Looking Forward: Matana Roberts' Coin Coin, Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

Matana Roberts is a rare talent—a saxophonist, storyteller, and singer with a distinct voice and powerful vision. Her 2011 release, Coin Coin, Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres, shocked me with its uncompromising combination of beauty and violence. Listening to it—anyhow, anywhere—is a singularly moving experience. My complete review of Coin Coin, Chapter One appeared in Stereophile’s November 2011 issue and I later named it one of my favorite records of that year. It sticks with me still as one of the most thrilling and seemingly important records I’ve ever heard.

Today, Constellation Records announced Roberts’ follow-up, Coin Coin, Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile, to be released on October 1. The album was recorded by Radwan Moumneh at Systems Two Studios in Brooklyn and mixed at Moumneh’s Hotel2Tango Studio in Montreal: It will sound very good.

Though Mississippi Moonchile is divided into 18 specific tracks, the album flows uninterrupted from beginning to end, with all of the music developed specifically for Roberts’ New York sextet: Shoko Nagai (piano, vocals), Jason Palmer (trumpet, vocals), Jeremiah Abiah (operatic tenor vocals), Thomson Kneeland (double bass, vocals), Tomas Fujiwara (drums, vocals), and Roberts (alto sax, vocals). All compositions are by Roberts, except for “river ruby dues,” “woman red racked,” and “benediction,” whose arrangements are based on traditional American folk songs. An excerpt of Fannie Lou Hamer’s address given at the 1968 Democratic National Convention is used in “was the sacred day.”

I question America. Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave?

Mississippi Moonchile will be no joke. It will be heavy, hard, serious, and sad. It will also be gorgeous. It will be available on CD, LP, and as a MP3 or FLAC download. I recommend all formats, especially the one that gets it to you fastest.

We can hear a sample now.

For more info, visit Constellation Records.