October 7, 2011 in Features

Project Purple and Green

Forkner, Johnson team up to play Visual Arts Tour venue

Purple and Green will be one of many acts performing at Terrain tonight. Other acts include Ocean is…Black Ceiling, Summer in Siberia, Tangled Roots Break Dancers, House of Ghosts, The Horse Thieves, Wonder Wonder and Stone Tobey.
(Full-size photo)

If you go
Purple and Green, part of the music lineup at Terrain, a venue on the Visual Arts Tour

When: Tonight, 5 p.m. through 1:30 a.m.

Where: Music City Building, 1011 W. First Ave.

Cost: Free, all ages welcome.

Rob Walmart is an anarchic music collective based out of Portland, which pulls up outside of music venues on a mobile stage and plays battery powered parking lot shows with members rotating on and off stage for hours at a time.

One of Rob Walmart’s main cohorts is Adam Forkner, a fixture in Portland’s indie music scene who co-runs Marriage Records, home to artists such as Dirty Projects, Karl Blau, and Forkner’s own experimental outfit, White Rainbow, specializing in obscure ambient instrumentals.

Now comes Forkner’s latest project with soulful showman and singer Justin Leon Johnson: the psychedelic-funk-pop tag team called Purple and Green.

Purple and Green will be one of many acts at Terrain, the art collective, which is part of tonight’s Visual Arts Tour. The other acts include Ocean is…Black Ceiling, Summer in Siberia, Tangled Roots Break Dancers, House of Ghosts, The Horse Thieves, Wonder Wonder, Stone Tobey and more.

“I have a reputation in this town for sitting on the floor and twisting knobs to make ambient noise. So when I got some gay black guy singing soul with me on stage people were like, ‘What is this?’ because what I do is mostly minimalist music. That’s why we joke that it’s Terry Riley vs. Teddy Riley,” Forkner said during a telephone interview from his Marriage studio.

Known as much for its flamboyant showmanship as its unpredictable experimental feints, Purple and Green has swiftly risen in the ranks of Northwest hipster music.

The duo came together in late 2010, when Johnson, aka Mr. Green, impulsively jumped up on the stage/van while Forkner, aka Mr. Purple, was tooling with an improvised beat.

“He was literally some dude off the street,” Forkner said. “Justin is a born showman. He is on stage all of the time. We started playing shows in February and it just developed from there. We’re bringing elements of experimental into party music with unexpected pop and funk and weird synth solos and it’s not surprising that people like it. There is a lot of folk and indie rock in Portland so this is exciting for people because it’s a fresh look for the city. There is not a lot of black music in this town.”

So why purple and green? Joker? Riddler? Nope, it has nothing to do with comic book super-villain color schemes, nor does it have anything to do with the other Google search results.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with eye shadow or weed, which is what comes up when you search it,” Forkner said. “Justin always wears green. Every single day he is wearing all green. I like purple. I have a purple car, purple gloves. You know when you’re a kid and you say you like giraffes and the next Christmas everyone gets you giraffe stuff? It’s like that. Also, there is the White Rainbow thing … Both are combined colors, neither is primary. They have their own funkiness to them and it’s a good combo. Purple and Green pop off of each other. It’s syncretic times two.”

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