Matana Roberts
Coin Coin Chapter One - Gens de couleur libres


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
September 15th, 2011 | 80 replies | 11,049 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The jazz album of 2011.

"Rise" is a pretty good slab of free jazz, but while listening to it, I had to question what was supposed to make it so special other than the release date. It's always a little downheartening when you see an album become one of the most acclaimed of its year (something that is happening to Coin Coin Chapter One at an alarming pace) despite sounding thirty years old; good as the album in question may be, it just serves to illustrate that so much of popular music is just running around in circles. Does anything other than the festishisation of jazz among the more self-consciously open-minded rockers make this any different from something like Black Country Communion? The opening sections of this album make you wonder.

And then the vocals come in.

The vocals here are what lends this album a true identity, a sense that it knows what it wants to be rather than who else it wants to be, and that's a massive distinction. The most obvious example of that is the a capella "Libation for Mr. Brown: Bid Em In...", where Roberts acts as the auctioneer at a slave auction, flipping between espousing the virtues of the women being sold and reducing them to mere flesh and bone, without a personality or soul. It's gripping. Yet, for all the Afrocentricity that runs through the album, and all the examination of the history of racism in America, she uses her voice in impressively diverse ways too. "Pov Piti" has some almost Berberain-esque babbling and glosslalia. "Lulla/Bye" - probably the album's most immediately impressive track - is a mournful, moaning chant that feels like a kind of demonic re-reading of the gospel and spiritual tradition. "I Am" boasts tortured screams that aren't a million miles away from Diamanda Galas, before working its way into more slavery-condemning beat poetry halfway through. "How Much Would You Cost?" even has traces of scat. Ignore the fact that this is jazz for a second - you'd be hard pressed to find a single album in any genre that does as much with a single human voice in 2011.

Returning to the jazz, though - Roberts' vision of jazz is impressive, with some basic orchestral elements introduced subtlely and tastefully. As this came out on Constellation, home of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, there'll be many people making comparisons to the dronier end of post-rock, and they're not entirely misleading. This is how she's pushing jazz forward with her music, not just her words - that first track could easily have been released in the '70s, but the rest is much harder to place in time.

A very, very impressive album all around. I can think of very little that really sounds like this - the great irony of my first impression of the first track is that this album actually sounds like the kind of music people should be making in 2011. Believe the hype.



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user ratings (68)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



15016 Comments


i remember listening to this and being sort of unimpressed and thinking it sounded like a lot of avant garde jazz but i will listen again. good review

struth
September 15th 2011



435 Comments


Getting.

Meatplow
September 15th 2011



5524 Comments


found this kinda annoying

at least you didn't give it a 5 though, bravo. good review

liledman
September 15th 2011



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i dig this, but its not mind blowing or anything. aacm still kicking which is good though.

this is probably my third fav jazz album this year.

Manic_
September 15th 2011



447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great record, surprised at the amount of 4.5s this has

conradtao
Emeritus
September 15th 2011



2090 Comments


"great record, surprised at the amount of 4.5s this has"

It's going to be one of those records Sputnik jizzes all over to feel sophisticated

liledman
September 15th 2011



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and then never check out anything similar to it because why would you

Manic_
September 15th 2011



447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds like Colin Stetson all over again

FatChickIrl
September 15th 2011



4096 Comments


woah

Fort23
September 15th 2011



2475 Comments


jazz album

Meatplow
September 15th 2011



5524 Comments


there are another 11 chapters of this shit to come

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



10326 Comments


conrad when did you get so jaded

Digging: Literature - Chorus

conradtao
Emeritus
September 15th 2011



2090 Comments


lol



luschlotz
September 15th 2011



993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for reviewing this, its worth the attention of many

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2011



6094 Comments


Yeah this was pretty good. Your reviews are comforting like a wool blanket 8)

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2011



4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Peter Evans Quintet's Ghosts NEEDS more love

EpsilonJSTC
September 15th 2011



247 Comments


What am jaz? Me no know. Me go back to indie rock/br00tal metal.

In seriousness though, I'll check this out.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
September 15th 2011



7023 Comments


this is easily the most pretentious album of the year.

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

liledman
September 15th 2011



3826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Peter Evans Quintet's Ghosts NEEDS more love


yeah

this is easily the most pretentious album of the year.


please elaborate

Jethro42
September 15th 2011



12391 Comments


Not for me thank you. Lisa Simpson could do better.



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