Ma Fleur

The Cinematic Orchestra may have started out as a project by one man (J. Swinscoe) that worked in the music industry a few years back, but the growing band are aptly titled, because that is what the music they create sounds like. Ma Fleur was originally meant to be a soundtrack to a screenplay for an imagined film. This same idea follows through with the packaging of the record as well. Inside the digipack case are six double-sided cards with lonely photographs that accompany each of the songs on the album. The use of light and cropping in the photos almost has a double meaning, working with the shadows and undertones that abound on the release.

Starting with soft keys, and even softer strings, "That Home" swells into a monster of emotions. It probably helps that the crooning of Chris Martin-esque Patrick Watson are on hand. "Familiar Ground," showcases swirling guitars and Eska's angelic voice, as well as the eerie "As The Stars Fall" are reminiscent of the downbeat drum and bass tracks from 4Hero's Two Pages. On the other side of the spectrum, the gentle strumming on the acoustic guitar during "Music Box" and pushed back duet vocals from Watson and Lou Rhodes eases the listener to no end. There are also instrumental tunes such as the saxophone laden "Ma Fluer" and lushly elegant "Prelude." Creeping up next is "Time And Space," a peaceful song that brings an electronic element into the mix melded with lingering strings and piano. "Breathe" starts off slow, but picks up the tempo before going back down, then up again. The title almost acts as a metaphor, making the song physically breathe by expanding and contracting sonically. The final track, "To Build A Home" is ironically the best introduction to the band if you have never heard of them before. It's accessible, but still maintains a high quality mark left by J. Swinscoe.

His mission was to create a sonic journey for a film that may never come around, and that's exactly what The Cinematic Orchestra did. This is the soundtrack to those post 2AM grooves, and the songs are the background music for underground after-hours jazz club musicians to listen to, letting magic and smoke fill the air around them.

"To Build A Home" (Edit) MP3

The Cinematic Orchestra

Ma Fleur