Monday, June 18, 2007

The Cinematic Orchestra--Ma Fleur (2007)

Artist-The Cinematic Orchestra
Album-Ma Fleur
Release Date-Mar 26, 2007
Genre/Style-Downbeat Club/Dance


Review-For the true follow-up to 2002's Every Day — since 2003's Man with a Movie Camera soundtrack had actually been recorded four years earlier — J. Swinscoe & co.'s Cinematic Orchestra produced another soundtrack, this one virtually invisible. Not long after Every Day's release, Swinscoe began writing music for another Cinematic LP, but in another direction from where he'd gone previously. This was a series of quiet, contemplative instrumentals, with Rhodes keyboards and reedy clarinets, simply begging for a narrative (call them orchestrations for cinema). With scripts for each supplied by a friend — each track got its own story, together comprising different scenes from a single life — and a series of unpeopled photographs supplied by Maya Hayuk, Cinematic Orchestra had the narrative they needed for their invisible soundtrack. (Added vocals from Fontella Bass, Lou Rhodes, and Patrick Watson represent the same person at different ages.) The results form an intensely affecting record, but one whose monochromatic format unfortunately serves no large purpose; when every song attempts to become a mini-masterpiece of melodrama, patience grows thin. Swinscoe tells us that he wanted to record an album where "leaving the spaces as empty as possible was paramount," but he can hardly complain if we choose to leave him the space to himself. [A U.K. version of the album was also released.]

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