Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

AKNKVN (Tokyo)

Akihiko Ando and Kevin McHugh (from Tokyo) shared a set of improvised electronic music

Track Listing

  1. Opening Set: AKNKVN
  2. Jam 1. Chris I. (Drums), Andrew Olstead (Keys), Dune Butler (Bass)
  3. Jam 2. Austin L. (Violin), Neil W. (Sax)
  4. Jam 3. John Broback (Guitar), Aaron O. (Keys), Daniel Webbon (Drums), Will Murdoch (Bass)
  5. Jam 4. Luke B. (Bass) Geoff T. (Drums), Rubin Holbein (Trumpet), Zack Burba (Guitar), Jeremy Gonzales (Sax)
  6. Jam 5. Dio (Drums), Andrew Olmstead (Keys), Abbey Blackwell (Bass), Ryan Beckley (Guitar), Akihiko Ando (Laptop Effects), David Nicholson (Sax)
  7. Jam 6. Brennan Carter (Trumpet), Austin L. (Violin), Mike Gebhart (Drums)
  8. Jam 7. Dio (Keys), Zack Burba (Drums), Geoff T. (Bass), John Broback (Guitar)


AKNKVN (Akihiko Ando, laptop/alto sax/effects + Kevin McHugh, keyboards), based in Tokyo, have been performing free improv and noise in tandem since 2009.  They co-led a larger electronic improvising ensemble, Polylis, which released 3 albums in the last 5 years.  Currently they also perform in the chamber punk jazz collective “nariiki.“ They improvise both completely free as well as in real time over pre-existing tracks (which can also be manipulated) with live sampling and processing. They will travel to Seattle and the US west coast in 2015 thanks to a Seattle 4Culture grant. 


Akihiko "Akkun” Ando is an alto saxophonist born in Chiba, Japan in 1986. Since moving to Tokyo in 2001, he has been an active member of underground music scenes in both Tokyo and Kansai (western Japan), performing sax, effects and electronics.  One of his many bands, kuruucrew, released their first album “Battle Disco” in 2008 on P-VINE RECORDS, and continues performing around Japan and Europe.  Its second album “grind mirrorball” was released in 2010 from the Japanese noise collective “Incapacitants”.  The following year took Akkun to Switzerland’s yearly LUFF (Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival) to perform with Masaya Nakahara (a.k.a Hair Stylistics), as well as tours in France and Germany.

From 2012, Akkun has been a regular collaborator with pianist Kevin McHugh, releasing “Hills” with their band Polylis on miminoko pro.  The same year brought him to NYC, touring with Z’s, Kid Millions, and Boredom’s Koshiro Hino (subsequently releasing an album with Hino in 2015 as part of the group “goat” on the HEADZ label.)  Recently he has been pursuing even more overseas collaborations: in 2014 supporting Arto Lindsay Band’s “Encyclopedia of Arto” Japan tour, as well hosting Berlin-based experimental electronic music label <PAN> for a Japanese showcase in 2015.  This year he will travel to the US again thanks to a Seattle 4Culture Award for the project “Seattle Meets Tokyo: Modern Jazz Connections”.


Kevin McHugh is a pianist, accordionist and improviser from Seattle, WA.  After graduating from Oberlin Conservatory, he won a yearlong Watson fellowship to explore improvised music scenes in 5 megacities around the world: São Paulo, Cairo, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Tokyo.  After living in NYC and Oakland, Kevin has been based in Tokyo since 2009, and has been performing and recording as an active member of Tokyo’s experimental music scene.  

Besides touring Japan, Europe and the US regularly, he is a founding member of both the Berlin-based North American tonal Organization and Improlabo, Polylis, and nariiki in Tokyo. In 2012 he was chosen to compose music for a theatrical performance and short film to support the Tohoku earthquake survivors, thanks to a grant from the Japan Foundation. He is a recent recipient of a 2015 Seattle 4Culture award to lead a collaborative project between Japanese and US musicians.