, flute), Nick Mazzarella (alto saxophone, flute), and Jason Stein (bass clarinet, flute). The music was recorded live to tape by the full ensemble, captured by renowned engineer Greg Norman at Electrical Audio, Chicago. 

The four-track LP follows the group’s 2017 Simultonality LP, and reconfigures the instrumentation and writing approach by giving each work the setting of an eight-piece all acoustic ensemble, tapping into chamber music structures and immersive soundscapes. 

Eremite adds context to the sound across the new work: “Merging methodical compositions with sonically voluptuous orchestration, Abrams heightens the immersive and hypnotic qualities JA&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.”

The albums are presented in a textured gatefold Stoughton “laserdisc” jacket with a cover painting by Natural Information Society member Lisa Alvarado. 

A group-produced video presentation of an edited version of “Finite” is below, with pre-order for the 2CD and 2LP here.


01. In Memory’s Prism

02. Finite I & II

03. Shadow Conductor

04. Agree