Youre forgiven for not knowing anything about The Six Parts Seven.
I didnt, and thats not because I dont explicitly dig the sort of noise they make. Its just that when the only truly alternative radio station in town (www.scadradio.org) doesnt actually travel far over the public airwaves, my listening time is limited to when Im near a broadband connection.
Consequently, I dont get to keep myself as abreast of all the nifty underground bands that are bubbling up from the American asphalt as Id like to.
And thats a shame. Because right now, all across the country there are more vibrant and unique bands doing their own thing than perhaps ever before in the history of the so-called alternative music business.
But the fact remains, its almost impossible for the average person to learn anything at all about the type of music this Kent, Ohio, post-rock group makes from mainstream media outlets.
The combo which, it must be said, is fantastic at what they do inherently operates in a realm of limited opportunities. They straddle the borderlines of at least a handful of different fringe genres, from Americana to the avant-garde, from mood music to roots music, and from organic psychedelia to driving guitar-based indie rock.
Band spokesman Allen Karpinski, who handles guitar and sampling duties in the group says that with that harsh reality in mind, everyone in The Six Parts Seven are more than happy to take any sort of press they can get.
Really, well settle for anything at all that points people in our direction. Even if someone says were the worst band theyve ever heard. I know some people might show up to hear what that would sound like.
And in 2004, thats the name of the game drawing people out to see your struggling band, no matter what the pretext. Luckily, Karpinski and his compadres arent waiting around for fame and fortune of the kind most people imagine is the ultimate goal of any touring musician.
Its very enjoyable to write and play the stuff we do, he offers over a cell phone from just outside Chicago.
So, just what is it they do?
Well, The Six Parts Seven play a completely instrumental form of dreamy soundscapes that rely almost entirely on traditional instruments things like a trap set, electric guitars, and perhaps
their hallmark, the sorrowful moan of Ben Vaughan's perfectly executed lap steel. It all adds up to a type of pastoral roots music that sounds like it drifted out of some dreamy radio in a dusty town near the Iron range, in some unspecified time period (at least one after the invention of amplified instrumentation).
The group has never utilized vocals, and Karpinski says they have no intention of doing so. When I ask him whether that was a conscious artistic decision, or if there simply isnt a decent singer in the bunch, he chuckles.
For us, I think its both of those things. (Laughs) For me, listening to say, a singer/songwriter, the vocals are often the focus, and the lyrics also. If theyre not up to par with the music, or if theres even one weak lyric in a song, it can blow the whole thing for me.
He notes that vocals take up an awful lot of space in the mix. Maybe too much.
A lot of the music I listen to has vocals, but when I was a kid, the parts of the songs I liked best were the parts where nobody was singing, like the guitar intros and things like that.
However, while the band is enjoying all sorts of accolades from music geeks and magazine writers far and wide, dont be deceived into thinking theyve been able to parlay it into a full-time career.
Oh, no, the guitarist says.
We go out there for a while and lose our jobs and then come home and start searching for a new job again. (Laughs) It floats at this point. We keep our van in good shape and pay for our meals, but we definitely dont come home with more money in our pocket than when we left.
And yet, Karpinski says the band has no intention of quitting. instead, they hope to regain their childlike wonder for road life by venturing into new markets, such as Japan or Europe.
Till, then, theyre on the road and headed South to a region that so far has been kind to them.
We go over very well down here. Weve never played Savannah before, but Ive visited there by myself. Its a beautiful city, and its one of the stops on this tour that Im looking forward to the most.
NOTE: THISSHOW IS FREE ANDOPENTOALLAGES. Wed., November 10th, 8:30 pm, SCADs Oglethorpe House Ballroom (201 W. Oglethorpe Ave.).