NOUS featured in self-titled mag
NOUS I Premiered via Brooklyn Vegan

“You couldn’t pigeonhole it into one genre if you tried — it goes from eerie David Lynchian soundscapes to Eastern melodies to avant-garde jazz drum freakouts to a million other places, all while remaining strangely accessible.-- Brooklyn Vegan

"A half-airy, half-aggressive interdisciplinary happening organized by the young and enterprising composer Christopher Bono, who brought together a wise, postcategory, electric and acoustic 12-person crew." -- New York Times

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 centers around a different focal concept, and the project features 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 composer Christopher Bono finished his full-length orchestral work Bardo. After spending two years working on the score and the studio recording of Bardo, Bono was driven to experience and investigate 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 (nestled in Upstate NY) and in line with the intention of Nous, the artists began each day applying meditative techniques to bring them further away from the habitual mind states of everyday life in order to create the space for natural intuition to unfold. For seven days of three to four studio sessions per day, the approach cycled between indeterminate and free improvisation, guided conceptual visualizations derived from 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 were guided by certain tonal areas, interval restrictions, modular rhythmic, melodic fragments, and simplified lead sheets.

Though some of the artists knew each other, the group had never played together and came from very different background, so the style of music was difficult to predict. However, from the beginning the influences for the project were 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.

NOUS I: A Musical Rite

1) Ya Ma Toh
2) Kabay
3) This Winter Can Not Last
4) Dancing Marvels
5) Not All Seeds Fail
6) Shumisah
7) Original Energy
8) The Un-Led
9) Beneath
10) Transitory Reality

Christopher Bono: keyboards, electronics, percussion, vocals Greg Fox: drums, percussion, electronics
Thor Harris: drums, percussion, custom built instruments
Shahzad Ismaily: electronics, guitar, bass
Grey Mcmurray: guitar, percussion
Caleb Burhans: violin, viola
Cecilie Hafstad: vocals, percussion
Imago: cello
Clarice Jensen: cello
Jen Kutler: assistant engineer, percussion, vocals
Laura Lutzke: violin
Anthony Molina: synths, percussion
Alex Sopp: flute
HariPrakaash: gong
Kevin McMahon: producer, engineering, mixing
Joe Lambert: mastering
Jeremy Kinney: editing
Patrick Hyland: editing
Danila Luppino: graphic design
Vanessa Briceno: photography
Michael Godio: photography
Emilia Sauaia: photography
Yura Liamin: photography