Natural Information Society and Bitchin Bajas are both ensembles hailing from Chicago whose hypnotic music attempts to reach a trance-like state, but they approach their otherworldly pursuits in different ways. Natural Information Society (led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams, who plays a three-stringed bass lute called the guimbri in this project) are a largely acoustic free jazz group whose intense, ecstatic performances are physically demanding, yet leave their audiences enraptured. Bitchin Bajas are an ambient/space rock group fascinated with vintage analog electronics, who tend toward calming new age minimalism. Both groups share common roots in all things droning and repetitive, particularly minimalist classical music and Krautrock, as well as the spiritual jazz of artists such as Don Cherry and Alice Coltrane, and both groups share an improvisational, collective nature, making their convergence on the album Automaginary a natural fit. The album generally sounds closer to Bitchin Bajas' cosmic zone-outs than Natural Information Society's exciting bursts of energy, but that doesn't mean the album is a snooze. The album's entire first side is taken up by "On No Fade," a 20-minute drone that calmly layers synthesizers, harmonium, strings, sparse piano notes, and softly rustling drums (particularly cymbals), creating a tranquil yet considered soundscape. The album's second side is more energetic, with most of its tracks surrounding subtly tricky basslines and motorik rhythms with lush woodwinds and synth atmospheres. "Trick Me My Mind" sits in the middle, sprinkling raindrops of harp notes over a swirling bass drone and eerie whistling flutes. Automaginary is a fluid collaboration with both parties completely tuned into the same wavelength, resulting in a sublime blending of kindred spirits.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson