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CD Review
Akron/Family - The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT


The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
Record Label: Dead Oceans Records
Review by Kaleb Bronson
April 2011

The carnival is a special treat for most of society. The flashing lights, confusing and frightening clowns, dancing bears, trapeze artists, and circus freaks make for an arrangement that cannot be experienced anywhere else. Welcome to Akron/Family’s carnival with their newest album release Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT released on Dead Oceans Records.

The Akron/Family has taken the experiment known as sound to a new level and broken all of the previous rules of engagement. During this musical process, the team of Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky, and Miles Seaton (also known as the Akron/Family) created an album of truly cosmic revelations. This album lets loose into a land of bliss and psychedelia while transforming noise into an experience. From the ruckus romp of “Silly Bears,” the intro to the album, to the subduing awakening of an outro titled “Creator,” the band lets the shattered mind, the societal-shaken body, and the effervescent soul travel through a portal of genius accomplishments. Some may not be able to handle the out-of-the-box approach, but for those who enjoy music beyond humanities state-of-being, the Akron/Family has released a masterpiece to delve upon.

The precise drumming quality and unique instrumental values allow the listener to take a spiritual journey throughout this record. Fortunately, audience members do take the aforementioned journey when the band is seen live, especially when outdoors. Each track offers an emotional landslide. The track “Island” is so focused and calmingly triumphant that the listener is moved to sway with the waves of electronic-folk rhythms, and then move into a chanting fiasco of beauty on the short song “A AAA O A WAY.” The corrupt noises interwoven in the background enter the mind like a transistor radio, and then send listeners into the river of consciousness before transcending during “So It Goes.”

The more confusion, the better, and the sounds continue to be more colorful throughout this album. Ronald Dahl would be a proud to hear such unexpected instrumental color. The tribal drumming and chanting cascading through “Another Sky” opens the gates into a new room of musical wilderness. As the light emerges from the track of the same name, the sounds of Hans Zimmer’s True Romance soundtrack echo within the song, though the lyrical content compares to a ride with Ken Kesey on a summer afternoon, with Hunter S. Thompson riding on the roof of “Furthur.”

As the listener transcends down this mountain of musical wonderment, they run into the song “Tatsuya Neon Purple Walkby,” which is a 35 second track of woodsy pause. In other words, it’s a time for people to breathe before climbing the tree-house of sound known as “Fuji I (Global Dub).” As the waters trickle over the track, “Fuji II (Single Pane)” arrives to float the eardrums on the lily pads of the planet, making this track the most soothing within the album. A track and time for premonitions, “We’ve been living underground,” the lyrical beauty chimes.

The album ends with the song “Creator,” which allows release back into the normal plain of existence, yet for some reason the listener is a changed person. The entire album is a journey and a piece of artwork that cannot be painted, drawn, or sculpted. Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT is a transformation into a new era of sound.

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