Once again Abrams gives a key role to the guimbri, a North African bass lute, which he had started to play during the late 90s following a trip to Morocco. Its sound when plucked is percussive, emphatic from moment to moment, yet also bouncy and rhythmically propulsive, as if naturally springing forward. A time-honoured instrument, used traditionally in healing ceremonies, the guimbri in Abrams’ hands offers an invitation to the trance, an expanded present where time intersects with timelessness. As the title Represencing suggests, this is uplifting music with a serious mission - to express that ongoing present and to give voice to our presence, here and now, within time’s continuous flow.
Once again, a fine selection of sympathetic friends help Abrams to craft this antidote to the current century’s compulsion to accelerate and its ever-diminishing attention span. They include saxophonist David Boykin, drummer Chad Taylor and guitarists Jeff Parker and Emmett Kelly. Lisa Alvarado plays harmonium on two tracks. She also provides a painting for the cover art which matches the music beautifully, vivid and vibrant, its interlocking geometry binding fragmentary perceptions into a coherent pattern, self-sufficient yet also clearly part of a far larger picture.
By 2012 this fascinating music was taking on a group identity, performed by Abrams with the Natural Information Society. That development was subsequently consolidated with the recording of Magnetoception, released in 2015. Represencing, however, conveys the excited air of an adventure unfolding. Reminiscent in passing of a variety of other musics - of tightly poised jazz, motoric rock and minimalism plus echoes from other cultural traditions - it remains nonetheless a singular statement by an artist rapidly finding his own distinctive voice. The music offered by Represencing is intricate yet direct, hypnotically repetitive yet constantly changing, built to last yet intimately present.