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Man Forever: Here come the drums

John Colpitts -- aka Man Forever -- will drum the hell out of the Adam Mickiewicz Library on Friday.

blog by Deandra Modica  • 

Looking for a new musical experience? Man Forever might be just what you’ve been waiting for. Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and writer John Colpitts (also known as Kid Millions) returns to Buffalo with his live rhythm project on Friday, and he has a few new tricks up his sleeve.

Local musicians Steve Kerfien (of Sonorous Gale), Vic Lazar and Rochester’s Keith Parkins will join Colpitts and his crew at the Adam Mickiewicz Polish Library (612 Filmore Avenue, Buffalo) for a performance that Colpitts calls “compelling and meditative” at 9 p.m.

Best known as the drummer for the experimental noise-rock band Oneida, Colpitts was struck with the epiphany for his side project during a Fireworks Ensemble concert in 2010. The chamber musicians’ interpretation of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music motivated the musician to explore the limits of live drum performance in a new way. The result was Man Forever.

“I saw a performance of Metal Machine Music that was an orchestrated version of it in New York and was really inspired by that kind of performance,” said Colpitts. “I thought it might be interesting to do an acoustic drum version of this kind of idea with different pitches and create an aural tapestry of tones with drums. Man Forever evolved into a compositional vehicle for me and that’s what it is now.”

Currently touring in support of his second album, Pansophical Cataract, Man Forever has transformed from the original multiple drum set ensemble Colpitts started with in 2010. He was awarded a Millay Colony Composer’s Residency in May of 2011 and developed new pieces more focused on rhythm for this album.

“The music on the new album was influenced by Steve Wright and his drumming pieces, but it’s supposed to be more of a meditation,” he said. “The instruments are holding long tones for very extended periods of time and it’s just a focus on the collision of those different tones. It’s mesmerizing.”

During his current 40-day tour, Colpitts welcomes local artists to join in his live performance on the bass, organ and guitar for two 30-minute songs from Pansophical Cataract called “Surface Pattern” and “Ur Eternity.” A multi-drummer drum roll is at the core of each song as it is slowly built upon with bass, organ and guitar. Each song builds with the extension of the repetition and the result is “a meditative wall of sound that has a very intense gravity of its own,” according to Colpitts. His goal during each performance is to inspire both the audience and the artists joining in.

“I want the musicians to be transported, and I hope the audience is, too,” said Colpitts. “I think the audience will have a very transcendent experience if they let themselves listen without judgments. It’s powerful. Maybe that’s not what you want out of your music and that’s okay. That’s what it is. I’m just trying to create a short durational experience for people to be transformed by. It’s like a immersive sound experience and then it’s done and you can have another beer.”

Man Forever has collaborated with Brian Chase (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs), James McNew (Yo La Tengo), Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend) and many others during past performances. To learn more about the project and to prepare for tonight’s show, watch this video:

Being Man Forever from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

TAGGED: adam mickiewicz library, deandra modica, experimental, indie rock, john colpitts, man forever

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