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Akron/Family to play experimental melodies

BY LAURA WILLIS | FEBRUARY 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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After finishing the night shift at Gimme Coffee shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., baristas Seth Olinsky and Miles Seaton usually returned to their tiny apartment to write and record music. Friend and musician Dana Janssen often joined in, quietly rehearsing at 3 a.m. so as not to wake the neighbors.

“There was a certain romance in beginning the band,” said guitarist Olinsky. “Living in Bushwick, there were no walls, we were super poor. It was the romantic lifestyle of being young.”

Akron/Family will perform its experimental folk music at 8 p.m. Saturday alongside Delicate Steve and Datagun at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Admission is $8.

The compacted environment forced the three to be creative with different melodies. They recorded forks banging on coffee cans and children running in the hallways and mixed the sounds in their songs. The outcome of the quiet, early morning jam sessions resulted in a soft studio album in 2005 whose sound gained them some fans, including former Univeristy of Iowa student Kristron Tammen.

“Their earthy feel gives them that folk vibe, but it’s also dreamy and psychedelic,” she said.

Six years and five records later, Akron/Family discovered the hard drive with the original noises created in that Brooklyn apartment. The band members added bits and pieces from their past rehearsals to the recently released CD The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT — bringing together ideas of the past, present, and future.

Unlike previous records, Shinju TNT proved to be Akron/Family’s most collaborative body of work. Instead of the usual e-mail exchanges from Portland to New York City, the group began from scratch, traveling internationally together in a van, gathering inspiration in Japan and Europe.

“I’m curious to see their live performances and how their past Japanese-volcanic living experiences help to express their musical energy,” Tammen said.

Like previous albums, the recording location for Shinju TNT* influenced the overall energy. In the summer of 2010, the group decided to record in Detroit — a place they felt was a unique city.

“Places such as Detroit or New Orleans are ahead of the economic turn,” Olinsky said. “To me, they almost represent this future perspective of America — a place that’s dealing with things further along.”

While the lyrics of Shinju TNT are not meant to be political, the group wanted to create the energy it felt while working in Detroit. To accomplish an emotion of a changing way of life, the group added more distorted noises to songs.

“A lot of times, we are attempting to make something more extreme and intense,” Olinsky said. “It doesn’t have to be loud to do that; sometimes, just being quiet does that, too.”


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