Posted by Jon on April 15th, 2011
Earlier this year, Akron/Family approached kindred spirits and extended family (Greg Davis, Fletcher Kaufman, Phil Cook, and Mark Lawson) about an experimental collaboration based around the band’s S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. The idea was simple: Give friends free reign to re-imagine the album by using the original songs as a starting point. A skeleton for their Frankenstein. This resulted in six different re-illuminations of the album that shed an entirely new light on Shinju TNT and the band.
Culled from these six experiments, and spread over the span of two LPs, the band manages to stretch their tentacles in all directions. <bmbz> is, at once: An art project. A collaboration. A re-approach. A mind meld. An art-prank. An experiment. And, at the heart, a lesson in community. Akron/Family’s <bmbz> will be available on Record Store Day 2011 (April 16th) on double vinyl.
At times, flickers of the original songs shine through clouds of fuzz, fading in and out. There are hints of melodies in the distance. And there is new material inspired by the source material. These are neither covers, nor remixes. They are recreations, challenging the very definitions of what a definitive version of a song can be. In the spirit of a blown out dub version of a King Tubby classic, John Coltrane’s hour long deconstruction of “My Favorite Things” from Live in Japan or John Cage’s chance compositions, Akron/Family have created an alternate reality of Shinju TNT, that is deeply satisfying and pushes beyond the boundaries contained within the original album.
In a fit of Banksian inspiration, the band released these “bombed” versions to the internet via message boards and torrent sites as a prank. Along the lines of Evolution Control Committee’s Napster “bombs” during the early days of file sharing, these leaks caused confusion, were debated, shunned by fans and embraced as the “real” album. The band left a trail of breadcrumbs – clues in the metadata of the songs, subtly altered artwork, all done in the playful spirit of Akron/Family. In many cases, these leaks were fans first impressions of Shinju TNT, as this audio made its way onto the internet before the release (and leak) of the actual album.
Here you can listen side by side to “Silly Bears,” the opening single from Shinju TNT, with an alternate version “SIMILAR HAREZ” from <bmbz>.