False Harmonics #17: Natural Information Society & Ben Vida feat. Yarn/Wire

False Harmonics is a musical series meant to explore new music and alternative approaches to composition, improvisation and performance. Join us in the PW Main Hall for Natural Information Society (NIS) & Ben Vida featuring Yarn/Wire this September 20.

At Pioneer Works, NIS will perform music from their latest album Since Time Is Gravity as an octet featuring Chicago tenor saxophone legend Ari Brown. The performing lineup includes Joshua Abrams (guimbri, composition), Lisa Alvarado (harmonium, setting), Mikel Patrick Avery (drums), Josh Berman (cornet), Ari Brown (tenor saxophone), Darius Jones (alto saxophone), Jason Stein (bass clarinet), and Mai Sugimoto (alto saxophone, flute).

About the Artists:

Natural Information Society (NIS) is a band led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams. The group’s music is grounded in Abrams’ hypnotic and interwoven writing. Performing with Lisa Alvarado’s free hanging paintings as mobile sets, NIS creates environments at once meditative & propulsive. NIS navigates forms that emphasize simultaneous differences, rhythm and collective listening. The group has released seven records on eremite records including descension (Out of Our Constrictions) in 2021 and most recently Since Time is Gravity, 2023. Their collaboration with Bitchin Bajas, Automaginary was released on Drag City Records in 2015.

NIS primarily tours as a quartet with Abrams on guimbri, Alvarado on harmonium, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums and Jason Stein on bass clarinet, occasionally appearing in larger formations and with special guests. Past featured collaborators have included Ari Brown, Hamid Drake, Evan Parker and William Parker. They have performed throughout North America and Europe at festivals and venues such as Big Ears Festival (US), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (DK), Guelph Jazz Festival (CA), Jazz Em Augusto (PT), Kongsberg Jazz Festival (NO), Millenium Park (US), Motvind Festival (NO) Pitchfork Music Festival (US), Serralves em Festa (PT), Sons D’Hiver (FR), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (US).

Outside of NIS Abrams has played and recorded with a broad range of artists including Fred Anderson, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Nicole Mitchell, and The Roots. He has composed scores to ten feature films including the Oscar nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. He recently completed a score for The Luckiest Guy in The World, a four episode docuseries directed by Steve James. Abrams was a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2018 Grants to Artists award. N I S

Ben Vida is a composer, improviser and artist. In the mid-1990s he moved to Chicago and got involved with the cities multi-faceted experimental music scene, co-founding the minimalist quartet Town & Country and releasing solo records under the moniker Bird Show.

In the Mid-2000’s he relocated to Brooklyn and shifted his focus to electronics and systems based compositions which utilized psycho-acoustics, aural phenomena and advanced synthesis techniques. He also began showing his works for video, text and sound installation in galleries and arts institutions.

Since 2015 he has been composing pieces that combine his interest in experimental writing with his love of singing with people. Slipping Control (2015), Vida’s multimedia composition for voices, video and electronics, debuted at Audio Visual Arts in NYC and then traveled to 356 S. Mission Rd, Los Angeles and to the Borderline Festival in Athens, Greece. His six hour performance piece for vocal ensemble and electronics,Reducing the Tempo to Zero (2017), was staged at Lampo in Chicago, the Kitchen, NYC, STUK in Leuven, BE and in Italy at Centro Pecci, Prato. His piece, And So Now (2018), was commissioned for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and performed at the BAM Fisher Space. His latest piece, The Beat My Head Hit (2020-23), scored for ensemble, electronics and voices, has been created in collaboration with the Yarn/Wire ensemble and vocalist, Nina Dante, and has been performed in New York and Chicago.

Besides his solo work he has developed recent duo projects with Marina Rosenfeld, Lucio Capece and Lea Bertucci.

Vida’s work has been supported by the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Alice M. Ditson Fund and many more. He has released his music with Shelter Press, Kranky, PAN, iDEAL and 901 Editions to name just a few. His work has been featured in Artforum, The Quietus, Modern Painters, The Paris Review, The New York Times, Art Review, The Wire, The Creators Project, and WIRED Magazine, among others.

Vida has been touring and presenting his pieces for over 20 years, performing in venues such as the Guggenheim, NYC, the MCA, Chicago, MadeiraDig Festival, Fuchel, Maderia, Performa Biennial, NYC, EMPAC, Troy, NY, Berghain, Berlin, the Unsound Festival at the Cricoteka Museum, Kraków, the Sydney Opera House, Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, the Royal Festival Hall, London, Moonji Cultural Center, Seoul, South Korea, INA/GRM, Paris Shinagawa Gloria Chapel, Tokyo, Japan and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY.

Since 2017 Vida has taught at Brooklyn College in their Sonic Arts MFA program.

Yarn/Wire is a New York-based percussion and piano quartet (Sae Hashimoto and Russell Greenberg, percussion; Laura Barger and Julia Den Boer, pianos) dedicated to the promotion of creative, experimental new music. According to New York Classical Review, “Yarn/Wire may well be the most important new music ensemble on the classical scene today.” Founded in 2005, and admired for the energy and care it brings to today’s most adventurous compositions, the ensemble seeks to expand the representation of composers including but not limited to those who identify as women, LGBTQIA+, Black, African, Indigenous, Latina(o)(x), Asian, or Arab so that it might begin to better reflect our communities and experience new creative potential.

Yarn/Wire has recorded for the WERGO, Kairos, Northern Spy, Distributed Objects, Black Truffle, Shelter Press, Populist, and Carrier record labels in addition to maintaining their own imprint. Recent and upcoming releases include Tonband, featuring works by Enno Poppe and Wolfgang Heiniger, on the WERGO label; Annea Lockwood’s Becoming Air and Into the Vanishing with trumpeter Nate Wooley on Black Truffle Records; Yarn/Wire Currents 7 featuring works by Zeno Baldi and DM R; Marcel Zaes’ Parallel Prints; the piano and percussion works of Andrew McIntosh; and many more. For more information, please visit www.yarnwire.org.