COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres
CST079      CD 2x10" MP3 FLAC

"Roberts is a major talent - a unique and easily identifiable saxophone voice who's also a thoughtful composer capable of choosing empathetic and supportive collaborators. Expect to hear her name more and more in the coming years."
The Wire

"COIN COIN gives eloquent voice to the fractured nature of identity, the way conflicting identifications jostle for prominence in our psyches, the multiple consciousness of modern hybridity."

"This is an ambitious work, and all of its aims have surely been fulfilled."
BBC Music

"Memory is a powerful thing, but it's so private, fluid, and unreliable that it can seem almost impossible to capture in a work of art—and history is often no more stable, once you look closely enough. Roberts has succeeded at evoking both, though, and gives her audience a long look at something ghostly, tragic, and beautiful."
Chicago Reader

"Complex, life-affirming music that’s both serious and playful, steeped in tradition yet as highly original and forward-thinking as anything you're likely to hear this year."
Tiny Mix Tapes

"Coin Coin belongs to the most important Jazz records of the past 10 years! If Matana Roberts keeps going like this she definitely will become thee spokeswoman for a new, politically conscious and refractory Jazz scene."

"An auspicious first document in what promises to be a fruitful series... Roberts' intimate delivery and quivering vibrato are vulnerable, fiercely angry and may well bring you to tears."

"An avant-jazz concept album performed live, Coin Coin is an uncompromising listen...inventive, sapient and engrossing, it’s not an easy listen, but it is an exceptional one."
The Skinny

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SPIN #2 Avant album 2011
Tiny Mix Tapes #48 album of 2011
Pazz & Jop #78 album of 2011
Prefix #43 album of 2011
Jazz Times #23 album of 2011

Matana Roberts (pronounced mah-tah-nah) is one of the leading lights of contemporary African-American experimental music, combining her widely recognized gifts as an alto saxophone player and improviser with an intensely engaged re-definition of American Jazz traditions.

Matana's COIN COIN project is the centerpiece of this engagement and re-definition: a multi-chapter work that combines conceptual scoring (graphic notation, 'chance' strategies), storytelling and historical narrative, performative theatre (personae, costume, multi-media), and a deeply considered channeling of personal ancestry and the 'universal' experience of Africans in America.

Roberts began spending significant amounts of time in Montreal during the second half of the 2000s and has been an on-and-off resident of the city since 2008. While she was familiar to Constellation as early as 2001 (through her work with Sticks And Stones and her guest performance on Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui U.X.O. album), it was through the evolution of her mesmerizing COIN COIN project that we fully fell under her spell – as did the dozen or more Montreal musicians who began working with her on the music and in performance.

COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres is the first official recording of this ambitious and powerful project. We invited Matana to assemble her Montreal group for a live in-studio performance at the Hotel2Tango facility, before a small but capacity audience of about 30 friends and supporters. The band spend the entire day running things through while recording engineer Radwan Moumneh set microphones and levels. The evening performance was stunning, literally bringing audience members to tears, and went to tape beautifully. The full 90-minute performance was edited down to around 60 minutes, comprising four quarter-hour suites spread across four sides of 10" vinyl.

Says Matana: “COIN COIN is a compositional sound language, that I have been developing since 2006. My initial interest in creating this work came from my childhood fascination with ghosts, spirits, spooks, and the faint traces of what they leave behind. I have a deep interest in old, antique objects of human existence, mostly because of the variety of story that can be created, factual or not, from the possibility of their being. This project is a combination of those interests as well as my delight in musical communication , ritual adornment, and the genealogical 20th century history of Africans in America. In some instances I am using information that I have gleaned from research into my own ancestral history, as inspiration and area of creative consideration. The musical root of much of this work also stems from my continued attraction/repulsion to certain aspects of the American Jazz tradition(s) which I am deeply involved with as an alto saxophonist.”

To us, COIN COIN represents some of the most honest and compelling work – musically and thematically – that we've had the privilege to be associated with. It rallies adventurous improv, experimental voice and narrative, a wide array of black folkways, and Matana's impassioned lead playing to tremendous emotional and conceptual effect.

Running Time: 61:15
Release Date: 10 May 2011

Packaging notes
CD comes in a custom gatefold jacket printed on reverse paperboard in full colour.

Double 10" comes in a wide-spine double-scored jacket printed in full colour on 24pt reverse board. First pressing of LP also includes a CD copy of the album and a limited edition art print poster reproducing one of Matana's graphic scores for Coin Coin.

1. rise
2. pov piti
3. song for eulalie
4. kersaia
5. libation for Mr. Brown: Bid em in...
6. lulla/bye
7. i am
8. how much would you cost?

Matana Roberts: reeds/voice
Gitanjali Jain: voice
David Ryshpan: piano/organ
Nicolas Caloia: cello
Ellwood Epps: trumpet
Brian Lipson: bass trumpet
Fred Bazil: tenor sax
Jason Sharp: baritone sax
Hraïr Hratchian: doudouk
Xarah Dion: prepared guitar
Marie Davidson: violin
Josh Zubot: violin
Lisa Gamble: musical saw
Thierry Amar: bass
Jonah Fortune: bass
David Payant: drums/vibes

Recorded in front of a live audience at the Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, 9 July 2010.
Recorded and mixed by Radwan Moumneh. Mastered by Harris Newman.