Natural Information Society / Xylouris White | Ars Nova Workshop
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Natural Information Society / Xylouris White

March 25, 2020

Please join us for a very special double bill featuring two uncategorizable ensembles: Joshua Abrams’ Natural Information Society and Xylouris White.

Bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Joshua Abrams formed Natural Information Society in 2010. With his orchestration of traditional and contemporary instruments, the ensemble creates long-form psychedelic environments that join the hypnotic qualities of the guimbri, a Gnawan lute, with a wide range of contemporary musics and methodologies including jazz, minimalism, and experimental rock. Nearly impossible to define, the group’s nebulous nature has allowed Abrams to gather aesthetic input from all over the map into vivid personal statements.  The ever-shifting line-up of Natural Information Society has included Jason Adasiewicz, Hamid Drake, Ben Lamar Gay, Jeff Parker, Jason Stein, and many others.

“It feels startlingly new, in terms of how the music is extrapolated, how the players relate, even as it feels like an ur-music, primal, body-centered, essential.”
The Wire

Abrams’ early formative musical experiences include performing in a chamber group conducted by Earle Brown and busking on the streets of Philadelphia as an original member of The Roots. Since the mid-1990s, Abrams has been a key figure in Chicago’s creative music communities and an international touring musician with artists across genres. Abrams has scored numerous feature films, including The Trials of Muhammad Ali and several projects with award-winning director Steve James. He has appeared on over 100 recordings, including those by Fred Anderson, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Neil Michael Hagerty, Nicole Mitchell, Roscoe Mitchell, Matana Roberts, The Roots, and Town and Country.

Xylouris White

Firmly rooted in the past and future, Xylouris White plays progressive Cretan music through both original and traditional compositions. Born and raised on Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, Georgios Xylouris is a member of a clan long regarded throughout Greece as musical royalty. To hear Xylouris play his long-necked laouto and sing songs of love and liberty in his impassioned, distinctive voice is to experience tradition at its finest.

Having first commanded international attention in the mid-1990s with the acclaimed Australian instrumental trio Dirty Three, Jim White is now the go-to guy for alt-A-list vocalists with collaboration in mind. Those who’ve worked with him – a staggering list that includes PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Will Oldham, Cat Power, and Smog – testify to his deft way with a rhythm, a downbeat, a jazz-fuelled wig-out.

Xylouris White are “master musicians bonded by enduring friendship…locked into a rolling, modal thunder [comparable] to the Middle Eastern psychedelia of the American late-Sixties band Kaleidoscope but which also evokes the empathy and elevation of Interstellar Space, saxophonist John Coltrane’s iconic 1967 duets with drummer Rashied Ali.”
Rolling Stone

The duo’s fourth album, The Sisypheans, draws on a philosophical bent that suits their music’s ancient headwaters. Xylouris and White meditate on the life of a traveling musician: Sisyphean in its repetition, it is still inspired by this eternal recurrence of themes and techniques, allowing them to explore the depth of their experiences as players.

Cover: Joshua Abrams & Lisa Alvarado / photo by Charlie Gross
Wednesday, March 25


  • Performance

Program Info

$20 General Admission
21 & Over


Natural Information Society

  • Josh Abrams – guimbri
  • Lisa Alvarado – harmonium
  • Mikel Avery – drums
  • Jason Stein – bass clarinet

Xylouris White

  • Georgios Xylourislute
  • Jim White – drums


Philadelphia, PA