MusicMusic Features

Man Forever

Everyone knows that everything, however mighty, is actually a collection of atoms. Atoms build to form molecules, and molecules bond to form what makes up the solid, liquid, and gaseous of our world. (Our readership will note that this is not a peer-reviewed piece of academia). The same premise of little buddies coming together to form unified structures is applied in the percussively oppressive Brooklyn band Man Forever. Come learn with us:

Man Forever is a concept driven by the drummer known to most as Kid Millions, who has been guiding the rhythms behind krautrock masters Oneida since 1997. Commonly and accurately referred to as one of the most monstrous living forces to sit behind a drum kit, Kid Millions has also spent recent years as a key player in the cosmic drum circles conjured by legendary Japanese band Boredoms. But anyone seeking a beat to nod one’s head to will find Man Forever challenging, which is part of the point.

Man Forever

“I’m trying to create an experience, a sound experience, that’s meditative and really assertive and…  aggressive is not the right word… highly varied,†says Millions. “The piece that we’re doing on the tour, ‘Surface Patterns,’ the idea is it’s like a metaphor for the surface of a waterfall or something. It’s overwhelming and really physical, but it’s also meant to be static. The gestures are more glacial.â€

Man Forever compresses the sounds of multiple drummers playing as fast as possible into tight spaces of time. The resulting wash of pitches—meticulously tuned drums that are, of course, all attack—comes together to create sonic forms that feel textural, nearly solid to the touch, yet flowing.

“If you kind of just let go a little bit, you start to sense the infinitely changing rhythmic patterns,†says Millions. “There’s nothing to hold onto, and I think it’s really interesting and it’s really powerful to just let go with the piece of music. That’s ideal. It’s loud; it’s supposed to be overwhelming. It’s experimental, but I think it’s exciting, too. It’s supposed to be visceral and really assertive and just demand your attention.â€

In the past, Man Forever has benefited from the contributions of such timekeepers as Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Greg Fox (Liturgy, Guardian Alien). The first, eponymous Man Forever release captures this era deftly; the recently released follow-up, Pansophical Cataract, reduces the number of drums but ratchets up the intensity. Is Kid Millions intentionally attempting to push himself physically?

“Yeah, I am. Definitely,†he says. “I think I’m really compelled by physical limits, and how that interacts with your consciousness as you’re trying to exceed these self-imposed limits.â€

The two nearly-20-minute pieces on Pansophical Cataract center around uninterrupted drum rolls that begin as merely ominous; by the time these continuous lava flows of percussion are joined by droning organ and bass guitar, they signify a sort of stamina-ritual that is genuinely intimidating.

“Basically, it’s two guys playing a single stroke roll as fast as they can and as evenly as they can on one drum,†says Millions. “You get all kinds of amazing material. You’ll lock into place and you’ll split off and get out of sync, and the tempo will explode for a few seconds and then come back to being in sync. When you’re riding along on these pieces, there’s all kinds of shit that your mind throws in the way… [It’s] in the way of just being focused and present and actually listening to what’s going on, because once you let go of all that shit, you just kind of listen without intention… It’s all a matter of just letting go.â€

WHO: Man Forever, Plasma Exploder, Garbage Island

WHERE: Caledonia Lounge

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 20, 9:30 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $5 (21+), $7 (18+)


  • Sunn O))), Big Brave

    When the art-metal duo of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, known collectively as Sunn O))), last visited the Classic City, they performed at the Seney-Stovall Chapel. As audiences entered...
  • Five Essential Sun Ra Arkestra Albums

    Jazz in Silhouette (1959) Across the Sun Ra Arkestra’s 100-plus albums, recording quality varies with almost as much unpredictability as the band’s stylistic twists and pivots. Compared to many other...
  • The Sun Ra Arkestra’s Cosmic, Celebratory Jazz

    In 1952, a decade before the first Apollo missions and 25 years before our introduction to the Rebel Alliance, Herman “Sonny” Poole Blount legally changed his name to Le...
  • Big K.R.I.T., DJ Dark Knight

    Mississippi-born, Atlanta-based rapper Big K.R.I.T. was 10 years old when OutKast’s ATLiens arrived on our planet two decades ago, and the impression its creators laid on his path has...