Pansophical Cataract

Thrill Jockey
Thrill 302 - 2012

Man Forever is John Colpitts (aka Kid Millions), best known as the drummer of Oneida and also for his work with Boredoms and White Hills. Pansophical Cataract is his debut release for Thrill Jockey.

CD version comes in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold jacket.  LP version includes a free download coupon. The first 500 LPs are pressed on limited orange vinyl, remaining copies on black.  

John Colpitts (aka Kid Millions) is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and writer who is perhaps best known as the drummer for Oneida. Man Forever, his vehicle for exploring the outer limits of drum performance, was created to overwhelm, to investigate the nuances that bloom in the midst of repetitive music, and to act as a pure sound experience.

Originally based on the idea of creating a sort of punk-infused Metal Machine Music for drums, Man Forever has evolved from a five or six full drum set ensemble to something a lot more stripped down. Based on two drummers playing single stroke rolls on a single drum and the patterns that emerge from that, Pansophical Cataract is propulsive without a pulse. Patterns evolve and burst through the static surface of the material, much of which was produced by electric instruments, though "Ur Eternity" remains mostly drums with only a few bass tracks making an appearance. The sounds created by these instruments were based on the drones that Colpitts hears when he is practicing (the not fully conscious singing or humming that arises when one practices alone), and then augmented and enhanced by the other musicians on the record. The repetitive rolls create a phasing effect, a music in and of itself, and the dynamic shifts that occur when the other instruments enter become not mere notes, but grand events.

In the live environment, these shifts and phasing effects, are amplified through sheer volume and duration. "Surface Patterns" and "Ur Eternity" are 30 and 40 minutes respectively (though have been shortened to around 18 minutes per side on record), creating an even more dramatic effect. Past performances have included Brian Chase (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs), James McNew (Yo La Tengo), Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend), Richard Hoffman (Sightings), Shahin Motia (Oneida, Ex Models), Sarah Richardson (Creeping Nobodies), Ryan Sawyer (Stars Like Fleas), Greg Fox (Liturgy, Guardian Alien), Christopher Weingarten (Parts and Labor), and many others.

Pansophical Cataract can be likened to watching Niagara Falls. You can't expect to see every drop of water that crests over the ridge, but you are overwhelmed with the shear scale of the thing, and therein lies the aspiration for this record. Dive right in.