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Various Artists The Cinematic Orchestra presents Motion #1


It's very rare that an artist can live up to their name. Prince being an obvious exception. A performance alias is generally just intended to make you sound cooler, like DJ Shitmat or Big Pooh. It's not often an artist's moniker gives an apt description of what they do. At least I very much hope so in the case of Big Pooh. A nom de Ableton Live is bloody difficult to choose. I myself have been through many a different branding, my personal favourite being 'TJ Bass', not least because it made me sound about as cool as the interior of a McDonald's apple pie following a 30 minute tanning session inside a Breville.

For The Cinematic Orchestra, their name became somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy. After receiving masses of critical acclaim for their first album Motion, they ended up bagging the opportunity to compose a modern score for the classic silent film Man with a Movie Camera. In addition, they also composed the soundtrack to many people's relaxed drinking endeavours. I've never worked in or imbibed in a bar that didn't have their second album Everyday nestled neatly somewhere in a playlist.

It comes as no surprise that after 2007's self-professed "soundtrack to an imaginary film" Ma Fleur, head cinematic orchestrator Jason Swinscoe would want to curate a collection of modern day scorings of classical cinema. Considering I knocked my AS Level in film studies on the head just after learning how to spell 'mise en scene', some of the avant-garde pictures in question are a tad beyond me. Thankfully, a lack of cinematographic smarts is of no real importance. The music on offer is stunning, with unnerving and evocative submissions by Austrian beatsmith Dorian Concept, piano movements from Austin Perelta and beautiful ensembles by The Cinematic Orchestra themselves.

Being unaware of the original visuals these pieces were intended for opens up new opportunities for listening. It's especially rewarding if you combine this collection of ornate orchestral pieces with 1992 action epic Under Siege. For example, the truly chilling 'Entr'acte' begins with lush chords and slowly develops into a motif of rising strings and moments of discordant tension which coalesce beautifully with the kitchen scene where Steven Seagal makes that bomb out of a mug of oil and a microwave.

Investing a little time and being prepared to let your noggin take you on an epic journey makes this release something truly special. Not giving it the attention it deserves means you risk missing out on the incredibly moving qualities it possesses and that reward is not worth squandering.

Another chapter which cements the idea that The Cinematic Orchestra are just that, maestros of imagery. Let's hope Big Pooh doesn't cement anything for a while.

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