Friday, June 08, 2007

The Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur (Domino, 2007)

The Cinematic Orchestra is a curious group that combines jazz, classical music and film scores into a unique mixture. On this album they also invited several vocalists to sing with them and wrote the compositions for this project with an unmade film in mind. Most of the compositions on this disc are taken at slow, nearly sleepwalking tempos. “As the Stars Fell” breaks free from this malaise a bit with drums and subtle electronics to develop a sweeping soundscape, while some of the more classically motivated compositions like “Prelude” slow the musical movement to a near halt. The music an be quite daring at times, like on “Breathe” with the voices transposed against a minimal arrangement, but the crawling pace again works against any forward motion in the music. The musicians are obviously quite talented, but I think that I just do not have the patience for this type of slow developing music. I became interested in this group after hearing a performance of theirs through the BBC web site, and that was a performance that focused primarily on instrumental performances with varying tempos but a more strongly flavored and coherent flow to the music. It would be interesting to hear this music again if the accompanying film is ever produced. Perhaps some compelling images on screen would help the music take on more resonance.

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