Mulling it over, I guess the real aim behind each of our band/artist of the month choices is in ensuring that, whomever we opt to shine the light on, is certain to offer something either original, exciting or curiously inviting.
Or in the case of this months’ entry, all three.
Meet John Colpitts, aka Kid Millions. A drummer known for his extraordinary and calculative approach to the instrument, Colpitts came to prominence throughout the 2000s as a member of the revered Krautrock outfit, Oneida. Though still a member of that band, after being approached in 2009 to contribute a percussion-only rendition of Lou Reed’s polarizing Metal Machine Music for a friend’s indie label, Colpitts has continued to find the additional time to scratch his own impending creative itch. Inside Man Forever is a deck only he controls; a vehicle devoid of compromise.
With nobody to obstruct him, Colpitts’ recordings – particularly his early material – is excessively abstract. Pretty much everything preceding the new album is structured exclusively from a memo to tune for unfound arrangements or timbres, never mind if it’s pleasant to the ear or not. Unifying anywhere between 2-6 drummers at any one time, what you’re hearing, at least on the surface, may seem both random and elongated. However, to anybody inclined to notice, what Colpitts achieves is far more significant. He bridges territory seldom challenged by other musicians of his kin, composing drums not to lead or bolden an existing song, but to be the voice of the song itself.
Or at least he did.
For those less partial to the unconventional (or, simply, 20 minutes plus pieces of insistent bass and snare), one might be better suited disregarding anything prior to the current paragraph. Instead look only toward Colpitts’ latest full-length release, the sardonically titled Play What They Want.
More of a heroic stride toward maximum potential than any kind of detour, Play is the first Man Forever album to incorporate heavy use of additional instrumentation and voice into the fray. Colpitts is wise with his direction, too, pitting not only tasteful genres such as art-rock, free jazz and ambient music alongside one another, but also drawing on esteemed forces to front them – Laurie Anderson and Yo La Tengo shining by example.
Though the sudden development may overwhelm longstanding listeners, Colpitts has by no means sold out his objective. The drums still initiate and conduct that which cottons on. It’s only that now we all know which way to follow.
Play What They Want is available now via Thrill Jockey.