Ooh Pomegranates - remember them? Sat in front of Top of the Pops with a pin and some newspaper. Who in their right mind would let children eat fruit with a pin eh? Anyway just like the titular fruit, Pomegranates is a slow moving work, intimate, elegant and contains some of Nicolas Jaar's most touching work. This is the first time it has been out as a double LP and is timed perfectly for pomegranate season.
Vinyl Double LP £22.99 MANA5
2LP on Mana.
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- Pomegranates by Nicolas Jaar
Of all the things Nicolas Jaar has ever done, I think ‘Pomegranates’ stands the tallest. It is a singular achievement in a career that has focused on the avant family trees of dance music. On his 2015 release, he created what Mana have rightfully described as ‘slow-releasing’ music. It’s hard to put it better than that, frankly: a sizzling, stagnating, world-building record, the busy ambiences of the record feel far away from anything else he’s ever made, disinterested in the same goals of cohesion and completion, and instead looking to questions more intangible.
Based on -- or merely created as an alternate soundtrack to -- the Armenian film the Color of Pomegranates (Նռան գույնը), Jaar’s record swirls around emotions and materials, attempting to forge an identity in a landscape in which there are no easy answers or instructions. Industrial clutter is recontextualised for chiming musical affect, with shards of ambience and climate field recordings becoming part of the score. Much of the disorientation the record goes through seems to suggest the duality of its existence, the way it is internally feeding Jaar’s quest for self-discovery at the same time as it interprets the fate of the protagonist from the Color of Pomegranates.
At times these dichotomies come out as bold melodic catharsis: clear-thinking piano chords or digital arpeggios -- or just a spoken word where we hear the full sentence. At others the record continues to rotate its various cycles of sound, quoting Armenian folk music alongside looped melodic fragments that sometimes warp and dissolve. The prying ambiguity of the record is stunning in itself.
It’s also worth praising the nature of this reissue itself, which beautifully deals with the concept of lifting the record out of 2015 and pressing it into the now. As Mana writes, ‘the physical publication of Pomegranates closes one door whilst opening another, keeping promises and marking a significant point in the career of an artist who restlessly reinvents himself’. It’s true that Jaar may never make a record like this again, but how often do we consider how a work can linger on in the life of an artist? The physical LP seems to take a moment of transience in Jaar's life and finally ground it.
What the artist or label has to say for themselves. Read more.