Matana Roberts – “Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis” (Constelation Records, 2019)

“Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis” is the fourth release of Matana Robert’s “Coin Coin” project. The album was recorded by huge group of jazz masters – it’s Matana Roberts (alto sax, clarinet, wordspeak, voice), Hannah Marcus (electric guitar, nylon string guitar, fiddle, accordion, voice), Sam Shalabi (electric guitar, oud, voice), Nicolas Caloia (double bass, voice), Ryan Sawyer (drumset, vibraphone, jaw harp, bells, voice) and the guests  Steve Swell (trombone, voice), Ryan White (vibraphone), Thierry Amar (voice), Nadia Moss (voice) and  Jessica Moss (voice). 

The music of “Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis” is emotional, filled with driving solos, dynamic turns and bright contrasts. The musicians are demonstrating their best capacities of improvising – immediate responses, sensible and telephatic corresponding to each other’s playing, spontaneous solos contain the fundamental base of impressive free improvisations. Electronics, acoustics, vocalisation, innovative and extended playing techniques, strange timbres, objects and special effects are brought together and make an organic combo. An innovative instrumental section is a result of fascinating experiments, research of strange timbres, expansion of technical abilities and the will to create astonishing and original sound. Musicians don’t hesitate to experiment – they get on radical and provocative turns, integrate original decisions, pleasant surprises or simply weird and experimental ideas. All that makes an effort to colorful, moody and innovative musical pattern and instrumental section. An independent and simply fantastic melody line is created – it’s kept by dozens of instruments. Each of them brings his own tune and character. Expression and drive are brought in by clarinet and saxophone. Light passionate solos, moving thrills, emotional trembling trills, explosing blasts of energy or remarkable evocative melodies are the main elements of reeds improvisations. Here terrific blow outs fused to silent pauses, relaxing pieces, meditative tunes, striking tremendous riffs, perturbating sessions, driving culminations and dizzy flowing passages make a great combo and the variety of styles and moods. Playful, sometimes childish and naive, sometimes – furiously hysteric, angry, aggressive or frantic – that’s the base of fiddle improvisations. Moody and emotional solos are filled with sudden jumps, swingy moving pizzicatto, animated glissando, trills, passages and vivid melodies. All that is highly contrasting to the other strings and guitars – electric guitars, nylon string guitar, double bass and exotic oud. Heavy riffs, perturbating sessions, special effects, amplifications, modifications, alterated tunes, strange timbres and sonoristic experiments are frequently used in electric guitars improvisations. That’s the source of strange timbres, evocative ideas and radical decisions. Nylon string guitar is highly contrasting to electric guitars – it expands the technical abilities of this instrument and create a huge range of colors, tunes, sounds and modern expressions. Exotic oud tunes bring Arabean and Middle Eastern music intonations. Authentic ornamentation, organic synthesis of typical Arabean music rhythms, chords and expressions makes the music more colorful, variable and dynamic. The combo of all these strings instruments brings energy, drive and expression – it’s an organic mix of all kinds of colors, styles, cultures and tunes which contain the basic of bright and expressive melody line. Heavy deep double bass keeps a tight and stable bass line, but it’s also a source of strange timbres, pleasant surprises and evocative musical decisions. Silent pauses, ambient tunes and meditative pieces are growing to real storms of sounds filled with perturbations, driving sessions, passionate solos and impressive melodies. Dynamic, original and inspiring tunes are brought in by accordion. This rarely used instrument gently fits together with other instruments – free improvisations are filled with modern expressions, extended playing techniques and moving riffs. A synthesis of electronics and acoustics is organic and rich. A vocalisation certainly is another one important element of it. Screams, shrieks, wains, burps, special effects, evocative decisions, free improvisations, extended and home-made ways of playing, sonoristic experiments and new vocalisation tendencies are joined together in vocal section. Vibraphones, drums, percussion and various objects make the base of rhythmic section. Gorgeous timbres, colorful percussion, unusual objects, exotic, eclectic and authentic intonations, rhythms of all ranges, ornaments, textures, traditions and sonoristic experiments are frequently used here – that finally makes an effort to original and amazing rhythmic section.

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