Coin in Nine Hands is more than a welcomed addition to the Deluxe release/reissue of Nicolas Jaar’s 2016 record Sirens, out today in digital format through Other People. Permission for daring it sounds like it is the track that traces all the way back to the starting point, from where everything came to result in one of the last year’s outstanding album. This is what Nicolas tweeted about the release.
Code Inconnu/Uknown Code is a film made in 2000 by Martin Haneke about unperceived interconnections among people. Taking Margarite Yourcenar novel’s title of the mid-thirties, Coin In Nine Hands is a downtempo number with unexpected turns modulating a thoughtful spoken words piece inspired on sight, somewhere in the Persian Gulf under the overwhelming heat. We got the same drying Nature force that deserted all, even a whole sea, under the skin or in the back of our mind. From outside looking in, a waived part of human nature confronts the rational illusion of freedom and understanding against the Leviathan as described by philosopher Thomas Hobbes, the unstoppable gaining force. There’s no fiction in this friction. There are (r: [a:]) victims for the difference. Memories of the political history of Chile goes with Víctor Jara, and the erosion keeps gradually melting away names like Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan), sentenced to death for taking pictures of the street protests in Cairo, or blogger Rafi Badawi, activist pro-human rights in Saudi Arabia, lashed for his words. There’s awareness in using proper name Potemkin, not only in the sense of rebellion, dramatized in the legendary film by Sergei Eisenstein in 1925, but mostly in the sense of Potemkin village. Developed by Grigory Potemkin, during the annexation of Crimea from the Ottoman Empire, the minister of Empress Catalina II decided to create fake constructions made up of the ruins in an appearance of wealthy normality. A concept that made a fortune run in political rhetoric, to deceive others that the situation is better than it is.
With this piece of information, it is easy to understand the conceptual leap Jaar had to afford from eclectic and critically acclaimed first album, Space Is Only Noise (Circus, 2011), to the defiant ideas involving the sophomore, Sirens. From being a successful producer to become a composer in the true meaning of a musician who creates an own discursive work. Those conscious thoughts needed a reclusive place to flourish. A Manhattan apartment in the shades, concentrating on the daily home surrounding sounds accompanying the immersive reflection.
It’s when Sirens becomes an electronic suite full of contrast, and subtle turns in rich nuances – which are technical skills –, with sonic elements of magic realism as memory recall of childhood. This is a literary tag that helps to describe a reflexive, intimate and questioning universe of his own, that the artist observes from a shady and recluded intimacy, away from the luminous intensity of the sirens chants coming from Time Square. There is Erik Satie piano resonance meeting Ryuichi Sakamoto template, as a rational illusion of order is unable to veil the algorithmic intelligence that reigns, the hard steps of affirmative over the opposition. There’s choosing toys to grow, inculcated promises for the disbelieving. There is the father… But Sirens also has a chapter for hope. At least for the voices of opposition that gave and procure now the other ways. It is a heartfelt rendition to the outside, to the city that welcomed to anyone from misfortune or incomprehension to grow in richness melt, from the corners of the improvised doo-wop to the radical Lydia Lunch and the devoted admiration for no wave duo Suicide.
Of course, Sirens is a politically charged album. The release of Coin In Nine Hands gives a cue for the first steps in the process of its creation. By the way, it explains what intuition supposed about the inclusion of a nickel coin, cased in a plastic outer sleeve over a white scratch-off ink cover from the first Deluxe edition of the album, released October 14, 2016, fifteen days after the digital format was available to download.
In music, the importance of an album takes value from the listener, but the record industry also has parameters as the number of versions that comes out from the original with the extra unheard material besides. Collectors and artists’ followers take care of these variations. It is worthwhile information. Wildflower was already in the first Deluxe edition, as well as Mirrors and the title track, Sirens. Wildflower also appeared in the Japan original edition. Now, Wildflower belongs to the new Deluxe release/reissue of Sirens as a digital option, along with principle Coin In Nine Hands and America!/ I’m for the birds. Asking for the vinyl, full coin-scratched cover? With reordered titles and leaving out the title track.