The Cinematic Orchestra

Ma Fleur | Domino
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  September 17, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
The latest album from Jason Swinscoe’s UK electro-jazz outfit is as light on beats as anything the Cinematic Orchestra has yet recorded, and that includes 2003’s Man with a Movie Camera, which the group created as an accompaniment to Dziga Vertov’s seminal silent film of the same name. Much of Swinscoe’s previous work had to do with the rhythmic intersection between live ensemble playing and trip-hop post-production techniques; on Ma Fleur, he’s far more concerned with texture and atmosphere. Six of the 10 tracks offer vocals (courtesy of American soul singer Fontella Bass, Canadian avant-cabaret guy Patrick Watson, and Lou Rhodes of C-list trip-hoppers Lamb), but instead of treating the voices like lead instruments, Swinscoe weaves them into a luxuriously moody sound fabric that also includes strings, keys, horns, and guitars. (Which is just as well, since the vaguely new-age lyrics are nothing to get excited about.) And though Ma Fleur repays close listening with an assortment of sonic riches, the album fades into beige room noise with very little encouragement.

The Cinematic Orchestra + Grey Reverend | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | Sept 25 | 617.931.2000
  Topics: CD Reviews , Dziga Vertov, Patrick Watson
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