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Album 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.]

Customer Reviews

Engaging, Cohesive and Meaningful

With their latest release The Cinematic Orchestra seems more to being inviting you to into their home than into their world with this deeply personal release. Forced to wait until I could return home from work with my copy and position myself between the speakers and "sit down at the table", I was finally able to indulge in what is profoundly subtle album, reflective in tone and charmingly sentimental. The album introduces us to a warm and generous environment that seems like a family in conversation. The vocals add new dimension and further grow the personality of one the most uncompromised and genuine acts around. While perhaps less playful and boisterous than previous releases "Ma Fleur" is exceedingly triumphant even with its haunting vocals and delicate phonic approach. Do yourself a favor and get to know or get to know better this band. It speaks. Thanks AGAIN Jay, Phil, Luke and company. See you in San Diego in September! I plan on dragging all the gang out to see you.

Beautiful & Perfect

The album opens with THAT HOME. They (The Cinematic Orchestra) are welcoming me in. I feel comfort. Already I am surrounded by an aura that feels personal, inviting, open, bright, colorful, warm. FAMILIAR GROUND is playing in the background. I am enveloped in coziness. The piano solo in MA FLEUR blends with the clarinet, bass, and sax. I love the guitar playing in MUSIC BOX. There is nothing like traveling through TIME AND SPACE. Her voice is beautiful. PRELUDE is like walking through a garden of wild flowers, a haze of little butterflies and tiny bugs in the early sunlight air. And AS THE STARS FALL there is that haunting bass again. This time I can smell the cool fresh summer night air. INTO YOU is surreal and gentle. I BREATHE again and inhale deep, slow, and sweet. I feel happy, relaxed, and comfortable. This song is lovely. The album closes with TO BUILD A HOME. There is that piano again and that voice: emotional, personal, real. Finally, the bonus track COLOURS. What else can I say to close this review other than I highly recommend this beautiful album to you.

One of the best of the year

Every once in awhile I hear an album that really suprises me. It is like my mind saying "Why have I not heard this before?" Ma Fleur falls into that category. And it isn't just one song, or two songs, but every song that makes this a wonderful experience. This isn't the type of music you will want to be driving along the road with on the way to work, and it isn't the type of music you want on when you are doing housework or in the kitchen. It is the type of music that you want to lay back and just listen to for hours on end.


Formed: 1999

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio
Ma Fleur, The Cinematic Orchestra
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Electronic, Music, Downtempo, Jazz, Bop
  • Released: Jun 05, 2007

Customer Ratings