Thursday, December 20, 2012

6) In Motion #1 - The Cinematic Orchestra (TOP 20 OF 2012)

In Motion #1

The Cinematic Orchestra
Ninja Tune Records.

Too transparently collaborative to be a proper Cinematic Orchestra record but too ambitious to be merely a stopgap release, In Motion #1 was released this past spring to listeners in a cloud of soft focus. At least that’s my way of explaining the indifference it was met with from fans and critics alike…

Yes it looks like a pretty enormous undertaking on paper – 80 minutes of scores (one over twenty-minutes in length, the others no less than eight) and without visual accompaniment – but let’s not forget the orchestrators assigned to such a task. Grey Reverend turns in “Regen”, an exceptional landscape of guitar and ambience gradually unfolding into an orchestral dawn. The tragically late pianist Austin Peralta offers the woozy but brilliant “Lapis” while Dorian Concept and Tom Chant lend two of the disc’s more meditative fusions, “Dream Work” and “Outer Space”; post-classical codas fed with avant-jazz tensions.

Between these contributions lies Jason Swinscoe’s efforts; “Necrology” maintains The Cinematic Orchestra’s trademark sound while the heroic “Manhatta” and life-affirming suite “Entr’acte” provide the disc’s more romantic moments. Perhaps these cuts lack the experimental edge longtime fans were hoping for; maybe the boundless nature of these maneuvers triggered a ‘schmaltz alarm’ people never expected from Ninja Tune. But In Motion #1 leaves nothing to heavy-handed emotion; even the over-arching moments of grandeur swirl with undercurrents of The Cinematic Orchestra’s eclectic past.

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