Nous is an experimental music project exploring ritual and spontaneity within music Nous aims to build communal musical relationships that collectively work to find new ways of creating art. Each installment will center around a different focal concept, and the project will feature a fluctuating group of artists. As founder Christopher Bono explains, “Nous aspires to bypass the lower level thought patterns of the egotistical mind and encourages the connection of those involved to reach a higher level of consciousness, providing a creative space where intuitive, unexpected, and unexplained results can occur.”

The name Nous was chosen for its double meaning. Nous means “we” or “us” in French; however, within the philosophical tradition it is sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, and is used to describe the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, similar to intuition. In the Eastern tradition, the sanskrit equivalent is Buddhi, which denotes an aspect of mind that is higher than the rational mind and that is attracted to Brahman (“Truth” or “Reality”).

The impulse for the Nous project came after Christopher Bono finished his latest full-length orchestral work, Bardo, to be released in 2014. After spending two years working on the score and the studio recording of Bardo, Bono was driven to experience and investigate new and completely different approaches to musical creation.

About the Nous Dreamland Recording Studio Sessions and Approach:

While in the calm, wintry, forest solitude of Dreamland Recording Studio and in line with the definition of Nous, each day the artists will apply meditative techniques taking them further away from everyday, habitual mind states in order to provide an opportunity for a higher intuition to expand. During the three or four studio sessions per day, the approach will cycle between indeterminate and free improvisation, guided conceptual visualizations/esoteric graphics, meditations from different philosophical or esoteric traditions, mantric, chant, poetry and language experiments, and concepts derived solely from general musical or movement related guidelines. Many of the specifically musical ideas may be guided by certain tonal areas, interval restrictions, and modular rhythmic or melodic fragments.

Though most of the artists know each other, they have never played together as a group and so the style of music that will result is difficult to predict. However, the influences for the project are drawn from elements of Post-Rock, Minimalism, Indeterminacy, World, Kraut-Rock, Psychedelic/Experimental Rock, Neo-Shamanism, Noise, Ambient, Drone, Folk Chant, and Free Jazz. (Within the widely varied careers of the various musicians, there is at least one connection to each of these genres.)

The public performances on February 1 at Basilica Hudson and on February 2 at the exciting new Brooklyn venue Baby’s All Right will be shaped by the results of these studio sessions. The group hopes to give the audience an immersive experience – audience members are encouraged to participate through their own expressions of movement and sound in order to engage with the performance more viscerally.

About the Musicians:

Nous band members:
~Christopher Bono (Composer, Ghost Against Ghost)
~Thor Harris (Swans, Angels of Light, Amanda Palmer, Shearwater)
~Anthony Molina (Mercury Rev)

~Jen Kutler
~Cecilie Hafstad

Special guests:
~Laraaji & Arji (Zither, Ambient Sounds)
~Akil Davis and Loud Sol Productions