ONE MAN MACHINE                   &                 THE POWERS THAT BE!
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ONE MAN MACHINE & THE POWERS THAT BE!

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You might not get Bernard Pearce’s sound — the narcotized haze of psychedelic textures, brass-band exuberance and unbridled funk/rock fun does take a spin or 10 — but it will hit you in a little while. The one man in One Man Machine, Pearce is the perfect mascot for this new age of New Orleans music: He’s both challenging and rewarding, gregarious and scarily intense. On “Get My Sound,” the title track from his March debut, he’s an out-and-out rock star, and not an altogether reluctant one. A muted bass line and soft drums pitter-patter out 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4. Guitars follow suit with a slow-motion funk shuffle. And a growled hook that’s in no real hurry still arrives immediately: “My girlfriend, her hair is brown/And her behind is nice and round/We go shakin’ it all over tow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-owwwn,” that single elasticized syllable moving down, then up, then down, then — marvelously — allllll the way around. - Gambit - Saturday, July 12 Noah Bonaparte


Flagpole's AthFest Picks
originally published June 18, 2008
With nearly 200 artists booked for AthFest this year, just flipping through the program inserted in this issue can be a daunting task. Never fear, the Flagpole music writers have risen to the occasion to offer you their top choices. While you map out your week, make sure to put at least a few of these can't-miss artists on your schedule.
AthFest is great opportunity to see a bunch of bands you've never seen before. At least that's always been my take on it. So, yeah, my pick will run you around a little bit, but hopefully you'll find them worth your time. And, although it may be antithetical to the whole spirit of a music festival, the best advice I can give for seeing it all is don't drink alcohol; drink plenty of water, and keep as cool as possible. Every year I run into people who miss bands because their drunk asses were too worthless to keep it together. So, with that, here's what I think are your best bets:
One Man Machine's appearances in Athens are as rare as they are riveting. An old friend of the Louisiana contingency of the Dark Meat/ The Ginger Envelope crowd, Bernard Pearce is an iconoclastic virtuoso who reflects his hometown of New Orleans in myriad ways. Just when you expect him to zig, not only does he zag, he zags hard: into scattered jazz, into woozy experimental drone, into sweet soul singing. This show will be sure to feature a few of his Athens cronies; show up expecting - and willing - to get lost.
- Flagpole Magazine


One Man Machine CD-Release.

One Man Machine (aka local art-rocker Bernard Pearce) and Rob Mazurek (aka international jazz-master extraordinaire) have a longer history than this one-off pairing might suggest. Pearce cites Mazurek as a major influence on his music and recalls an indelible 1998 concert by the former Tortoise collaborator after which Pearce and his ex-wife conceived their first child. Indeed, whiffs of Mazurek's cornet-blown heat waves and syncopated tempos waft throughout Get My Sound (One Percent Press), One Man Machine's debut release. Outside of its titular highpoint — a walkabout rump-shaker that marries guttural TV On The Radio vocals to a half-speed Bootsy Collins hook — the album is largely abstract, with most tracks ditching pop structures in favor of fuzzy, diffuse textures. But the combination of Pearce's unhinged stage antics, Mazurek's godlike presence and backing help from members of the Athens, Ga., spaz band Dark Meat is sure to send the live set into the stratosphere.

- Noah Bonaparte Pais
- Gambit New Orleans


ONE MAN MACHINE
GET MY SOUND
(ONE PERCENT PRESS)
What’s striking about Get My Sound is that it’s more than the sum of its jumbled parts. Just like the OMM live set (sometimes Bernard Pearce by himself, other times a collection of drummers, additional guitars, stringed instruments and poets) it resonates with sounds of an eclectic mix; influences from the post-punk and post-rock panoplies abound. Toward the beginning of Get My Sound, Pearce’s voice carries a certain exasperated exuberance, rising from frustrations unknown to the listener. In the third and title track of the album, Pearce’s lyrics drop heavily and merge with the beats into something soulful and restless, yet self-(and listener) assuring: You might not get my sound / But it will hit you in a little while / You’ll be hooked like a junkie. As the album progresses, the rhythms become loose and disjointed yet fall into place just when it feels like the song is about to disintegrate. It feels good, accompanied by a sense of presence lingering around string-fingerings that keep plucking out careful chords, keeping the listener’s own awareness acute. Despite the far-flung audioscapes, it is a familiar and singular guide creating the whole. The album achieves holism as it moves along a sliding scale of genre toward “Yellow Man Crashing Wave,” the last track. It sounds like a classical Chinese instrumental, delicately broken into the very best parts and patched into something more wavering, serene and resonant. Resonances are footnotes to the album, and whether it’s broken into sections or separate songs or taken all together, Get My Sound is a great example of a New Orleans-based musician moving American music forward while continuing a tradition no other city can duplicate. —Joshua Holmes - Antigravity Magazine


The sun was setting as One Man Machine’s Bernard Pearce, Jason Robira (Dark Meat, The Ginger Envelope) and Jason Trahan (The Ginger Envelope) assumed their spot at AthFest’s DARC showcase. As the light dimmed, the three began playing an electrifying fusion that was part punk, part jazz and part blues, incorporating turntables and brass, as well as the standard bass, drums and guitar. The beginning of the set was quiet, atmospheric, experimental - at one point Pearce sang into the body of the guitar. Within a few songs, the crew began to crest into a harder blend of free jazz and rock, resplendent with raunchy guitar licks, Dark Meat’s Vomit Lasers guesting on the horns. Halfway through, the power blew. Many bands would have quit, but Pearce enlisted the crowd to contribute their own beats - stomping their feet and clapping their hands as he unselfconsciously delivered an ode to Katrina, "Hard Times," getting the normally stiff indie rock crowd to sing along, ultimately delivering hands down this writer’s favorite performance of the weekend.

Music comes naturally to Pearce, a Louisiana native. “There were musicians on both sides of my family. My mother’s father played juré, this nearly extinct form of Creole music, rural a cappella stuff accompanied by fiddle, hand clapping and foot stomping… My father’s father came directly from Africa. He played in Harlem during the pre-Harlem renaissance... Dad was a flautist; he played combos. In the mid- to late-'50s he was deep into the New York jazz scene. He played with Donald Byrd at one point.”

When Pearce was eight, his father died suddenly. It was “pretty much the most influential thing that’s ever happened to me," he says. "It makes you question the world when something like that happens and you’re young… [it] pretty much shaped my life and the way I rebel in my music.”

Despite being a trained musician, Pearce’s approach to songwriting is unconventional. “A lot of times I’m writing songs and I’ll play with different musicians, and they’ll be like ‘this song is written in weird timing - it’s off beat,’ and I’m like ‘yeah, isn’t it great?’ I don’t think that a song or music should have to be in time all the time… I don’t do it purposefully to be weird, but the way I write something, if I lock it in, then I just kind of stick with it if it feels right."

Pearce began One Man Machine in New Orleans in 2005 as “a (noise) project I could do on my own, but it got lonely.” Two years ago, when he began recording his recent debut Get My Sound (One Percent Press), Pearce travelled to Athens to collaborate with his old friends, Lafayette, LA transplants Robira and Trahan. “The chemistry is really great… we don’t have to really talk much about the music. We’re on the same page.”

The now part-time Athens resident had “the skeletons, the outlines of the songs set up,” but no lyrics until the band "got into the studio and fleshed the songs out with the help of Eric Friar (who runs DARC studios). He was instrumental in really pulling the record together.”

But don’t expect the record to resemble the live show, because it’s “completely different." Says Pearce: "The live thing is kind of this wild animal, raucous and loose and more about trying to connect with people, to hold their hands and scream along with what we are presenting. I’m definitely reaching for the foundation, for my soul or something while I’m playing. I put that out there for people on a platter and hope they’ll feel something real in a performance.”

Deirdre Sayre
- Flagpole magazine


...performance artist/musician/poet/ entrepreneur Bernard Pearce’s poetry mixes hiphop, blues, and a splendid absurdity; he is a local, and should be a national, treasure
--Jerry McGuire
University of Louisiana
- University of Louisiana


ONE MAN MACHINE w/ Morning 40 Federation
07/03/05

Opening up for R. Scully’s a.m. guzzlers, ANTIGRAVITY adman Bernard Pearce needs his own alcohol-centric handle. And after witnessing a recent late-night gig at New York’s Knitting Factory, we’re voting for “Twilight Absinthe Trip.” Descending the several flights of stairs into the club’s dank nether-regions, the spooky, mashed-up sounds of ONE MAN MACHINE wafted upward like a Christian cleansing in Hell’s Kitchen. Once inside the cellar-like showroom, tribal drum beats swept over the TriBeCa crowd in soul-scorching waves, who responded by repeatedly throwing their hands skyward, gospel-style, at each of Pearce’s impassioned wails: “It’s amazing/ What you can get away with/ These days!” Amazing, indeed.
- ANTIGRAVITY MAGAZINE



One Man Machine
Get My Sound
One Percent Press

Bernard Pearce, the Louisiana-bred mastermind behind One Man Machine, could not have picked a more appropriate album title. One song, “Set Myself on Fire,” comes across like a jam session between Cee-Lo backed by a funked-out Flaming Lips cover band. It’s super fun, and if it doesn’t make you want to dance every time you hear it, then I don’t know what will. Outside of this aforementioned song and the album’s title track, Get My Sound is mostly constructed of sparse, deconstructed instrumental art-rock, drenched in fuzz effects and reverb. However, if you listen carefully to his avant-garde mix of swirling, hypnotic textures, growling vocals, brass band embellishments, and raucous punk rock flair, you may just start to get his sound. His music is built on jarring broken melodies and scattered pre-programmed loops that are equal parts enthralling, spooky, and transcendent. –Dominique Minor - Dominique Minor


PICKS»
Week of 07.21.08
07.21.2008

Filter likes music. There's no hiding it. We also like our own opinions a whole bunch, so once a week we give the masses a fleeting glimpse into our selective stereos to let them see firsthand what fuels our endless devotion. We like to think of it as community service. We're selfless like that. So without further ado, here are the official, inarguable, objectively good Filter Weekly Picks. And in case you trust our tastes that much, click on the links below for some sample tracks (not all releases have samples available) from these releases, and even buy it if you feel so inclined. Yeah, we're good at what we do:

» Daft Punk, Discovery

» Sebastien Tellier, Sexuality

» One Man Machine, Get My Sound
- Filter Magazine



Bingo! Parlour

Profile #1: ONE MAN MACHINE

It's well past midnight and the day's sweltering humidity shows no sign of letting up. Such is July in New Orleans. Bernard Pearce, front man and founder of One Man Machine is crouched over a small black panel of knobs in the center of the Dragon's Den's second floor performance space. Dripping beads of sweat on his own equipment, he builds a vocal loop to fit to the driving beat of Bret Bohnet's bass-heavy drumming. There is an air of impending catharsis in the room as loop fits to beat and Pearce picks up one of the many instruments he will use throughout the course of the night to bring the audience along with him on a reckless journey through sonic ebb and flow. Somehow the enveloping heat seems appropriate as he begins a transcendental call and response with these spectators turned fellow travelers. The fourth wall sufficiently decimated, artist and audience chant and sweat as one.

When Bernard Pearce initially begat One Man Machine in January of 2005, it was with the intention of creating a solo noise project. "Free jazz. Real freaked out music, drum machines and crazy trumpet and screaming and stuff. Just like noise, pure fucking noise." Having worked as a club promoter in Lafayette in the nineties and playing with groups like Frigg A-Go-Go, it was an appealing idea. Going solo meant a direct creative channel, no logistical conflicts, fewer complications. It also meant hauling all the gear by himself. "It just got kinda old, having nobody to talk to. It just felt real alien. I was kinda inside my own head presenting that music, like it's all me all the time. After a while, I needed to hook up with somebody else and get their input."

These days Pearce has shifted back to the collaborative. Now featuring a core group including New Orleans-based Bret Bohnet on
drums, and Athens-based collaborators Jason Ribira (drums), Jason Trahan (guitar), and Pete Programmer, One Man Machine has evolved into an ongoing experiment in soundscapes, dance grooves, and freaked out jazz. Drawing influence from artists as disparate as Iggy Pop and John Coltrane, a live performance by Pearce and his rotating core of collaborators can leave an audience dizzy and spent. From beginning to end, you get the sense that the show is a journey, an exploration in sound filtered through the prism of the Machine. It is perhaps this very energy which has led to live performance collaborations with the likes of Rob Mazurek, the legendary Chicago-based coronet improviser and sound/vision abstractivist.

And what does Bernard Pearce have in mind for his debut performance at the New Orleans Bingo! Parlour this October? "It should be a big show. Like for that show Rob is probably going to be down, playing trumpet. And there's this group from San Francisco, The Saxophone Quintet that's going to be joining me too. So there's going to be like three drummers, Freddy on gong, four saxophones... You know, it's gonna be like the One Man Machine Big Band. It should be really fun."

We can't wait.
- Lloyd - Bingo - Voodoo fest Preview


Discography

ONE MAN MACHINE - 001
ONE MAN MACHINE - Get My Sound!

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Bio

born 1974 trying to keep it funky!