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Akron/Family: Live Sound Fields
Akron/Family has been putting out extra-curricular discs for so long that the trio’s traditional albums almost seem like a side career. Chaos comes easily. Last year, the beard-waving nu-psych flagbearers leaked a series of bmbz releases onto the Internet, masquerading as new albums by Fleet Foxes, Death Cab For Cutie and others. Instead, downloaders got inside-out re-envisionings of Akron’s own yet-to-be-released S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. Live Sound Fields transforms recent improv-focused concert excerpts in a similar fashion. Though less flowing and abstract than bmbz (whose highlights were also collected onto a recent double LP), Live Sound Fields uses familiar Akron starting points as chance overtakes them. On the nearly 20-minute “Force / Fields,” an “Another Sky” sing-along drones into drum-heavy sound walls before they dissolve into “Blessing Force” and a “Tomorrow Never Knows”-style backbeat jam. As the bmbz projected S/T II into three dimensions, Live Sound Fields is the sound of Akron/Family pushing to express one beyond even that. Equally sloppy and enthralling, collaged with virtual Scotch tape and scissors, Live Sound Fields is a lo-fi anti-immersionary beacon that blurs ordinary jamdom into the woolly oversaturated hyperreal.
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