The Cinematic Orchestra - Breathe
The Cinematic Orchestra - Breathe
(12") Ninja Tune ZEN12195, 2007-04-09
12" Tracklisting :
B2. To Build A Home
While theres war, climatic disasters and all kind of bad shit going on in the world, there is The Cinematic Orchestra. This 'preview' of the album makes you really calm down. It's the sweetest comfort that makes you issue about your life, about right and wrong, it makes that releaf we all searching for and it even makes you cry. The forthcoming album to this masterpiece 'Ma Fleur' will be a must have to all music lovers.
The first full single from the Cinematic Orchestra's forthcoming album, "Ma Fleur," is the scintillating "Breathe," a devastatingly beautiful piece of music, a contemporary requiem or spiritual featuring Fontella Bass.
The overall structure of "Ma Fleur" required that Jason Swinscoe worked with a range of vocalists who would, in some way, reflect the differing stages of life we each go through. When he was thinking of an older singer, it was obvious who he would turn to. Fontella Bass was the singer behind the huge 60s hit (and Vietnam soldier's anthem) "Rescue Me". She married Lester Bowie and worked extensively with his legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago. She also collaborated with Swinscoe on his last full album, "Everyday," contributing the vocal to "All That You Give" - a memorial to her dead husband.
She herself is now in frail health so when Swinscoe got together with her to record "Breathe" it's only surprising that she could approach her own mortality with such clear-eyed and beautiful sentiment. Drawing on her heritage as a gospel singer as much as her background in soul and jazz, Bass strips everything back to the uplifting beauty of her unadorned voice.
Swinscoe, meanwhile, starts with a simple acoustic guitar riff from the group's Stuart MacCallum and gradually builds the tune into a series of emotional and dynamic peaks, before, in the words of the song, allowing Fontella's voice to be carried "out to the sea".
Also featured on the single is exclusive track, "Colours". Built up from lines played by saxophonist Tom Chant and Stuart MacCallum's acoustic picking, it manages to encapsulate the mixture of melancholy and uplift, which in some ways characterises Swinscoe's work as and with the Cinematic Orchestra.
"Ma Fleur," was written as the soundtrack to a specially commissioned screenplay for an imagined film (which may yet still be made). Jason completed a rough instrumental version of the record whilst living in Paris - more moods than finished tracks, a series of sketches or diagrams of directions to follow. Early in 2005 he gave this to a friend who disappeared for 3 weeks and came back with short story scripts where each track was a scene. Jason, who had by now relocated to New York, then took these scripts and worked some more on the tracks, and in turn gave this back to the art director, the two aspects of the project developing alongside one another.
Dealing with themes of loss and love - and in itself representing a kind of absence - it is fertile ground for Swinscoe's brand of music-making, for while people have talked about what he does in terms of jazz, the truth is that the basis of his music has always been in raw emotion. Nowhere on "Ma Fleur" can this be clearer than with "Breathe".