Man Forever • No Know (Sound Band) •
Phil Manley Life Coach (solo)
November 3rd, 2017, at San Diego Art Institute
1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Doors: 8 pm
$10 Admission / $7 for SDAI members / All Ages / ID to Drink
In collaboration with SDAI, Space Time is pleased to present musical performances by MAN FOREVER (Thrill Jockey Records), on tour from NY, along with San Diego's own NO KNOW (SOUND BAND). Phil Manley (from Trans Am) will play with Man Forever and open the night with a solo set as LIFE COACH.
The music of drummer John Colpitts as Man Forever is explorative, innovative and fearless. A musician and composer equally versed in the disparate musical languages of DIY rock, improvisation, and contemporary classical, Colpitts (aka Kid Millions) has made an album that defies genre classification. Propulsive, elaborate drum arrangements (created with TIGUE Percussion) remain essential to Man Forever - on the songs of Play What They Want, they are augmented by voice and melody with contributions from Laurie Anderson, Yo La Tengo, and Mary Lattimore to name a few. Play What They Want represents the culmination of 25 years of musical engagement by one of New York’s most acclaimed percussionists.
The collaborative process, essential to Man Forever, requires the relinquishing of one’s ego for a greater purpose. In Play What They Want, Colpitts leverages a vast and talented stable of diverse collaborators to create a work that transcends the sum of its parts.
“You Were Never Here” kicks off the album with a gorgeous vocal performance by all members of Yo La Tengo and, like the transition from the black and white to technicolor, the piece becomes a driving, wild marriage of Max Roach’s “Garvey’s Ghost,” McCoy Tyner, Alice Coltrane and Steve Reich. World-class harpists Brandee Younger and Mary Lattimore join bassist Brandon Lopez, pianist Sam Yulsman and the Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble to create an experimental jazz and classical “dream team.” “Ten Thousand Things” resonates with TIGUE’s tense, virtuosic compound meters, a Moondog-esque vocal by Colpitts and singer Nick Hallett, and another intuitive performance by harpist Mary Lattimore. Finishing the side, “Debt and Greed” is a surprisingly wry pop tune that combines Colpitts’ Jaki Liebezeit-esque drum groove with CSN-style harmonies, guitar by Trans Am’s Phil Manley, and horn playing by Ben Lanz (Beiruit, The National, Sufjan Stevens).
The second side leads with the evocative album centerpiece “Twin Torches.” Here Colpitts worked with the legendary multi-media artist and musician Laurie Anderson, who provided spoken vocals and violin on the nearly 10-minute tour de force. This composition also features arresting vocal atmospherics by Quince, which precede some of the most complex drumming Colpitts has ever recorded. The album closes with “Catenary Smile,” a prickly ballad featuring Nick Hallett’s cascading background vocals which buoy the lyrics: a contemplation of humanity’s problematic tendency to anthropomorphize inanimate things.
While Colpitts’ previous albums have expanded on the possibilities and limitations of drums and percussion, this new album redefines the project in myriad ways. Building on a complex rhythmic foundation, Man Forever created an album that is innovative, imaginative and joyous. Play What They Want is a rare record of untamed ambition that hits all its marks.
NO KNOW (SOUND BAND)
Unknowing sound band approach is well known: walk thin lines, reject ideas that thinking thoughts think, proceed to create a sound sound.
Sean Francis Conway is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in San Diego. He earned his B.A. in jazz composition from Berklee College of Music in 2007. Conway is the founding member of the marching sound collective BOMBSHELL BOOM BOOM (!) and has performed with many notable groups such as The Santa Clara Vanguard, Gamelan Galak Tika, The Mobius Artists Group, and Rasa Rasa (Tzadik Records.)
Andrew Bracken is a percussionist/drummer and mediamaker whose work seeks to bridge the gap, however slightly, between art and everyday life. He has received support from organizations such as the San Diego Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, and KPBS.
– Photos by Chad Kelco.
Life Coach, a title inspired by Tony Williams Lifetime and Charles Bullen’s Lifetones project, is a dynamic collection of instrumental songs composed, performed, and recorded entirely by Phil. While there are reflections of Phil’s work in Trans Am, Oneida, The Fucking Champs, and Jonas Reinhardt that a listener familiar with those bands will notice, Life Coach is more minimal and adheres to the structures of German rock of the mid 70’s that has long inspired Phil, specifically the free-spirited and loose arrangements, the propulsive "motorik" pulse, and the sonic textures or "Klangfarben" (translated "sound colors"). German analog recording technology had reached its zenith in the late 70's. This coincided nicely with the careers of such artists as Neu!, Kraftwerk, Harmonia, Cluster and Popol Vuh. German recording engineer Connie Plank, a hero of Phil's, was responsible for most of the greatest recordings of each of these bands. Life Coach pays homage to the "Klangfarben" of Connie Plank's recordings.
This deeply personal debut solo recording comes well into Phil Manley’s musical career. The song titles and the album title reflect to a large extent Phil’s sense of humor, well known to most Trans Am fans. He has always been the kind to poke fun at rock’s history and habits. To those of us who have had the pleasure of working closely with him, it is a reflection of his modesty. He is a man who has made a considerable mark on independent music. He has already had a lifespan that exceeds most bands in this world, and yet he never has fallen prey to taking himself too seriously. He only takes his music seriously, the rest he takes with a large grain of salt.