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Sound Tribe Sector 9 learning to tighten things up

For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

"Tight" and "concise" are the buzzwords for Sound Tribe Sector 9 these days.

The California quintet has deftly straddled the jam band electronica world during its nearly 16-year history, but bassist-keyboardist David Murphy says STS9 has continued to evolve its sound and rein in what might have been considered excess in the past.

"We try to continue to modernize our music," explains Murphy, 37. "As we grow up and mature as musicians and as a band, we're able to make the songs better. And in the live environment we've gotten to a place where we know how to work the crowd, I guess, and a lot of that has been removing some of the ambiguous parts of our songs that haven't worked in the past.

"Because we're instrumental, we try to always be aware of when there's a lull in our music, or parts that maybe shouldn't be there. What might be cool on a record or in a rehearsal room, when you get it in front of people you notice how the energy can drop here or there -- especially as the audiences keep getting younger and younger and there's a short attention span than there was 10 years ago. So we cater go that a little bit more."

Murphy says STS9 fans will hear the benefits of that, too, on the group's next release, a follow-up to the 2011 EP "When the Dust Settles." He says the group will have eight to 10 songs on a new set it hopes to put out during the late summer or early fall and predicts that "some maturity" will be evident when it's released.

"I think we both satisfied our own artistic desires and needs, but at the same time it's probably the closest thing we've done to just sounding like what we envision ourselves to sound like," Murphy reports. "A couple of the songs were pre-existing songs we've been playing live for a year or two and really put energy into improving even further when we got them back into the studio.

"Our hardcore fan base is really going to love it 'cause it sounds like us; it's danceable and fun. But it's got more guitar and more just kind of straightforward, traditional sounds that we've never had on record -- but still sound really good."

Sound Tribe Sector 9 performs Saturday, April 13, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $25. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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