Track: Mind Maintenance – ‘The Ladder’: Chicago legends Joshua Abrams and Chad Taylor bring percussive African contemplation

Chad Taylor (left) and Joshua Abrams, photographed by Asal Shahindoust

IF YOU’RE at all a follower of the Chicago music scene that erupted in so many directions back at the turn of the century, then the rhythmic adepts Chad Taylor and Joshua Abrams will probably need no introduction; given how, they were so deeply woven into intelligent, seminal albums by the Chicago Underground Trio and all its various spiralling iterations, Brokeback, Sam Prekop’s beautiful self-titled set and Who’s Your New Professor?, Jeff Parker, Rob Mazurek, Marc Ribot, Iron & Wine, The Roots, Edith Frost, Godspeed, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy &c.

And the pair have got together just as themselves as Mind Maintenance for a new album for Drag City, taking that percussive telepathy they share and an aesthetic for African instrumentation – Josh taking for his chosen sonic exposition the guimbri, a three-stringed Moroccan bass usually found in that nation’s traditional gnawa musical tradition; and Chad the mbira, the chiming, African thumb piano family of instruments that herein Chad wields as a percussive-melodic delight.

It is sorta world music, it is definitely sorta jazz, it’s also pretty much a rootsy ambient; it’s really rather cool and transporting, refusing easy categorisation in the absolute best way – oh, apart from being rather great.

Result: aural maintenance for a frazzled mind.

Chad and Joshua sought refuge from the current mindmelt of the world in their considerable musical chops, and emerged with Mind Maintenance. They invite you to come take sanctuary with them in what looks to be a rather fine and thoughtful forthcoming record.

Mind Maintenance’s self-titled album will be released by Drag City on June 11th digitally and on vinyl; hey, you can make financial arrangements to secure your copy now over at the label shop and at Bandcamp.

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