Today's artists are a British nu jazz and electronic music group, created in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe. The group is signed to independent record label Ninja Tune. The group's sound, in both live and studio contexts, employs a live band which improvises along with a turntablist and electronic elements such as samples provided by Swinscoe. In their studio releases Swinscoe will often remix the live source material to produce a combination of live jazz improvisation with electronica, such that it is difficult to tell where the improvisation ends and the production begins......N'Joy
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The brilliantly named Cinematic Orchestra is led by composer/programmer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Swinscoe, who formed his first group, Crabladder, in 1990 as an art student at Cardiff College. Crabladder's fusion of jazz and hardcore punk elements with experimental rhythms inspired Swinscoe to further explore the possibilities of sampling, and by the time of the group's demise in the mid-'90s, he was DJ'ing at various clubs and pirate radio stations in the U.K.
The music he recorded on his own at the time melded '60s and '70s jazz, orchestral soundtracks, rhythm loops, and live instrumentation into genre-defying compositions, as reflected on his contribution to Ninja Tune's 1997 Ninja Cuts 3 collection and his remixes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Coldcut tracks. The Cinematic Orchestra built on this musical blueprint, letting a group of live musicians improvise over sampled percussion or basslines. The Orchestra included saxophonist/pianist Tom Chant, bassist Phil France, and drummer Daniel Howard, who also recorded the Channel One Suite and Diabolus EPs for Ninja Tune with Swinscoe.
Their debut album, Motion, was released in 1999. The critical success of that album led to them being asked to perform at the Director's Guild Awards ceremony for the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to film director Stanley Kubrick. The band were asked by the organisers of the Porto European City of Culture 2001 festival to write a new score to Dziga Vertov's classic 1929 Soviet Union silent film Man with a Movie Camera, to be performed live in accompaniment with a showing of the film. The work differed from the band's usual compositions due to its live performance, ruling out the post production work that was present on Motion. The Cinematic Orchestra toured with the work and later released it on an album of the same name. Many of the compositions originally created for Man with a Movie Camera were later adapted from live form (adding in vocal tracks and electronic elements, among other changes) for their next album, Every Day. It reached #54 in the UK Albums Chart in May 2002.
In 2006, The Cinematic Orchestra created a cover version of the Radiohead song "Exit Music (For a Film)" that appeared on an album titled Exit Music: Songs with Radio Heads. In this piece the band slowed down the tempo of the original, divided the timbre into four sections beginning with saxophone, to the classical guitar, to the electric guitar, ending the piece with the same simple acoustic guitar rhythm as the original version.
The Cinematic Orchestra released the album Ma Fleur on 7 May 2007. Several songs feature Patrick Watson, Fontella Bass, or Lou Rhodes on vocals, with Rhodes and Watson sharing vocals on one song. The Cinematic Orchestra recorded the soundtrack to the Disneynature film The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, released in France on 15 December 2008 (orig. as Les ailes pourpres: Le mystère des flamants). The score was produced by the band and Steve McLaughlin. The score was performed live with the London Metropolitan Orchestra at The Union Chapel, Islington on 17 September 2009 and won the award for best original score at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Wyoming, USA on 1 October 2009.
Ninja Tune invited The Cinematic Orchestra to perform at the twentieth anniversary gala performance of the label at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2010. In 2011, The Cinematic Orchestra commissioned a series of compositions for avant-garde short films that were performed at the Barbican Centre under the auspices of its curating a series entitled "In Motion", (also featuring Dorian Concept with saxophonist Tom Chant, Grey Reverend, and Austin Peralta), and it subsequently released the album In Motion #1 in 2012.
On 20 October 2016, The Cinematic Orchestra released a new song from their upcoming album. The title of the song is "To Believe" featuring singer Moses Sumney. The group have also announced a tour, including shows with Thundercat, Gilles Peterson, Jameszoo, and others
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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. 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.
The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur (flac 267mb)
01 To Build A Home 5:58
02 Familiar Ground 4:33
03 Child Song 5:11
04 Music Box 5:01
05 Prelude 2:40
06 As The Stars Fall 5:51
07 Into You 2:59
08 Ma Fleur 4:06
09 Breathe 6:26
10 That Home 1:41
11 Time & Space 8:34
The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur (ogg 108mb)
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As a venue, the Royal Albert Hall in London is the stuff of legend. It is so elegant it inspires greatness in performers no matter the discipline, as well as rapt and supportive attentiveness in audiences. Some of its past performers have included Frank Sinatra, a double bill by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. It therefore goes without saying that the weight on Cinematic Orchestra mastermind Jason Swinscoe to pull off something grand for a recording and video document of this CO performance was considerable. In order to accomplish this feat, he swelled the ranks of his group to over 40 members, including the entire 24-piece Heritage Orchestra! Vocalists Heidi Vogel, Lou Rhodes, and Grey Reverend are all present to reprise their roles from various selections on studio recordings. Original Cinematic Orchestra turntablist PC returned to the fold for the evening as well. The sound is as lush, lively, and beautiful as one could possibly imagine. Vogel's performance on the set opener, "All That You Give" (it originally appeared on 2002's Every Day), is just gorgeous. After Swinscoe announces her with a beautiful string intro, her soulful croon comes on full: sultry, emotional, and smooth. The dynamics and textures Swinscoe assembles with the strings and horn sections are as lush as a Gil Evans arrangement but as tight as Manny Albam's. There are truly expansive and adventurous moments here, as on "Flite," introduced by a Rhodes piano with the rhythmic pulse set in play by rolling drum breaks and a skeletal but beautifully articulate upright bassline. Solo space is accorded sparingly while incorporating the entire orchestra -- the brass section (killer trombones), which becomes a bedrock for reining everyone in, is itself sassy and swaggering, holding the fort against edgy funky guitars and those dreamy piano chords.
This gives way to the spidery beginnings of "Familiar Ground," which seem like minimal soundscapes for single instruments abstractly lilting and disappearing in the ether until nearly the three-minute mark when the piece comes into view with its body. When the choral vocals announce themselves so wordlessly and surreally, the effect is complete and it goes on for another five minutes or so before Vogel turns in a stellar performance. Soloists are allowed to let fly in places and let abstraction into the fold for a bit before Swinscoe calls everything back to a lush and disciplined order. In concert, the track "To Build a Home," sung by guitarist Reverend with backing from Vogel, was more conceptual than arresting. Here it becomes a true Cinematic Orchestra offering, with a languid, sad, dramatic kind of tension without being overwrought. The appearance of the nearly 12-minute "Man with a Movie Camera" jam is wonderfully noir-ish and puts on display all that this group has to offer instrumentally. This ambitious composition and difficult arrangement, which walks a line between film music, late-era jazz improv, classical, and cabaret music, is still grounded -- even with the cracking extended drum breaks; distorted turntable scratches; soprano, tenor, and alto sax flights; and guitar noise. The closer features Rhodes bringing her unique plaintive voice to "Time and Space." Its melancholy is heartbreak personified but balanced by a glimmer of hope, borne out by the dreamy, gauzy strings and countered with the ominous sampler and turntable sounds. As cellos and grand piano stretch the middle to accommodate both ends of this spectrum, the feeling of sadness and resolve is almost unbearable -- not for the emotion, but for its indescribable beauty -- before Rhodes is drawn back out to bring it, and the evening, to a close. The album is a truly moving demonstration of this group's amazing gifts.
The Cinematic Orchestra - Live At The Royal Albert Hall (flac 360mb)
01 All That You Give 5:15
02 Child Song 7:38
03 Flite 5:56
04 Familiar Ground 8:35
05 To Build A Home 7:46
06 Prelude 3:05
07 Breathe 6:02
08 Man With The Movie Camera 13:05
09 Time & Space 8:41
The Cinematic Orchestra - Live At The Royal Albert Hall (ogg 148mb)
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The Cinematic Orchestra has certainly been designed to compose and perform music for films, but that they are now involved with the Disney group is likely to be something even they could not have initially imagined. The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos is an evocative soundtrack behind the French documentary about the strikingly colorful, elegant, and noble but rarely seen pink birds. It is a Disneynature production shot in north Tanzania, with the CO receiving mighty support from string players of the London Metropolitan Orchestra. As a result, Jason Swinscoe and the CO have never been more symphonic or expansive than on this recording, where thematic horizons and deep-seeded romantic emotional content is at the very core of their music beyond previously recorded efforts. They've been consistent since their Canadian-based beginnings mixing electronica and jazz with R&B and trance grooves, but here take a giant leap into what is more a signature sound. With this recording, they are taking to heart their surname, with music that is more traditionally classical, while retaining the electronic and percussive undercurrent that identifies them as singularly unique. This soundtrack traces a journey similar to March of the Penguins, starting with the minimalistic and swelling "Opening Titles," the crystalline waltz and huge sound in "Arrival of the Birds," and a Latin-tinged "The Dance" in 5/4 time with castanets and marimba identifying their modal jazz leanings. Precious bells, thick harmonics, and shimmering breaths in 7/8 time signify "Soda," while the hymnal and reverent-at-dawn flute music in "Hatching" merges into tick-tock algorithms and amalgamated underground bass clarinet for "Marabon." As the film progresses, you can hear the sophistication of the flamingos' serene and supreme confidence move into maturity and earthiness. A folkish "Exodus" is easily comparable to the Americana style of Aaron Copland, "Transformation" takes into account a Steve Reich or Philip Glass horizon-waltz minimalism, the light-house-beacon stance of "Hyena" does not suggest laughing so much as flashes of on and off brilliance, while "Life of the Bird" has the ineffable quality of humid landscape music in a symphonic, two-beat foundation. Where "First Light" comes near the end of the movie in its under-the-surface, darkness-to-sunrise facade, "Crimson Skies" is the coda that evokes a vocalized love story between avian presence and nature that provides the perfect epilogue. Where there is mystery, there is also definition, beauty, delightful, unpredictable, and conclusive results that still leave the mind wandering, and wondering how many more layers are left to be peeled away in order to discover the inner sanctum of self. This music perfectly reflects an elusive aspect of living and life, matching how we see and revere creatures we cannot speak to or understand. But thanks to the Cinematic Orchestra, we have a better understanding through music about how these wondrous birds live, eat, play, commune, and above all -- dream.
The Cinematic Orchestra - The Crimson Wing (flac 239mb)
01 Opening Titles 2:53
02 Arrival Of The Birds 2:38
03 The Dance 3:20
04 Soda 3:10
05 Hatching 5:11
06 Marabou 3:56
07 Exodus 7:17
08 Transformation 5:16
09 Hyena 1:48
10 Life Of The Bird 3:33
11 First Light 4:05
12 Crimson Skies 3:24
The Cinematic Orchestra - The Crimson Wing (ogg 106mb)
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Following contributions from guitar bands Arctic Monkeys and Snow Patrol, the critically acclaimed Late Night Tales series invites an outfit more associated with their early laid-back electronica-based installments to compile their own playlist in the shape of British experimental jazz collective the Cinematic Orchestra. While their selected 19 tracks lack the surprise element, it's still a highly eclectic affair, taking in '60s lounge-pop (Burt Bacharach's "South American Getaway"), fingerpicking acoustic folk (Nick Drake's "Three Hours"), and retro Italo house (the Songstress' "See Line Woman"). Showcasing their influences, there are traces of their lush widescreen orchestration on Björk's "Jóga" and Imogen Heap's instrumental "Cumulus," their ambient electronica on U.S. producer Flying Lotus' "Auntie's Harp" and dubstep pioneer Burial's "Dog Shelter," and improvised jazz leanings on trumpeter Eddie Gale's "The Rain" and the Freedom Sounds ft. Wayne Henderson's "Behold the Day." Elsewhere, the album unexpectedly has two artists in common with Gary Lightbody and company's selections in blues-soul vocalist Terry Callier ("You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman") and DJ Food's "Living Beats" (whose turntablist, Patrick Carpenter, now plays with the Orchestra); Sebastian Tellier's "La Ritournelle" and St. Germain's "Rose Royce" reveal their love affair with Gallic jazz-pop; and Radiohead's Thom Yorke ("Black Swan"), minimalist composer Steve Reich ("Electric Counterpoint"), and '60s R&B star Shuggie Otis ("Aht Uh Mi Hed") complete their predominantly chilled-out soundtrack. Fans intrigued by their two own new compositions may feel slightly let down by the brief 39-second forgettable instrumental "Restaurant," but their atmospheric and soulful cover of Syl Johnson's "Talking About Freedom," featuring the impassioned tones of previous collaborator Fontella Bass, should more than make up for the disappointment. A brief insight into the musical mindset of one of the British nu-jazz scene's most exciting acts, the Cinematic Orchestra's addition to the series is a veritable treasure trove of lost classics, obscurities, and high-quality dream pop that takes the concept back to basics.
The Cinematic Orchestra - LateNightTales (flac 360mb)
01 Flying Lotus - Auntie's Harp (Rebekah Raff Remix) 2:27
02 Nick Drake - Three Hours 2:52
03 Eddie Gale - The Rain 1:55
04 Terry Callier - You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman 4:20
05 The Freedom Sounds, Wayne Henderson - Behold The Days 2:59
06 DJ Food - Living Beats 0:19
07 Shuggie Otis - Aht Uh Mi Hed 4:27
08 Thom Yorke - Black Swan 3:58
09 The Cinematic Orchestra - Restaurant 0:19
10 Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint 1:21
11 Björk - Jóga 3:02
12 Imogen Heap - Cumulus 2:59
13 St Germain - Rose Rouge 5:22
14 Songstress - See Line Woman (Vocal) 5:41
15 Sebastien Tellier - La Ritournelle 8:10
16 Burial - Dog Shelter 2:13
17 Burt Bacharach - South American Getaway 3:10
18 The Cinematic Orchestra - Talking About Freedom (Exclusive) 5:22
19 Will Self - "The Happy Detective" (Part 3) (Exclusive) 1:44
The Cinematic Orchestra - LateNightTales (ogg 143mb)
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