This week, NYC maestro Nicolas Jaar posted a rather discreet bitlink on his social networks, with little fanfare or explanation. “Hello friends. Here’s my album Pomegranates for free.”

It turns out the link was in fact a direct download for a ZIP file that contained an entire album’s worth of material. More specifically, the alternate soundtrack that Jaar composed for the 1969 avant-garde Soviet film The Color of Pomegranates, directed by Sergei Parajanov.

In addition to the music itself, the download also includes artwork, several allusions to the album eventually getting a physical release on Jaar’s Other People label, as well as a lengthy note from Jaar where he explains how he was inspired to create the album after he watched ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ for the first time earlier this year.

“I watched it and was dumbfounded. I felt the aesthetic made complete sense with the strange themes I had been obsessed with over the past couple of years…which turned into a 2-day bender where I soundtracked the entire film, creating a weird collage of the ambient music I had made over the last 2 years… The film gave me a structure to follow and themes to stick to. It gave clarity to this music that was made mostly out of and through chaos.”

While a version of the film that was synced with Jaar’s soundtrack was made available on YouTube earlier this year, Jaar explains that it was removed following copyright complaints.

“I wanted to do some screenings but the guy who owns the rights to the film only wants the original version of the movie out there. I can’t blame him, I’m sure Paradjanov wouldn’t want some kid in NY pissing all over his masterpiece and calling it a soundtrack! I’ve listened to it a couple of times without watching the movie and I think it stands on its own. Or at least I hope it can!”

Meanwhile, Jaar has some of his own material due soon for release, with his latest single “Nymphs III” due for release via Other People at the end of the month.

By Angus Paterson