Reminder – Continuum (Eastern Developments)


Having contributed bass magic to releases by Town and Country, Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sam Prekop, and others, Chicago/Thrill Jockey fixture Joshua Mikah Abrams steps out with his own album under the alias Reminder. That Continuum appears on Eastern Developments is telling, not so much because it’s Scott Herren’ label (Abrams also appeared on Surrounded By Silence) but because its style is so kin to Herren’ own. More precisely, Continuum sounds like the kind of down-tempo album a Prefuse-Ammoncontact collaboration might yield, and exudes a smoky vibe reminiscent of Inner Current’s delectable offerings. Its faded, home-made feel comes from stitching together dusty jazz samples into fresh instrumental hip-hop head-nod with warm vocals by Tyondai Braxton, Akin, Thaione Davis, and Nicole Mitchell added for extra sweetening. It’s not a bass solo showcase either, though Abrams doesn’ shy away from putting the instrument out front on the Eastern-flavoured “New Spells” and “Telepathic Part 1.” Throughout this sometimes jazz-tinged collection, Abrams concocts a beat-based brew within which thumb pianos, saxophones, clarinets, horns, and cellos swim. A lovely melancholy theme flows through “Now I Disappear,” making it perhaps the album’ best cut. While not wishing to overemphasize the Prefuse connection, it’s hard to overlook when “Spectral Robbery” could easily be taken for a One Word Extinguisher outtake and “On Rooftops,” “Of Light,” and “Leave What You Came With” all evidence Prefuse-styled beat business and sparkle. That Reminder sounds similar isn’ necessarily a bad thing, however; if anything, Herren could learn a thing or two from Abrams about restraint, as Reminder’ tracks never buckle under the weight of too many ideas.

Ron Schepper


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