Fresh from the critical acclaim heaped on the sophomore slow burner, "Every Day," J Swinscoe and The Cinematic Orchestra return with a dancefloor destroyer which also stays true to the group's roots in jazz. The tune features Niara on vocals, the young London singer who so impressed Fontella Bass on her recent UK tour with the group. And no wonder. The uplifting, conscious lyric and her way of rising above the syncopated maelstrom makes this a soul-jazz classic in the mode of "Black Gold Of The Sun". On the flip, PC (who moonlights as the turntablician in Cinematic when he isn't working as one half of DJ Food), transforms "Evolution" into the most subtle club tune without sacrificing the soul of the original. Completing the package is "Oregon," a beautiful, saxophone piece of pastoralia.
"An unusual and frankly remarkable project" - Mojo
In 1999, Ninja Tune quietly released "Motion" by a group calling themselves The Cinematic Orchestra. It was one of the surprise critical hits of the year, described as "one of the most innovative and brilliant albums the label has put out" (DJ) and ending that season topping the polls of the likes of Gilles Peterson.
The album was the work of one J. Swinscoe - actually a former Ninja employee - and a group of adventurous jazz musicians. Swinscoes background took in both playing in various harcore acts and DJing house sets on London pirates, but his method (playing the band samples, getting them to jam around with them, recording that and then resampling and sequencing the results) and the results he got with it captured the imagination of listeners from all musical backgrounds.The following year saw the release of an album of remixes that won Swinscoe still more acclaim, the broadsheets now taking note and The Guardian claiming that "its frighteningly rare that a musician in a contemporary field brings so much generous knowledge and that magical tranforming power to their work, inviting you inside their world and introducing you to a new way of listening."
In addition, the groups live shows were beginning to gain them still more attention and it was one of these performances which provided the impetus behind the new album, "Everyday". Almost a household name in Portugal, Swinscoe and co were commissioned to write and perform a new score for Dziga Vertovs avant garde classic Russian film "Man With A Movie Camera" for the Porto Film Festival. Both the track of that title and "Evolution" had their basis in their performance to 3,500 people and other tracks on the album grew from elements in it.
But Cinematic have evolved as a group, too. J. always felt that the rest of the bands input was underestimated, but now he and bass-player Phil France very much share writing duties (even flying out to St Louis together to record the legendary Fontella Bass). In addition, the input of DJ Food man PC has been invaluable and J. points to the new impetus given to the band by the arrival of Luke Flowers. He smiles when he remembers the drummers first show with the group, at Ronnie Scotts as part of Ninjas ten year anniversary: "He blew peoples minds "
As for Everyday, J. considers it to be a more mature work than Motion, not in a tired-old-rocker way, but perhaps in the fact that the increasing confidence of everyone in the group allows them to develop the music at a pace which is right for the ideas, rather than a preconceived notion of a four minute pop song. But J. also points to a new simplicity to the music, an emotional directness that doesnt have to confuse matters with nods to Lalo Schiffrin or Miles Davis or anyone else.
At root, though, J.s basic impetus has stayed consistent throughout.
"Were trying to make music not 'muzak'. Were trying to make something which can achieve some kind of longevity...."
Maturity, emotional weight, musical longevity. In the days of Pop Idol, these may not be the most fashionable ideas. They can even leave you open to ridicule. But confidence is confidence and the results speak for themselves. If you dont get it, fuck you. Go and do something more boring insteadThe Cinematic Orchestra Track /Title Listen Listen Download Real Media Windows Media Windows Media Horizon - -
April 2021 may have been one of the coldest in 60 years, but there were still enough hot releases to warm our hearts and fuel our fires.